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He swerved down the freeway in and out of cars honking and braking in a frenzy, brandishing what had become his new weapon. Rage and anger had never spilled over to driving but this would be the start of a new and dangerous game. The children let out gasps as he narrowly missed vehicles, passing anyone who impeded our path to the compound. A container of take away fish jiggled in plastic sacks threatening to fall from the seat just behind me. The meal was purchased after leaving the hospital and felt like a message that was meant to cement his frustration. Even the youngest of our family knew that I did not care for fish and when we arrived home I sat on the red and gold striped sofa, forcing a gentle smile, hoping to avoid what would be an inevitable outburst.

The food had not been covered properly, left on the refrigerator shelf in a takeout container to rot and eventually be thrown away. The careless and haphazard manner in which these tasks were carried out had not changed and it seemed nothing could be done about it.  He repeated these ideas three times, each time the volume increased as did the weight of the message. I stared blankly, confusion jumbled my mind and there was no response that seemed worthy. Anger mounted and he finally stated what he had been thinking for days, “I told you not to tell anyone, this is your fault! “The door slammed and he walked away leaving behind an emotional numbness that had not been experienced before.

I stood motionless behind the green pleated curtains, watching him back up and drive away. It was a relief and a burden to finally be alone with my thoughts, now able to place them all in order. On Monday I had been four months pregnant and by late that afternoon I was told the pregnancy had not progressed and in fact had most likely ended weeks before. The Doctor listened for a heartbeat and then requested an ultrasound. She confirmed that this was no longer a viable pregnancy and nothing much remained. The British midwife who had delivered my last baby concurred, urging me to return the next day for treatment so that infection and hemorrhage did not occur.  Bleeding had already started and served as a reminder that medical attention was needed.

I grappled with this reality but felt hopeful that his reassurance and support would ease my worries. When faced with this information and a request that he take me to the hospital he reminded me that it was a grave sin to terminate a pregnancy and that it was up to the Lord almighty. The conversation ended with him stating that he wanted nothing to do with it and obviously I had free will to do as I chose. The next morning at 5 a.m. a compound driver picked me up and dropped me off at the local hospital.

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