Right to Choose
was just something different about her now.
It was in the way she talked, or didn’t talk. They way she walked, the clothes she wore weren’t so stylish
and she didn’t do the things she used to do. Typical, right? She was depressed.
She had said that she was ready for this: all of this. She said she was ready for this guy and ready for this relationship
and this life. I mean, I never thought any different. She was all over him from the beginning. The two were inseparable and
completely innocent. Why wouldn’t they have sex?
“Sex just seems so accepted and unaccepted, you know?” she said to me one day.
want you to do it, but they were doing it long before they were out of high school.” It’s true. The temptations
are there, right? So, it’s human nature. It’s only human nature, or is it something more?
“I think it’s about love,” she said, “one way or another it’s supposed to be.”
I pondered and pondered
what the heck that was supposed to mean, but I got the point.
She was fifteen.
She did not run with the popular people, but rather more the punks. She ran around town and listened to some form of
rock music and sang at the top of her lungs with a bunch of other idiots. By the way, her name was Harmonie, which comes to
no surprise when her love of music is considered. She loved music, and even dreamed of doing something with it one day. “If
I don’t perform, I want to work in the business,” she would say. She wanted to move to a city and establish some
kind of career, get married, pop out some kids—you know the agenda. In other words, she was a normal kid.
Collin was the same age as her and just as innocent, and, interestingly enough, had similar dreams. In fact, his ultimate
dream was to run away with his guitar and make whatever living he could as long as he was a music nut. That was living. “I
could be the girlfriend of a musician, as long as I was his only girlfriend,” she said.
“I’ll think about it,” he replied with a smile.
That was the beginning and a whole six months went by before anything happened. Those six months were like a roller
coaster of emotions and wonderings. A girl started blossoming into a woman when she was coming closer and closer to her sixteenth
birthday, which is what actually made her realize she really was a teen-ager. Her choice was questioned, but certain. The
two of them were even responsible. She told her mom because it about drove her crazy to be the bad daughter when she
was doing something that she felt was right. Her mom finally just decided she wasn’t going to think about it. “You
think you can be an adult, Harmonie. You just do that.” Harmonie shrugged it off. It really was not a big deal. It was
normal, and, Harmonie had found the right person. It was normal. Even the pregnancy was normal, in this day and age. What’s
even more normal is Harmonie’s reaction whenever she started showing the signs of throwing up and a period that was
two months late.
“Collin, something’s wrong.”
“What is it?”
“What would you do if we had a baby together?”
“I could see us having a baby together someday.”
“What about now?”
He just stared at her. “You’re not.”
“I might be.”
It’s not like anyone had never heard of a teen-age pregnancy. It’s not that parents don’t know how
common it is. It’s just that no one ever thinks it will affect him or her so much. Again, this is normal. It’s
normal for a young girl in love to have an accident, because birth control and condoms do not protect one hundred percent
of the time. It’s normal for her to cry herself to sleep wondering what in the world is going to happen to her—to
The home test was positive.
The doctor’s test was positive.
“A baby…” Collin started, and then paused.
“Yeah,” Harmonie replied.
Harmonie was just as lost, as any fifteen-year-old girl would be. She went to visit her aunt, who was her father’s
youngest sister. She had an eight-month-old. Harmonie had already had some baby experience, but not enough to be a parent.
Visiting her aunt Carolyn just made things seem even more impossible.
“Aunt Carolyn,” Harmonie started after they’d finally got poor baby Destiny to calm down, “I’m
Carolyn sat her child back in her seat. “You’re not the first, Harm, and you won’t be the last.”
The conversation went on, and it became clear that Harmonie had some decisions to make. “You’ve got to
tell your parents, sometime soon. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. They won’t be as mean as you think.”
Harmonie walked herself home, folding her arms from the chill of her nerves into a black hooded jacket. She looked
around at the world that seemed to be letting her down. Tears were filling her eyes until she heard her cell phone go off.
It was Collin.
“Hey, where are you?”
“I don’t know…on my way home…why?”
“Can you meet me somewhere? I want to tell you something.”
Collin and Harmonie met at one of the restaurants closest to her house. They and their friends would hang out there
“What if we did this together?” he asked. Harmonie smiled the relieved smile of the girl in love who, until
now, felt so alone in a pregnancy. She was still a normal girl, and the boy who got her pregnant was promising her that he
would be amazing.
