She hardly caught an ounce of sleep the night before her alarm awakened her for her appointment. Reagan had taken the kids to school so that she could sleep in a little, both of them knowing sleep would be difficult due to nerves. After he returned home to pick her up, they loaded and got on the road pretty quickly. Nothing much to say. The drive to the clinic seemed infinite, but they finally pulled into the parking lot of a brick building with several store fronts, one of which was the clinic. Inside they found a cordial lady at the front desk who signed Rosy in, and they sat down to wait. other than a twenty something year old girl and her friend, the lobby was empty. When a nurse called her back, Reagan was advised to wait while Rosy disappeared behind a door and Reagan’s breathing became a little more labored. As he tried to control his feeling of panic, Rosy came back out and said there was a 48 hour waiting period, so they would need to come back in two days. “We have to do this all over again?” “I guess so.”
Home was an uncomfortably quiet place. Mom and Dad did their best to act normal, but as usual, kids can see through fake cheer. Nobody let the other know what was happening though, as each lived in their illusion of the other side not knowing what they knew. Unity spent most of her waking hours with the families of Samah or Douglass, and Liberty spent her time on the phone with friends.
The second trip was no easier than the first. They thought it might be, but it wasn’t. This time when they arrived, though, Reagan took a seat and Rosy was ushered in and on to the back. Reagan again worked to fight panic while Rosy listened to explanations of how quick and easy this would be and got set up on a table. The nurse performed an exam and a sonogram and explained that now, at six weeks, the “pregnancy tissue” did have a barely detectable heartbeat, but all this should be over in about 10 minutes. Rosy’s ensuing anxiety was artificially calmed with a sedative, and the doctor entered the room. He used a suction tube to accomplish the procedure in three quick efforts, and she was cleaned up.
She never heard anything that was said in the “therapy session” that followed. The thought “Courtesy had a heartbeat” was the only thing echoing through her mind. As casually as if she had just had an oil change, the nurses wheeled her out the rear exit where Reagan was waiting with the car. With tears streaming down her face, she did her best getting into the car with help, and the nurses assured Reagan “it’s just the after effect of the sedation – she’ll be fine,” as he went around to the driver’s side.
The following days and weeks were as difficult as the Washingtons had ever seen. Fall decorations and translucent autumn leaves were all over town, but Rosy never saw them, because she couldn’t get herself to leave the house. She stayed in bed most of the time and cried so much she kept towels over her pillow so she could change them out for dry ones. Reagan convinced the kids that she had a bad cold and was contagious, so they gave her space, slipping “get well” notes under the door every couple of days.
Due to Rosy shutting down and shutting others out, Reagan spent more time at work, letting the Harhashes shuttle the kids to school, even though he was a little uncomfortable and suspicious of their culture. He was oblivious, just like the rest of the family, to the fact that Unity had started attending a house church at the Harhash home on Wednesday evenings. They and Douglass’ family gathered as a Christian group each week, as none of them felt like they were accepted at the local churches, due to their backgrounds. Douglass was the teen son in a mixed family with a black father and white mother. He was named after Frederick Douglass. His mom was an anesthetist and dad an engineer. The Harhashes were raised on the Quran and the Torah and Talmud, but had become Christians just a few years ago. Unity had learned more about “her beliefs” here than anywhere else.
As a matter of fact, the group had been thinking about doing a live nativity for Christmas, to show the local public what the scene might have really looked like.