WHEN ANNIE FELL OFF THE MOUNTAIN
We met weeks before when she knocked on the door of a party and asked, "Abbey Road?" She squeezed her shoulders up like she couldn't care less what the answer was. The guy who opened the door said, "Sure, come on in." She didn't say thank you. She just dropped her shoulders, looked at me, and said, "Cool!"
I don't remember the exact nights when, many years later, my daughters were conceived, but I remember the night I got Annie pregnant. We had broken up after a silly fight and had gotten together to talk about it. In my life back then, even a brief relationship warranted an extensive and heart-wrenching analysis. She had stopped taking the Pill, which is less significant than it seems because Annie was always having some kind of birth control crisis. We didn't consider other precautions because we didn't expect to have sex. She sat cross-legged on my bed, the kind of peasant dress she wore all the time spread over her knees, as I told her I missed her and wanted to take her camping so we could be alone together in the woods. She was greatly moved, as Annie was always greatly moved by any gesture of affection. She kept lifting her shoulders and gazing at me helplessly. It's pretty obvious what happened next, at least obvious to me now. I am struck by how much of my relationship with Annie is obvious now, though at the time it seemed like a beautiful flower unfolding before my stunned and disbelieving eyes.
A month later she called and said, "I'm late. My period's never late."
My first thought was that it was an excuse to start things again, especially because we had broken up and gone back together at least twice in the intervening thirty days.
"It might not mean anything."
"It does," she said. "I know it does."
In those innocent and primeval days the worst thing that could happen from having unprotected sex was an unwanted pregnancy. And that's what we got.
Abortion was still illegal then, but the only place we could think to go was her doctor. As we drove there I made the mistake of questioning how she could be so sure, having never been pregnant, and we had the first of many arguments during that period. They were tense and vicious, made worse by fighting being the last thing in the world we wanted to do. I waited outside while he examined her. He confirmed she was pregnant, but could offer no other help.