The next day, the two talked to Carolyn together. She said the exact same thing, and gave an inspirational lecture
on the raisings of a child: the good and the bad. She even allowed the two of them to help with Baby Destiny a little, which
still seemed to make life and the dreams contained within, seem even more impossible.
Collin and Harmonie arranged their parents to eat dinner together at Collin’s, in order to tell them the news.
First, though, the two of them decided that the parents needed to know beforehand to prevent fights.
Harmonie sat her parents down, and she said it, slowly but surely, she got both of the words out, along with the tears
of a mother and the anger of a father. She was asked the questions: How? Why? How could you? What now? All of which did not
The meeting between the two families was even harder than either of the two children imagined, and their ideas and
suggestions were shot down harder than either of them had had nightmares about. However, it was ultimately clear that what
was done was done, until somehow, the undoing was suggested. When Harmonie had heard this, she for the first time felt like
she had regained control of something. The expression on Collin’s face, however, was lost and confused, especially when
everyone seemed to forget that he was sitting there. Sentences such as “It’s your body, your choice,” and
“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. You have a choice.”
“We already made our choice,” Collin said, “when nights weren’t spent alone anymore, and suddenly
love was more than a word.” He left the room and went upstairs.
Harmonie’s eyes filled with tears, but her family and boyfriend’s family comforted her. She went home that
night having been told that she had a decision that was all her own. She had cried so much she couldn’t anymore, but
something in her was lifted when they said those words that her decision was going in a direction already. She was going to
have an abortion.
Of course, her parents and boyfriend’ parents were supportive. Collin was upset when they talked alone, though.
just—I can’t do this. Not at fifteen.”
not? It’ll be hard, but life is never easy.”
got this easier than I do. You could leave anytime you want, I can’t. Can’t I get some power?”
don’t believe me when I say we can do it?”
she said, in tears, “I don’t.”
clinic looked like any clinic. It wasn’t exactly how she pictured. She didn’t know what kind of poetic vibe she
was supposed to get from it, though. Was it the place where dreams came true, where accidents were fixed, or simply where
choices were made? She wasn’t sure. Harmonie and her mother got to learn everything, though. They learned about the
procedure, learned that it was safe and everything. Still, all the positive knowledge created a twist in Harmonie’s
be okay, right?”
the lady said, “are you ready?” she asked a few moments later.
got up and started walking into the room. She saw the table. It looked like any doctor’s office table; like the table
she laid on when she was sick that one time. She ended up on more than a table, though, but a hospital bed because she had
had pneumonia that year, and she nearly died. How can something like this even resemble something that saves people’s
ahead and change into this, sweetie,” the lady said.
be right out here,” her mother said, turning to leave behind her.
Harmonie said. Her mother turned and looked at her, concerned.
can that? That looks just like any doctor's table."
this is a doctor’s office, sweetie.”
no it’s not. This isn’t what a doctor’s office is.”
what are you saying? Her mother asked in concern.
when does life begin? Do you know?”
mother just stared.
looked at the lady. “Do you?” She didn’t look happy.
sorry…gosh, I am so sorry, okay? I don’t mean to attack you and I don’t mean to try to say anything about
what you do. I just, I don’t like this. This whole idea. It’s just that the idea is the easy way, even though
it’s so hard to make this decision. It’s seems like the best choice, and the only person who thinks that it isn’t
is the boy who got me this way and says he will always be by my side. He’s only fifteen years old.”
what is it that you want?” the lady asked.
I want is to know the truth and I don’t. I can’t. I don’t know if this is really a child or just an embryo,
and I don’t know if what I would be doing is murder. I mean, I’m almost certain it isn’t.”
think you’re doing something wrong, miss?”
we walked about this. We all agree that this is what’s best for you,” her mother added.
it? This, this thing inside of me, Mom, they didn’t do anything wrong. I really don’t want to take life from them
just because I’m scared.”
mother just stood there.
love isn’t wrong, then me raising a child that I never planned on having cannot be wrong.”
walked out of that clinic not knowing what had happened to her. The same fear she had had before the relief was restored,
and the impossibility seemed to still be there when she considered the logic of it all. But, she looked at the sky and knew
something was happening for a reason. Was it just the right choice for her? Maybe and maybe not. Somehow, though, she didn’t
know how very many situations could be much different, at least not moralistically.
is it, Harm?” Collin said when he answered the front door in surprise.
a lot that a person can act upon out of fear. Fear can make so much of a difference when it comes to choices, you know?”
just stared, nearly to tears.
don’t know if you’re always going to be around, Collin. But, I’m willing to take that chance.”