A young girl has to make a decision and then changes her mind at the last minute.
The chill of the winter twilight, piercing cold, made her shiver as she walked through the wet streets, the light from the shops reflecting in the puddles. Large droplets of rain mingling with the tears running down her face, and the salty taste when they reached the corner of her mouth. The moon was high overhead and she pulled her coat around her tightly and hurried on. She had thought about the decision she had made and what she was about to do endlessly for the past month, and knew she had no choice.
It had all started so beautifully, she and her best friend Lisa, had been out dancing, and were sitting drinking soft drinks, when they were approached by two men. One of them asked Babs to dance. He looked and acted charming complimenting Babs on her hair and earrings. She was attracted to him instantly. He was around six foot tall, and well built with broad shoulders, he spoke with a soft Scottish accent, not Glaswegian, more Edinburgh, and was dressed immaculately in a lovat suit, with a long back vent in the fashion of the day. Hi black hair was cropped in the mode of the Liverpool pop groups who were popular at the time. Later when Lisa came over and said she was going home, Paul, thats what he said his name was, implored Babs to stay a bit longer and he would put her in a taxi home when the dancing finished. Lisa asked Babs to come to the toilet with her, once there, Lisa said "Ah don't trust him, he's goat shifty eyes Babs, come hame wi me", Babs assured her that he had been the perfect gentleman and that she would be alright and to go on home and she would see her in the morning. The dancing was in full swing, couples gyrating on the floor, with lights from the mirror ball dappling the walls with dots of light flickering around the room, the music blaring, "I want to spend my life with a girl like you" boomed out and Babs and Paul were looking into each other's eyes, giving Babs a heady feeling of gaiety. As the night wore on Babs began to feel a little light headed, and Paul aked her if she felt alright, she said she thought she needed a bit of air. They got their coats from the cloakroom and emerged into the chill of the evening. It was a cool moonlit night, and they began walking towards the city centre. Babs was by now feeling very sleepy and Paul took her by the hand over to one of the grey tenement buildings.
She came to, feeling cold and wet, and found herself lying half in a puddle in the back of the close. She felt disorientated and was sore and bleeding. After few moments, she gathered her thoughts, trying to remember how she had got here. She remembered leaving the dancing with Paul and him saying to come over to the close and they could sit on the stairs until she felt better. Then, blackness, she strived to remember but nothing. She realised what had happened to her, one of her stockings was lying in the puddle and her bra had been unclipped. She began to feel panic, what to do. She tidied herself as best she could and made her way to her friend Lisa's house. It was Sunday morning, Babs knew her parents would be out at her Granny's house. She walked hurriedly with her head bowed. She banged on Lisa's door and pushed past her when she opened the door. "What's wrong" Lisa said, "It wiz that bloke, ah told ye he wiz shifty".
She told Lisa all that she could remember, and swore her to secrecy, she couldn't tell anyone about this, It was to be their secret, her Mother and Father would never believe her and would cause a fuss with endless questions and maybe even involve the police. She had a bath and Lisa lent her some clean clothes and underwear as her pants were missing.
The next few weeks were a blur as Babs went about her daily routine, she went to work and hoped that no one would notice anything different about her. She sorted the post and typed the odd letter. She was the office junior in a small firm of Solicitors in St Vincent Place.
The day she had been dreading arrived but her period did not, Lisa said it was probably just a bit late, but Babs knew her periods were as regular as clockwork. After another two weeks and no period, Babs knew she must be pregnant, and it must be Paul, as she had not been with anyone else he was the first. The fear in her was mounting and she had a ,heavy, dreadful weight in the pit of her stomach. Lisa had told her about a cousin of hers who had an abortion from a woman in Partick. Arrangements were made to meet Lisa's cousin. She explained that the woman had been very good and that it wasnt painful and would cost £30.00, where would She get £30.00, her wages were only £3/10 a week and her Mother took £2.00 of that. Lisa said I have £22.00 saved up if you can get the other £8.00. She had £12.00 in her own post office savings book. Margaret, Lisa's cousin arranged to meet Babs the next evening and take her to the woman in Partick.
They rang the bell, and a middle aged woman, tall and well dressed answered the door, Babs was surprised as she had imagined it would be an old crone, she had heard all the stories about back-street abortionist. The house was clean and well furnished, and a coal fire was glowing in the hearth of the tiled fireplace. After a few questions and Babs explaining what had happened and the disbelieving look on the woman's face, she had heard it all before, an appointment was made for Friday night, which would give Babs the weekend to rest before going back to work.
She struggled with the thought for the next three days. Finally Friday arrived, she made her way to Partick, she knew she had no choice. As she slowly walked up the stairs of the tenement building every step was like climbing the north face of the Eiger, her stomach tumbling like an gymnast tumbling across on a floor exercise. A young girl of similar age to herself passed her, bent over in pain with large tears streaming down her face. "I can't do this" thought Babs, she turned and followed the girl down the stairs and out of the building, she felt as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, and both her heart and her head told her that she was doing the right thing for her and her unborn baby.
She thought of how she would cope and how she would explain to her Mother and Father, she hoped that perhaps they would understand.