At J~'s house, I have a neighbor, H~, who approached me recently, having seen me walking up and down her street, to ask if I wanted to walk together sometime. I gladly agreed. We've since done so several times, for over an hour at a stretch. We now know each other's entire life stories. Or at least it feels that way.
H~ and I have one thing in common: we both got pregnant as teenagers. And we both called our babies-to-be by the same name. Only, I had an abortion, and she didn't. She now has a seven-year-old daughter (mine would have been eighteen) and a three-year-old son. She's happily married to the guy who she once described as a one night stand.
I wonder what's motivating me to write about this. It's not that I feel I'm getting a glimpse into the life I might've had; H~'s life is very different than mine ever could've been. But the questions she asks me (like, did I ever think of my miscarriages as punishment for my abortion) are probably the same questions I would've asked (or been afraid to ask) had I been in her shoes.
What H~ offers me is an opportunity to reflect, to see how far I've come. It wasn't that long ago that I did feel like I was living the consequence of a big mistake. I told H~ as much, and also that now, I see things differently. "I had a very tough choice to make back then. I made the best decision I could at the time. Both roads would have been hard, but I don't see that as punishment anymore. I'm happy with my life now. I'm glad to have the memories and experiences I've had. There are definitely things I regret, and things that make me sad. But we all have that."
It's great to have a chance to say this kind of thing out loud to someone, especially someone nodding, someone getting it, in spite of a life guided by a very different set of beliefs.
Plus, it was also nice to have someone to confess to, when the feeling welled up in me on our walk yesterday morning: I'm getting more and more excited about moving in with J~ fulltime. Come fall, barring any mishaps or missteps, that's exactly what I'm going to do.