“absolute despair and pure, unadulterated joy one after another”

excerpt from tongues and tumors

I told her that she needs to be strong for her children, for the little girl staring at her mama with wide, frightened eyes, and for the baby growing inside her. She asked if she could come back on Monday. I will come back and I will not be pregnant.

She doesn’t have money for surgery at a local hospital, and so I know that the abortion she was thinking of having would be performed in a back alley somewhere. I told her, no, that she shouldn’t come back, that we would not schedule her for surgery, hoping against hope that she would realize that an abortion was pointless. She dropped her eyes from my face and flicked her wrists, palms-up. So then it is decided. I will go home and I will make a poison and I will kill myself.

What can you actually do when faced with despair like that? I have no clue what she suffers, not the faintest idea of what it’s like to go through life with a huge tumor on my neck, considered cursed by the people who see me. I had no words of hope to offer her, nothing to say that would give her a reason to live, and yet I was sending her out to face the world again. Alone.

So we prayed and we cried and she asked a few more times. And then she grabbed her child, tied her roughly to her back and was gone.

Ali; Oct. 14th, 2009