Coz time is short and I have to set things on the record.
I sat down opposite one couple. Between a man and the woman the child had hollowed out some sort of space, and he was sleeping. He turned as he slept, and I saw his face in the glow of the night-light. What an adorable face! That couple had brought forth a kind of golden fruit. Out of these heavy old rags had come forth a masterpiece of charm and grace. I bent over that smooth brow, that soft pout of lips, and said to myself: this is a musician’s face, this is Mozart as a child, this face promises a life filled with beauty. Little princes in legends were just like him: protected, cultivated, the object of attention, what might he not become? When by mutation a new rose is born in a garden, all the gardeners are stirred. They isolate the rose, tend the rose and foster its growth. But for men there is no gardener. This child Mozart will be marked like the others by the stamping machine. This Mozart will find his greatest pleasure in tenth-rate music, in the stench of cheap dance-halls. This Mozart is condemned.
I went back to my carriage, telling myself: the fate of those people causes them little suffering. And it is not charity that is tormenting me, not an urge to weep over an endlessly reopened wound. Those who carry the wound do not feel it. It is in effect the human race, and not the individual, that is wounded here, wronged here. I have little or no belief in pity. What torments me is the gardener’s point of view. What torments me is not this poverty in which, after all, a man can settle just as he can in idleness. Generations of Orientals live contentedly in filth. What torments me will not be cured by soup kitchens. What torments me is not these hollows nor these humps, not this ugliness, but a part of the murder of Mozart in every one of these men.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars
I know I’ve told this story before, but my abusive ex refused to let me take birth control. I was on the pill until he found them in my purse.
I went to the Student Health Center—they were completely unhelpful, choosing to lecture me about the importance of safe sex (recommending condoms) instead of actually listening to my problem.
Then I went to Planned Parenthood. The Nurse Practitioner took one look at my fading bruises and stopped the exam. She called in the doctor. The doctor came in and simply asked me: “Are you ready to leave him?” When I denied that I was being abused, she didn’t argue with me. She just asked me what I needed. I said I need a birth control method that my boyfriend couldn’t detect. She recommended a few options and we decided on Depo.
When I told her that my boyfriend read my emails and listened to my phone messages and was known to follow me, she suggested to do the Depo injections at off hours when the clinic was normally closed. She made a note in my chart and instructed the front desk never to leave messages for me—instead, she programmed her personal cell phone number into my phone under the name “Nora”. She told me she would call me to schedule my appointments; she wouldn’t leave a message, but I should call her back when I was able to.
And that was it. No judgment. No lecture. She walked me to the door and told me to call her day or night if I needed anything. That she lived 5 blocks from campus and would come get me. That I wasn’t alone. That she just wanted me to be safe.
I never called her to come to my rescue. But I have no doubt that she would have come if I had called. She kept me on Depo for a year, giving me those monthly injections in secret, helping me prevent a desperately unwanted pregnancy.
I cannot thank Planned Parenthood enough for the work they do.