Abortion is a very sensitive subject. Points of view on it vary greatly. It depends on your beliefs, religion, culture, and your personal experience of it.
For the purposes of this article though, and for those of you who may not be aware of it, abortion is legal in European countries, the main idea being that women have the right to decide what happens to their lives and bodies.
But all that is of no importance here, and I have every respect for all points of view. It’s just that the European mindset is part of the backdrop to the story I would like to tell you.
I had a friend who became pregnant during summer, years ago. She had a boyfriend who had already given her a child (a girl) who was around six years old at that time. Their relationship had been going badly and her becoming pregnant came as bad news for them both, as well as for their respective families and friends. This was not an easy time for me either because I had a lot of respect for them both.
Anyway, when she was nearly seven weeks pregnant, he left her (we heard), preferring to live on top of a mountain before going to spend time with a lady hairdresser friend in Marseille.
The result was that she was left alone with a child to look after and another on the way, with no news of her boyfriend. She didn’t have much money either.
The moment was thus ripe for all her friends and family to bombard her incessantly with phone calls, emails and visits and impassioned pleadings and arguments, all designed to advise her to abort (for various practical reasons) or not (for various moral reasons). This went on for a couple of weeks and the pressure mounted and the heated discussions even caused tension amongst friends and family.
She felt trapped between the moralists and the hard-headed pragmatists. And that was all she did not need....She needed help. Not orders.
During this time she and I would meet meet up sometimes or phone and try to put some perspective on this cacophony, and I think she thought that I represented someone she could talk “with” instead of being someone who was being talked down “ to”.
So that’s why she phoned me one day and invited me to a hotel far away in the North of France somewhere for the weekend, in order to get away from the clamouring religious moralists and feminists, and to be able to decide for herself. Phones off, computers off. No contact with anyone but me and the hotel guests and employees.
So we went.
We stayed in a good hotel and talked late and walked and talked together in the forest for two days without stopping. She hoped her boyfriend would come back. Me too. She didn’t want to be socially or morally obliged to abort or not. And I agreed. These were delicate and crucial conversations and we knew it, because there was so much at stake. There was a lot of complicity between us. She didn’t want my definitive call on the question and I didn’t want to give it. Not by cowardice, but, because in the end, she had to decide for herself. Alone.
On the way back to Lyon, in the car, she suddenly said;
“I”m going to have my baby and that’s it, whatever anyone thinks”.
She announced her decision not to abort when we got back to Lyon. She also announced that I was to be her child’s godfather..
My God Daughter
Amélie is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in my life. We are inseparable, and the time we spend together is spent away from the crowd. We like to be alone together.
That is because she knows that I mean something to her existence. It is also because every time I look at her I cannot help but shudder at the thought that she so very nearly didn’t even exist.
Abortion, as I said, is a very sensitive subject.......
Pro or Anti abortion? Don't be stupid. Be human.
(Oh, and Black Summer? That’s the name of the song I wrote and dedicated to Amélie’s mother a few months later. I recorded it too, on an album. The lyrics are below for anyone who would care to read them...They were my attempt to capture the paranoia and pain that Amelie’s mother went through that summer).
Here it is and it’s spitting fire
No-one knows if they’ll get out alive.
Hide and seek in a Black Summer
Ghouls and freaks to serve you right.
Undetectable words from friends,
Can’t decide if it all makes sense.
Lost like a lamb in a Black Summer,
Can’t figure out which way to go.
Long days, long nights, Black Summer
“Well it’s no use sayin’ that ya didn’t do nuthin’,
The rules are made in anotha’ way”.
Burnt alive in a Black Summer.
Why can’t someone kill the fire?
“It’s not watcha say that’ll put things right.
Carry on walkin’ in a circular line”
Covering miles in a Black Summer,
Need a light to guide you home...........