I thought about this.
“These ideas are still pertinent,” I said slowly. “But they’re not important now. What’s important is what you should do for your ultimate happiness.”
“Happiness?” she cried unhappily. “I was happy. I had a boyfriend! I want a boyfriend! I don’t want a baby!”
“Okay,” I said, trying hard to think. Suddenly I had an idea. “So what are you crying about?”
She looked at me, dumbstruck.
“Wh-what do you mean?”
“I mean, you seem pretty clear. You don’t want a baby. You want Jamie. He doesn’t want a baby—or at least he doesn’t want you if you have a baby. So, what’s the problem? Why are you so upset?”
“B-because of J-Jamie. B-because I have to do this!” she cried.
“Well, you don’t have to do anything,” I said slowly, trying to think. “Sorry, but you seem pretty upset—what exactly is bothering you about Jamie’s reaction?”
“W-well, it does seem pretty harsh,” she said uncertainly.
“Uh, yes,” I said, with irony. “It sounds like he doesn’t care too much, doesn’t it?”
She looked at me sharply.
“I mean, he doesn’t want you if you have a baby. What does that tell you? Would you not want him if he had a child? Your child?”
“N-no, of course not,” she said, drying her eyes.
“So what do you think will happen after you abort your child?” I said. “You think that everything will go back to the way it was?”
“Maybe,” she said, but looked doubtful.
“Probably not,” I said, though reluctant to hurt her feelings. “It never does.”
She sighed heavily.
“I-I thought the same thing. I really want things to go back to the way they were. But they probably won’t.”
“So, then, you said you want a boyfriend, not a baby.”
“Yes, well, I don’t want a baby now. I mean, I eventually want a baby. I mean, if Jamie wanted the baby, it would be different.”
“So wait a minute. Now you are saying that you would want a baby, if things were different?”
“Y-yes,” she said, and grew silent.
“I kind of see what you were saying,” she said quietly. “About how sex hasn’t really changed in all of history.”
“No, people don’t really change,” I said, groping for words. “So, let’s say you have an abortion, what do you think will happen with Jamie?”
Jessica heaved a deep sigh. “I dunno. I asked him if he would go with me, and he asked why couldn’t I have a girlfriend go with me.”
She looked intensely unhappy. I counted to five quickly, in the hopes of forestalling the expletive that I really wanted to use to describe dear old Jamie.
“It doesn’t sound like he wants to be involved,” I ventured, finally.
The tears started coursing down Jessica’s cheeks again. I sighed and put my arm around her.
“Look,” I said. “You said you want to have a child, right? And of course you want to have a man. But it looks like right now you have a child, and you don’t have a man.”
Jessica nodded, and wiped her eyes. I have to say, I admired her honesty in this moment.
“You can’t change Jamie,” I said, bluntly.
“N-no, I can’t,” she admitted.
“So the Jamie question is quite separate from the baby question,” I said, summoning my courage. But she was way ahead of me.
“Oh, how can I do this by myself?” she cried suddenly, and broke out into fresh tears.
As a married mother of two, I had to admit it was a daunting prospect, even for a girl of Jessica’s considerable talents. Although she had a great job, her family would probably tell her to abort.
I decided to be really blunt.
“Listen,” I said. “You have a right to have this baby. Moreover, you have a right to be treated well by the father of this baby, and by your own family. “
She shook her head violently. “My mum will say I’m a fool,” she said. “My sister too.”