The next morning, Laura woke up as early as possible and got dressed to go back to the hospital for an abortion. But on her way out of the store, she was stopped by Charles who dashed towards her from behind the counter and asked where she was going.
As she was about to reply, a customer interrupted them.
Charles turned around but rather than attending the customer, he yelled, “I’ll be there in a minute!” Then turning back, he looked at her intently as if waiting for an answer and when she told him where she was headed, he pleaded her to have a talk with him and to listen to what he had to say. Laura rolled her eyes initially, but later agreed realizing that was a wiser thing to do instead of arguing and wasting her own time.
So Laura nodded and the two walked up the stairs to their studio apartment. As Laura sat down, Charles pulled up a chair next to hers and began, “I’m not going to take too much of your time, I promise. I only want you to acknowledge my thoughts on this decision that you’re about to take.” He took a short pause then continued, “So, I know for you, all of this is a big mistake. Being pregnant is a mistake. This baby is a mistake… And all this started because of what we did that night at Granite Falls….
Charles stopped as if waiting for an answer.
This annoyed Laura and she said quite arrogantly,
“Well in my opinion, it was never a mistake. How could it be? We were madly in love and when two people are madly in love, they make love. So is being in love, a mistake? Is making love, a mistake? If not, then how can you call this baby, a mistake? If this baby is a result of our love, it’s definitely not a mistake. It’s in fact a symbol of our love. In killing this baby, you’ll be putting an end to our love. Is that what you really want?”
What is he trying to prove? Laura simply shrugged and continued to give him an indifferent look.
Then Charles exhaled and continued,
…Let’s think about this baby for once. Have you ever wondered what’s growing inside of you is changing every day, in so many ways. That the thing you keep referring to will soon grow to look like you and me. It’ll grow two eyes, two ears, a little nose and tiny lips, and then it’ll grow little hands and feet and really tiny fingers and toes and then a little heart will beat inside of it, a heart just like yours and mine. And then, you’ll realize this ‘thing‘ is in fact a living soul; innocent and pure. Would you want to kill it even then? Knowing that it has done nothing to deserve death. Would you kill it even before it gets a chance to live? Who gives you the authority to take away it’s right to live?”
Laura was starting to feel guilty as she registered the meaning of his words and of all the questions he was asking her. She blinked constantly to avoid meeting his gaze.
She could tell his words were having an eerie effect on her; his words were making her reconsider her decision and she dreaded to hear any further.
But without wasting a minute Charles continued, “This child may be growing in your body, Laura, but that gives you no right to decide wheth
er it should live or die. You cannot be so selfish; thinking only about yourself. You cannot be so cold-hearted. You cannot be an inhuman murderer.”
Laura gasped at the word ‘murderer’ and for a moment, she froze in her seat on hearing this accusation. But she soon realized what Charles was doing, remembering Cathy’s words, “He could do anything for family. And when it comes down to starting his own, he can get pretty emotional and even manipulative.”
Yes, he was clearly manipulating her; trying to change her mind by targeting her emotions with his “talk”. Laura decided to keep a neutral look on her face, so she could deceive him and then he’d eventually give up, realizing that his words were having no effect on her.
But instead, he gave her a warm, but confident smile and went on to say,
…You- We can raise this child together; give it all the happiness in the world! We can give it a wonderful life it undoubtedly deserves.” Then, his tone softened and he said encouragingly, “Let go of your fear, Laura. If you think you’ll be a horrible parent, then let go of that thought immediately. Take this risk, for you’ll never know what wonders you can do unless you try.”
“He might even force you to do something against your will. But don’t get carried away by him. If there’s something you don’t want, be clear and stick with your decision until the end.” Laura nodded to herself remembering these words of Cathy and continued to look at Charles with stern eyes.
A long awkward silence ensued. Laura, who occasionally looked over at Charles, could see his confident smile slowly fading away. She then grinned at herself, realizing she had been successful in resisting his “emotional speech”.
The silence, however, was broken by Charles who now spoke in mere whispers,
…But I do believe in you and I know for certain that you won’t make the mistake of killing this child, our child. And that if you decide that terminating the pregnancy is the right thing to do, don’t forget that you won’t be able to look yourself in the eye ever again, because you’ll never be able to forgive yourself for the heinous crime that you would’ve done.”
I know what I’m doing Charles. I know what’s right for me. Just let me be! Laura so desperately wanted to yell these words at his face but decided the right thing to do was to give him the silent treatment. She then stood up, looking at him for the one last time, and without saying a word she left the room…
As much as she wanted to stop thinking about what Charles had said to her, his words were definitely bothering her and she was growing very frustrated. Stepping out of the store, she sighed weakly and decided to sit in the park before heading to the hospital. She needed some fresh air to take her mind off all the accusations and strong words Charles had thrown at her a while back.
He’s the one being selfish, not me. He’s the one thinking about himself and his dream of starting his family. He only wants the child and he’d probably not mind seeing me dead once he gets his baby. But he won’t get what he wants. I’ll make sure he won’t… I won’t give it to him…