There was a picnic on the beach with coworkers. I’d just been on the phone with Claire, whose words resonated in my head. “You don’t have to do this. It’s not too late.” I went swimming in the Pacific. The cold jolted me awake. “You don’t have to do this.” The salt fed me. “It’s not too late.” The waves washed me. I came out cleansed of his suffocating energy.
My NRDC volunteer and dear friend Helen took me to dinner. “A man like that,” her husband Larry said, “he cares nothing about you, or a baby. He just wants to”—curling his fingers ominously—“sink his hooks into you. You will have to abandon your whole life here and run back to France, and even there you may not ever be free of him.”
I made one call to Planned Parenthood and am eternally grateful to the team who received me.
And saved my future.
A few days preceding my appointment, I found rage. It fueled me. It made powerful, red-hot sounds come out of my throat and expel the parasite that had burrowed deep in my fragile little home. I discarded-cleansed-tossed, burnt sage and incense and epsom salts. Purified. I was preparing to receive a new life—my own.
Dear Gisela, steadfast, passionate Venezuelan big heart, drove me to and from the appointment. She put me in bed, closed the door, and left.
And then I died.
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