His Child

Sitting in their favorite coffee shop, Marc stared across the table at his girlfriend. Her words echoed around the vacuum they had created in his brain. “What did you say?”

“I’m pregnant, Marc.” Lily clutched the edge of the table as she leaned forward. “What are we going to do?”

He still couldn’t grasp it. “But, how? I thought you took—”

“Of course I did!” Tears flooded her blue eyes. “And I’m the first girl in the history of contraceptives to have it not work.” She blinked furiously and sniffed. “But the important thing is what are we going to do about it?”

“I don’t know.” He held out his palms to ward off the disaster barreling toward him. “I’m not ready to support a child.”

She drew back. “And you think I am?”

“No, but, Lily, I have three more years of college.”

“So do I.” She looked away, wrapping her arms around herself. “But because I’m the girl, it’s my problem.”

“Lily, no—” He reached for her hand.

She ignored him and grabbed her purse off the floor, slinging its strap over her shoulder. “Fine. If you can’t handle a child, you don’t have to. But get this.” She met his gaze, her eyes star-bright with tears and emotion. “We’re done.”

“Lily.” He stood as she did and grabbed her arm.

She twisted free and hurried between the tables, her boot heels clicking on the tile.

Vaguely aware he didn’t want a huge scene, Marc dropped into his chair. He sipped his latte and found it too sweet. He needed to go home. In the morning he’d call Lily, when she’d had time to calm down.

~

Marc called Lily three times over the course of the morning. He left a voicemail each time. She didn’t answer. At lunch time he sent a text.

“Lily, call me, babe. I’m sorry about last night. I was too shocked. We need to talk. We can handle this. I love you!”

He even paid attention to punctuation. In a minute, she replied.

“Drop it, Marc. You are so close to getting your number blocked. I’ll call you when I’m good and ready.”

Marc dropped the phone in his lap, propped his elbows on his knees, and rested his forehead on his hands. God, what do I do?

Where had that come from? Marc hadn’t done any serious praying since, oh, about the time he and Lily started sleeping together. They’d both known it was wrong—they were good church kids. Even now, no one knew their relationship wasn’t on the straight and narrow.

And now he would come whining to God because his own sin had landed him in more trouble than he could handle? Yeah. He’d always looked down on people who did that.

Now here he was, sorry for his sin, but mostly just because he’d been caught. Well, maybe it was a little genuine. Still, he wouldn’t drag God into this. He’d get himself and Lily straightened out, and then he’d get things right with God.

~

That night he went to the Wednesday night Bible study for young adults at his church. He smiled and greeted his friends like always, taking his usual seat. Except Lily wasn’t beside him.

“Hey, Marc, where’s Lily?” Pastor Dan asked.

“Um.” Lily would kill him if he hinted at the truth, but he hated to lie bold-faced in church. “She’s not feeling too good. Better put her on the prayer list.”

Pastor Dan wrote Lily’s name on the whiteboard under “Sick.” Lily was sick at heart, no doubt. Marc wished she’d call him.

The lesson was about opening up to brothers and sisters in Christ. Confessing faults. Praying for each other. Accountability. A community to lean on.

Marc kinda wanted to talk to Pastor Dan after class. But he couldn’t yet. Couldn’t shatter Pastor Dan’s image of him. Couldn’t face God the way Pastor Dan would expect him to.

Maybe he’d open up next week, once he and Lily had figured out what to do.

~

Marc woke up late Thursday morning. Call her.

That’s what he wanted to do. Call Lily and promise to do the right thing—provide for his child, even marry Lily if that’s what she wanted. He’d thought it over for hours last night. They could make this work.

Call her.

“I can’t,” he argued aloud. “She said she’d do the calling. Cool your jets, Marc.”

He tossed back his blankets and sat up. He reached for his phone, hoping he’d somehow slept through a call from her last night.

He hadn’t.

Call her.

He pulled up their texting conversation. He wanted to send just three words: I love you.

But she’d told him in no uncertain terms to leave her alone. Marc stood and headed for the shower.

~

It was four in the afternoon when Marc’s phone started playing Lily’s ringtone. Finally. He slammed his textbook shut and swiped his finger across the phone screen. “Babe, I’m so glad you called.”

“Problem solved, Marc.” Her voice held a cheerfulness even he could tell was fake. “I had an abortion this morning.”

Oh, God! An invisible fist socked his chest. He couldn’t breathe. “What?” he choked out.

“I. Had. An. Abortion.” She clipped the words.

“Why?” He finally gulped air into his lungs. “Lily, why’d you do it?”

“Because you said you weren’t ready, and I couldn’t raise a child on my own, idiot.”

Oh, God! Marc’s whole body felt sick. “But—”

“Don’t start, Marc. If you wanted something different, you should have said so before. Not now.”

“You told me not to call you!”

“And you didn’t love me enough to help me even when I said I didn’t want help.”

Female logic. No sense. Yet it doubled his guilt. “I’m sorry, Lily.”

“Sorry? Yeah.” She gave a hard laugh. “If you want to help, you can pay half the bill.”

“Pay for the murder of my own child?”

“So now it’s your child? Now that I’ve had the mortification of an abortion? You weren’t so quick to claim it Tuesday night.”

Oh, God, I’m a fool. An idiot.

“Marc, I never want to see you again. Do you hear me?”

“Lily, please.” He was a wreck. He couldn’t handle this.

“Don’t you dare try to speak to me or contact me. Ever. I hate you, Marc Johnson!”

The phone beeped in his ear. He laid it beside him on the couch. Lily couldn’t hate him more than he hated himself. He had allowed his own child to be killed.

His child.

Why hadn’t he called her this morning? Why hadn’t he supported her when she first told him?

Idiot! Moron! Sorry excuse for a man!

He sank to his knees and slumped forward until he lay prone on the carpet. Tears burned his eyes, scalded his face. A sharp-cornered lump swelled in his throat.

Oh, God! Oh, God, what have I done?

~

Alone in her bedroom, Lily cradled a soft pillow against her body. Her violated, robbed, hurting body. Her soul was so empty. Every heartbeat stabbed her with physical pain.

She had lost Marc, and her baby, and God.

Tucking her face under the corner of the pillow, she sobbed.

-Miss Darcy

P.S. Every day thousands of unplanned pregnancies end in hopelessness. In many–perhaps most–cases, the father of the unborn child is all for the abortion, or at least indifferent. But it ends up hurting him, too. The fathers’ stories are often left untold, but if you’d like to read some true cases, I refer you to Silent No More’s testimonies. Check the “Fathers of Aborted Children” box, and click the search button.

P.P.S. I would be utterly remiss if, after telling of the hopelessness, I did not tell of the hope offered in Jesus Christ. It is indeed wrong to take a baby’s life in the womb, just as it is wrong to kill a grown person in cold blood, but for all sin Jesus offers forgiveness.  “For God did not send His Son into the world to bring condemnation, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)  No matter what the sin, Jesus’ blood can carry it far away from you, “as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)  If anyone reading this has lost a child to abortion, I pray you will run to Jesus. His love is the kind that never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

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