by Ross Sharp
I coulda been a daddy.
I was 20, the girl was 22, she had a two and a half year old kid from a previous relationship, was on the pill, but I still managed to knock her up regardless.
I didn’t smoke back then, didn’t drink much, no drugs, so I must’ve been a potent little fucker. Turned out she needed a higher dosage of baby blockers to put the pop to the ambitions of my tadpoles so she got those and terminated the pregnancy about a week after she found out.
And that was that.
I got no regrets. I had nothing to say in the matter. Not a word. Decision was the girl’s.
We’d only been going out a few months and I reckon both us felt that what we had was not one of those goo-eyed romances that would span the ages leaving a legend of love in its wake to inspire future generations and give rise to multi-volume memoirs and a series of film adaptations. I don’t think she felt that. This girl knew a few things about life that I didn’t.
And she did not to want to have another baby.
“I’ll go with you. To the clinic.”
“No, it’ll be fine.”
“I’ll pick you up then. After.”
“No. I’ll see you at home tonight.”
Not something she was looking forward to. Obviously. Not really something she wanted to talk about, either. After it was done, she came home, hurt, vulnerable, shaken up.
Not a thing that had been done with the callous, carefree attitude of some thick, unfeeling bint, like the removal of a wart or a mole. At least, according to some.
She did not want to have another baby.
She’d been raped by her stepfather when she was twelve years old, and not long after, she told her mum about it who promptly slapped her over the face, called her a lying slut and threw her and her sister out of the house, don’t come back, cunts. Her sister had been raped too. By the same. She was older by a few years.
They went down southern New South Wales, made friends with a few people, shared a big old house, and she wound up hooking into smack for a couple of years, and at 19 she had a boyfriend and a baby on the way. When she found out she was pregnant, she swung off the drugs and told the boyfriend to take a long hike in the woods when he began beating on her, culminating in him pushing her out of a moving car at 40 miles per hour when she was seven months pregnant.
She did not want to have another baby.
I guess some of that, maybe, some of that, might be down to a person not wanting to have her entire life up to that point and for God only knows how much longer to be solely defined by the fucks she’d been subject to and their consequences.
We broke up a few months later. And not because of that. As one of her friends told me at the time, this girl was no waltzing-down-the-aisle, white frock and confetti type looking for some Prince Sappy Charming to settle her down and whisk her off to White Picket Fenceland. She weren’t no common idiot slut either, not one of those gravel-voiced, inarticulate, barely literate lard-lumps with faces like a punnet of pummeled strawberries from Ipswich or similar that screech their way through items on those jokes that pass for “current affairs” television on free-to-air.
She read books, liked movies, listened to good music (none of this Cold Chisel & Angels crap that was around at the time), spoke well, was attractive and she loved the son she already had. Loved him a lot.
But, at only 22 years of age, one was enough.
She did not want to have another baby.
After so much shit, what she’d been through up to that point, maybe she wanted to own her life some, not have it owned by anyone else. Own her life, and get down to living it well while she still could. To her own rules, to her own priorities, to set some goals and reach them instead of being smacked down time and time again to some banal life of zombie domesticity in service to a brood of young ones swinging off her teats forever and a day, screeching and howling and asking for stuff she couldn’t afford to provide, and some so-called “man of the house” yelling for his fucking dinner and some clean socks for work tomorrow.
Fair enough, too.
But up here in Brisbane? Up here in Beantown, Queensland Australia, it’s 1959 all over again, one-tooth crotch-fiddlin’ yokels and fuckwit hayseeds hollering at a young woman and a young man because they too want to own a little of their lives first and figure a few things out about them before they settle down to making those “big” decisions, those big decisions that may go right, that may go wrong, but they’d like to make them for themselves and that’s what they did.
Girl took a pill, that’s all. Just fine her some money for bringing it in if you’re so fucking desperate to satisfy the requirements of your shitty “law” and leave it alone.
But, no. Instead, take a chunk of their young lives, take quite a chunk of it away from them, lock ‘em up and teach ‘em a thing or two about the so-called “sanctity of life”, so say the Peanuts and Pimps of Power and Press.
Put ‘em on show, put on ‘em display, make an example of ‘em, here be the self-anointed judges and juries of the great unwashed from this city of flyblown halfwits blowing anonymous brainfarts on lame-arse blogs about how this young couple shoulda done this and should not have done that, should’ve done what they were told by people they didn’t even know existed ‘til now. Sanctimonious, self-serving, self-righteous cheese-faced fuckers preaching high and mighty sermons from their over-stuffed sofas about the fucking “sanctity of life”?
Sanctity of life, my hairy arse. That “Thou shalt not kill” thing’s been working well the last few centuries, you think?
Fuck your stinkin’ law and shove your stinkin’ badges.
Listen to this cockhead, some “who the fuck?” politician from South Australia …
“A quick flick through some of the side effects of RU-486 makes for sober reading. These range from stomach cramps, through nausea, vomiting to ectopic pregnancies and severe internal bleeding.”
… Now, this other girl I knew, years later, she wasn’t too keen on the contraceptive pill (or rubbers either, said they felt all wrong, and I was very much in agreement with that point of view, let me tell you ) so we went about it another way. Rhythms and such.
We knew it was a risk. We took it.
This girl was raised a Catholic, and even though she didn’t practice except for Christmas Mass, she told me when we started going out that she didn’t think she could ever go through an abortion if she got pregnant.
There’s no tattoo on your arse saying “Property of” and there’s none on mine either. So we went on like that for a time, but after a while she got sick of the way we were going about things, and thought the pill might simplify the business.
Few days later, she complained of feeling lethargic, bloated, fuzzy-headed and generally fucked up, so I sat down and looked at that sheet of paper in the packet of pills that list the contra-indications and possible side-effects …
“Jesus Christ!”, I exclaimed, “I wouldn’t take this shit, why should you?”
And that was the end of that.
She never got pregnant. Even though we were at it like bloody rabbits most of the time.
And if things had come to pass (so to speak) that she had?
I would’ve shat myself and spent the next nine months in a state of frenzied anxiety, but there’s no way I would’ve even dared suggest she do something with her body that she did not want to do.
Like I said, no “Property of” tattoo.
Here’s whatshisname again …
“I am not trying to tell women what to do with their bodies. I am asking women not to kill another human being and I am asking you as a reader to think about when human life actually starts.”
Yeah … and I’m not a racist, but them foreign niggers and towelheads are gettin’ to be a fuckin’ worry, you think?
Starts out, seems he wants to talk about the side-effects of this drug, ends up just another in a long line of predictable anti-choice bollocks about the evil, murderin’ ways of loose and wicked women.
(Man was once a “rouseabout”. The fuck is a “rouseabout”? What you rousin’ there, boy? You best leave that thing alone yo, lest it haul up and bite you on the ass, you feel me?**)
No body is property.
Not yours. No one else’s.
Tegan Leach’s body belongs to her.
Get the fuck away from it and leave the girl be, goddammit.
UPDATE: Michelle blows the smoke from Kenyon’s fundamentalist fuckwittery here.