After a long therapeutic ride, Reagan returned home to find that everyone had gone to bed. The kids were asleep and Rosy may as well have been. He climbed into his side of the bed and drifted off into a fitful, restless sleep.
The next afternoon Rosy texted him and invited him to dinner. She said the kids were taken care of and she had a coupon for Cheesecake Factory, so he agreed. They met at the hostess station after work:
“Strange how we convince ourselves we have control, huh?” She broke the ice.
“Yeah. We don’t,” he responds, both of them avoiding the issue of the last conversation.
“You’re saying we don’t convince ourselves, or we don’t have control?”
He explains: “We don’t have control. I’m actually agreeing with you for once. No control. At all, over anything. We have no idea whether we will live or die in the next minute. We are so fragile and yet we pretend to be so secure with our future. We don’t even know if our kids are safe as we speak . . . “
“Don’t say that! Even if it is true.”
“So do we keep grasping desperately to control what little we can, or do we just trust God, or fate, or coincidence, or whatever, to have its way with us?” He asked the question, not expecting an answer.
“I can accept that we can’t control most things, but we can control some. That’s not unrealistic. We just convince ourselves we are more in charge than we are,” Rosy said, hanging on.
“Does this knife look clean?” Reagan was unwrapping his silverware and placing his napkin is his lap.
“Nope. But I bet you can get a clean one,” Rosy said in an “I rest my case” sort of tone.
While Reagan and Rosy were enjoying their meal and sharing a decadent layered chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and whipped cream, Unity & Liberty were at the house three doors down from their own. Rosy had set them up to stay with the Harhash family for the evening. The Harhashes were a family from the middle east. The wife was of Syrian descent and the husband was of Jewish descent, and they had a daughter several years older than Unity, but Unity had become friends with her lately. Reagan and Rosy pulled into the Harhash driveway and the girls came out and climbed into the Washington-mobile, delighted to see both of their parents together and in a good mood. They had decided to come home in one car for exactly that reason, and it worked.
Later that night, in their respective chairs with the kids deposited into bed, the old problem came back up, but without the element of surprise and with the buffer of more consideration from both sides. They both agreed that it was not as easy an issue as either extreme side of the political spectrum present it to be:
“I know it’s a bad time for us, but this is already a life,” he said.
“I’ve been pregnant before, and I remember feeling life inside of me. I’m just not convinced this is yet. As long as it is still tissue that may be a life, it doesn’t bother me any more than an appendectomy.” Rosy deliberately avoided the “you’ve never been pregnant” point, out of politeness.
“Ok, let me ask you this, then: When do you think life starts?” Reagan asked.
“I don’t know – honestly – but I don’t think it happens as soon as your swimmer finds a home. I think it is definitely after that. I guess you think its conception?” – Rosy
Reagan – “I can’t say I’ve studied the science of it enough to know, but I’ve always been taught that the Bible says God knows us in the womb . . .”
“It doesn’t say WHEN in the womb, though. I think its still just tissue.”
“It? IT is Courtesy,” he stiffened up.
“It is a bad time. We have enough problems without a new set of diapers.”
A long pause was had, as the couple watched the weather on the 10:00 news. Finally: “How soon could you get it done?” he asked, just before Liberty walked in to get some water.
“Get what done? she asked, as Unity followed her.
“Have you been listening to us? – Mom
Unity did not say a word, and Liberty quietly muttered “no.”
They filled their cups, gulped it down, and scuttled back to bed.
“I’ll check tomorrow,” Rosy stated, wondering what the kids heard.
Not another word was said in the house, as Reagan went to bed still wondering when Courtesy would be alive or feel pain, as Rosy fell asleep hoping she was right, as Liberty was pleased that her parents were in agreement, and as Unity felt like she was losing a sister.