At 8 weeks, a fetus ceases to be an embryo. At 8 weeks, a baby already has hands.
Why is it always little hands that they talk about first?
We hadn’t spoken in ages. It had been some petty argument or one-sided flair that started it. Then pride and stubbornness prolonged it…pride really makes people ridiculous. I was ridiculous. So it is more a gesture of maturity than anything else that makes me call her up again, 3 years later.
It is like old times when we were kids. Things aren’t different. They aren’t that different. We still joke the same jokes, discuss the same global issues from the safety of shelter, share stories of our personal evils surmounted as well as of those yet to be.
She’s more righteous now—maybe a bit too much for my taste. But I am also more a listener, so I open up to her diatribes, patiently.
I don’t expect her to keep me so deep in her confidence, so it strikes me suddenly when she reveals that she will be aborting her child.
“A girl,” she said. “I just know she’s a girl.”
As always, I recover quickly from shock. And even as I am still registering information, the side of me that, as always, wants to help people, springs up like a dumb-fuck jack-in-the-box.
“As always, I support you. You know what’s best for your family. And for the kid. You’ll do what you feel is right.”
The words come out warmly and confidently. So…why am I crumbling inside?
It’s not like we ever thought of having children. We are like children ourselves. And our relationship is a handful on its own—how on earth could I share enough care for another little human? Why should I feel so affected by my friend’s choice? Her life, not mine.
“It’s done,” she announced a few days later, when I asked her how she was holding up.
The enormity of her circumstance settled around me as if her choice had been my own. It was like a dark, oppressive cloud suffocating me from all angles, compressing my chest, restricting the flow of my breath.
“It’s hard. Some bleeding and pain, and the intermittent crying between shifts. But it’ll be ok.” It was a text message, yet I could practically hear the sigh in her voice and the undertones of resignation through the typed text.
I mean, it’s not like I thought of having children. Why should I feel so affected? Her life, not mine.
But all I could think about—the image plaguing, haunting my waking dreams—was the little life that was no one’s and the little hands that no longer were.