Into The Storm
Chapter V – WHEN DARK CLOSES IN
1966 – Seattle, WA.
Dana led Jennifer through the apartment, opening doors to spacious closets, pointing out the built-in dresser shelves and walnut bar, fully equipped kitchen with pantry, and large windows that looked down four stories from a formal dining room to a courtyard and pool with landscaped gardens. The giant Space Needle, seen from a little balcony from off the bedroom towered over Seattle’s skyline. Jennifer watched as a large gray cloud formed, much like the dark one that descended over her now.
“So, what do you think?” asked Dana.
“It’s beautiful. The view from up here is incredible.”
“Isn’t it? I love it. Daddy worked with the contractors and Nick has connections in real estate and was ready to move out of his old place the moment these units were finished and ready. So we signed the lease and got our keys yesterday. We’re moving in this weekend.”
Jennifer nodded, looking down over the courtyard and pool below, pensive and quiet.
“Ok. Let’s have it.”
“What?” Jennifer asked.
“You’ve been moody, and quiet all day.”
“Oh, just a little envious of your apartment and independence I guess. I’m fine.”
“No, you’re not. You don’t hide things that easily. Something is going on.”
Jennifer shrugged. “I’m sorry. I guess it’s just worry, you know? Scott had to fill out all those papers and answer a zillion questions about his job, what he does, hours he works, if he has dependents, single status. They want to know everything, and then they make guys sweat and wait to see if they will be called up to serve…” Jennifer quickly dabbed her eyes.
“Look, Jen. Scott will be fine. Don’t worry. I bet his uncle could pull some strings.”
“I doubt it. And…I’m not so sure about me, either. Dana, I’m pregnant.”
“No way! Are you certain?”
“Of course I am. Do you think I would tell you if I wasn’t? You look as if my halo has fallen off and I’ve sprouted horns or something. “Say something, but don’t say, ‘You should have used birth control pills.'”
“Well, you should have. I have for… a long time. ”
“I know. Everyone else knows too. The way you… Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…. But, it’s different with me. My dad would hit the roof if he knew I ever took birth control pills.”
“And now he’s going to kill you, unless you…take care of it before anyone finds out. Does Scott know? Have you told him?”
“No. Just you. And I want to keep it that way. I mean it, Dana. I am not telling my parents right now and for sure don’t want Scott to know. He has enough to worry about, with the draft board. And, what makes you think I am going to run off and find a quack doctor to get ‘it’ ‘taken care of’ as you so blatantly put it? Is that how you took care of yours?”
“Jen. Be real. You don’t have to go through with this. You have three more years of college, live at home, have only a part-time job; hardly enough to take care of a kid, and the father that might have to go to war. This will mess up your life, big time. You don’t have to run off to find a ‘quack doctor’. I know a good doctor that does illegal abortions. I mean, it’s expensive, but I can loan you the money for it. You can pay me later, and there is no paperwork, nothing to sign. It is set up by appointment after a consultation and done in a clean, sterile office.”
“That sounds… cruel… heartless. I don’t know. Even dangerous, and risky. Don’t those doctors get into trouble with the state medical boards or someone if they’re caught doing illegal abortions?”
“Not if it is done in secret, kept confidential and there are no records. You would be surprised at how many doctors are doing illegal abortions for women who don’t want to carry a baby to full term, or can’t afford one.”
“How do they come up with the money to pay for one? How much do they cost?”
“Never mind that. There are desperate people out there, Jen. They find a way. Right now, you’re one of them. How far along are you?”
“Because, the doctor I know does most of them between two to three months. He claims it’s easier during the first trimester, and safer. I could contact him if you want, and give him your phone number. He’s a friend of my father’s.”
Jennifer mumbled. “That doesn’t surprise me.” Then a bit louder, “Alright. But, please don’t speak to anyone else about this. Not even Nick.”
When Jennifer left, rode the elevator down and came out into the lobby, a young woman and little boy stood inside the entrance watching as lightning lit up the skies, and thunder followed sounding like a sledge-hammer banging on clouds, releasing rain. Her hand was clasped tightly around his small one. Seattle’s afternoon monsoons.
“Mommy. I don’t want to go out there. It’s too scary.” He said, his eyes looking as big as half dollars.
“It’s OK, honey. Don’t be afraid. God is just watering his big garden, and makes a bit of racket with his watering can. He’s giving the pond frogs a drink, too. He watches out for all of us.”
Jennifer raced across the parking lot to her car, and started it up for the long drive home. She could not stop thinking about the young mother with her little boy. ‘He watches out for all of us.’
She wondered what she was carrying. A boy or a girl. As the rain beat hard against her windshield, her tears came too, unrelenting, as did the small silent heartbeat of one, beating rhythmically, unbeknownst its fate.
To be continued
Joyce E. Johnson