An Appointment with Destiny

7:15 AM


     Jessie awoke the next morning in her dorm room after a night of little sleep. Her mother's story had replayed in her dreams, mixing with her own current drama. It was time to get up and get ready for the long-awaited appointment. This was it. This was the end. Would she ever tell her family, she wondered? Or wasn't the point of all this to avoid that, to keep up the illusion of the perfect little girl, leading the perfect little life? If only David was there, he'd help her sort her confused thoughts. And yet, she knew exactly what David would have to say about this matter. 

She dressed slowly, carefully, staring in the mirror at the dark circles forming around her eyes. She'd decided to wear black that day to cover up any signs of a bump. The dark color coupled with exhaustion gave her a washed out, corpse-like complexion. 

"Who exactly is dying today?" She thought soberly.

Taking a deep breath, she willed herself to finish getting ready. Stepping outside her dorm, she jumped in surprise at the sight of someone waiting on the other side of the door. For a moment, her heart rushed at the thought of David showing up to be with her. Instead, she was greeted by the foreign exchange student she'd seen so much of lately. 

"Jessie? I'm sorry to bother you at your place," she spoke slowly, clearly trying to perfect her English. Jessie pushed away a feeling of frustration. This girl was everywhere! 

"I have a gift for you and for..." she looked around, "the baby.”

“Last night, I couldn't sleep, I felt so much that God wanted me to give it to you today."

Opening the tiny bag extended by the girl, Jessie's heart did a lurch. There, at the bottom was a tiny stuffed velveteen rabbit. It was clearly a baby toy. Her eyes filled with tears as she held the rabbit softly. Giving the girl an unexpected hug, she whispered a choked "Thank you!" and quickly rushed away.

Throwing herself and the present in the car, she sped down the street like a maniac. It was now or never. She felt her will weakening. Pulling into the Planned Parenthood parking lot, Jessie grabbed her purse and walked inside. The familiar confident coldness swept over her as she signed in at the desk and sat down to wait. 

Soon enough, she was taken into an examination room similar to a doctor's office. Jessie's mind fluttered back to the office where she'd first told David of Teddy's existence. 


She hadn't called him that in days. In fact, since she'd made the decision to abort, she'd put aside all thoughts of any sort of humanity living inside her. It was a procedure, a problem to be dealt with like any other. And yet the room was cold, so cold. There was a heaviness here she couldn't describe. It was unlike any doctor's office she'd ever known. But why? At last, a gruff looking doctor came in. She was cool and collected to such a degree she seemed to lack all warmth. Jessie felt as if this person was a mirror to her own soul. A living, breathing representation of what she would become after that day. Finally realizing the woman was speaking, Jessie tuned in. 

"Today, we'll be checking the growth of the fetus in order to determine what steps we need to take for an elimination. All of our procedures are outpatient, so there's no need for you to miss work or school."

The terms reflected the woman, cold, severe, and brutally to the point. Her entire manner invited no questions. 

"If you could just lie down on the table and pull up your shirt, we'll begin. "

As Jessie did as she was instructed, the doctor put the cold gel on her stomach. A feeling of nausea overwhelmed her as she stared up at the ceiling. She tried to remember her father holding her hand when she was getting stitches as a little girl. She told herself this was just like that. 

"Just a simple procedure...." she repeated the words in her mind.

The ultrasound screen was pointed well away from her view. The doctor looked intently while poking the probe deeply into her stomach. Suddenly, Jessie felt a kick. This was no flutter. This was a hard, very human kick from someone who did not want to be poked! Jessie's eyes widened, wondering whether the doctor had seen what she'd just felt. Then, just as she started to relax, another well placed kick hit the probe in the doctor's hand, nearly knocking it on the floor. Out of nowhere, Jessie began to laugh. Teddy wasn't going out of this world without a fight. And she wasn't going to let him. Quickly wiping off the gel from her stomach, Jessie sat up. 

"This isn't for me. I'm leaving."

A strangely righteous anger overcame the doctor. 

"If you leave now, you'll never be able to come back in. That fetus is at 5 months gestation. The laws in this state do not provide for any later terminations. You're barely out of High School. Is this what you want? To be strapped to a baby for the rest of your life? A single mother without a chance in life?"

With the sharp discernment she was known for, Jessie threw the question back. 

"That's what you were, weren't you?" 

The doctor's anger was quickly replaced by the former coldness. “I made my choice. I finished my degree and now I help other women to do the same.”

Without another word, Jessie turned and left. As she walked out the door and into the sunlight, she felt as if a huge weight had finally fallen off her shoulders. Tears came to her eyes as she grabbed her stomach gratefully.

"I couldn't do it, Teddy! I couldn't do it!"

Then all at once, a man ran up to her car. 

"Jessie! Jessie! I got your text. Please, say it's not too late!" 

For there, in the middle of the Planned Parenthood parking lot stood the dishelved boy she couldn't forget. A smile lit up her tear stained face. 


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