Stickman Readers' Submissions December 7th, 2006

Delightful Ning Back In Farangland 12/12 – Departure 3

"Everything ok with the pill last night", asks me the doctor now? We stand around Ning, who fell back into sleep on her gynaecologist's chair. – "Yes, and she says she has pain down there now." – "That's fine. The pill
opens the uterine orifice, which makes my job easier."

— Clinic —

The nurse busily prepares shiny steel tools I don't want to inspect at all. The doctor and the nurse bow over my Ning – what are they going to do to her now? Now I will see my first abortion.

He Clinic Bangkok

In that moment they both turn around to me and sing in sync: "Mr. Pothole, please sit in the waiting room for 20 minutes. We call you when you can come back."

20 minutes later, my Ning slowly awakes from her anesthesia. I am alone in room 3 with her now. Alone – or is our unborn somewhere too? In that covered alloy trashbin in the corner? Still mostly under her blanket, my tranquilized Ning has
the air of an angel, as if she resides on a different cloud. I hold her hand.

"Will they start the operation now", she whispers with a distant voice? – "Oh dear, it's over. They did it already!" – "What, no, they never started, I noticed nothing." – "Dear, really, I have just
spent 20 minutes in the lovely waiting room. It's over!"

CBD bangkok

The doctor and the nurse sneak back in. – "Oh, my slip", whispers Ning with a dead voice, "please, I want to wear my slip." – "Where is her slip", I ask the nurse. – "She wears one already", informs
the doctor. – Oh really, I lift the blanket a bit and see that she wears a huge padded one-way slip.

Ning drifts back into lala land. – "That's it", says the doctor. "The operation went very smooth. She may have a bit of blood for some more weeks. But I have no objection to a long-distance flight next week."

"Oh, and by the way", he continues, "you are going to marry, right? She is very healthy, I noticed, all her organs are in a good state. Nothing to worry. I saw it all on my new hi-res ultrasound!" – Thanks for that.

"How about the fetus", I ask the doc? "Was it alive or dead?" (I really say "it".)

wonderland clinic

I get another look like, don't ask dull questions mate. The look says, I can free you of a fetus, but not of any moral woes, OK mate? He finally answers: "After the pill she inserted last night, there was of course no more vitality."

I don't ask what was before the pill. I wanted this result anyway. Hooorray, I am free again. Or so I think.

My sleeping Ning is heaved into a wheelchair and covered again with the blanket. The wheelchair is ferried across the clinic that buzzes with nurses and customers. What if we meet our neighbors or friends here? A tranquilized young lady in
a wheelchair, does that speak of an abortion? What can I lie to them? And all the nurses, do they approve of our deed? They now have a dead baby under their roof – is that what they wanted from their job?

We enter a tiny room where one highly pregnant lady already lounges on a bed, her enormous womb uncovered. My dozing Ning is convinced to crawl on to the other bed and covered with heaps of blankets.

She comes back to consciousness for a moment. She tries to concentrate on my face with glassy eyes. "Dear", I say, "you will sleep for another two hours. I go to town for a while. When you wake up, the nurse will call my mobile
phone and I'll be here in a minute." She nods and falls back into her trance.

I leave the pregnant and the aborted lady alone in their sleeping cabin and turn to the nurse at the reception. I hand her my phone number: "Would you please call me when she wakes up? Then I'll be here in a minute. Thank you."
– The nurse and three customeresses around me give me big looks of disbelief: he wants to run away while his lady sleeps in coma? Is he a monster? Ning, I know, approves of my expedition. She wouldn't want me to sit around in the clinic for

I head back to the Italian coffee shop for the second time this morning. The waitress brings another latte and says: "I guess you come more often now? Here is a card where you can collect one stamp per coffee. For ten stamps, the eleventh
coffee will be free." She does not understand that I give the card back to her.

Finally the cell phone rings, and I rush back to the clinic. Ning walks slowly around, like geriatric. I have a feeling that 15 people watch us. What do they know? How do we look? Like murderers?

There is nothing more to do in the clinic. No follow-up-appointment to be made, no last advice from doctor or nurse, no bureaucracy at the reception. With a lame "bye-bye" we disappear through the door. Business done.

The car parks ten minutes away. "Stay here in the door", I tell Ning, "I will bring the car here." – "No, I can walk there." – "Don't be stupid, just wait a little, you don't have to walk through
the cold wind and up the hill." – "Sure I can walk, why not?" – We walk to the car.

We arrive at home. Nobody notices us, her apathetic walk, her glassy eyes. I feel as if I steal into the door like a thief seeking to hide. What have I done?

— At home —

Coming back from her first abortion, she immediately starts to clean the kitchen. Then the chemicals kick in again. She wants to sleep more time. It's just 10.30 in the morning, just about the start of a working day, but so much has
already been finalised.

She doesn't want the bedroom. She sinks down on the sheep rug in the living room. I bring her blankets and pillows from the bedroom, crank up the heating, place biscuits, fruit, juice, water and a thermos with thin fruit tea near her
camp. Then I go back to my work in the home office. Am I being frivolous?

Every 20 minutes I check Ning in the living room. In the seconds she is awake she seems to consume traces of biscuits and juice. I sneak back out.

One time I enter the living room and she lies there, awake. She looks to the ceiling.

"My dear", she asks. – She still calls me "my dear". – "My dear, what did the doctor say? Was baby alive?"

Still her otherworldly voice.

"No, he said it was already dead", I lie. I use "it" again.

"Oh. But was baby dead from the pill in the night, or was baby dead already before that medicine?"

"He said, the baby was dead already, before the pill in the night." I lie again.

"Did you ask that out of him?"

"No, he said it out of his own initiative."

She seems to start to believe me. She gets a content smile: "Then you and me did not kill baby today!" Maybe better for her kharma. Her head falls back into pillow, the chemicals still have her in their grip.

Now we've been through something, I ponder. Next week she'll fly out. By aborting our baby I wanted to remain free, unattached, but somehow I feel more fixed than ever. Fixed, and responsible, for this lady, who followed me through
the ordeal I set up for her. This is solely my own feeling, she never demanded anything. But now, after retaining my freedom with drastic means, I feel less free than before. I wanted my old freewheeling state of mind back again, but it just went
down the gully, together with our unborn.

— Departure —

In the evening, she feels strong enough for a walk along the village edge. It's her idea. I pack her into several layers of wool and cotton.

We look wide over the fields that we walked along on so many days. She'll fly out soon, her second departure from Old Europe.

The sunset is very unusual today: an intense light blue – no: it's a baby blue. And against that baby blue, lots and lots of delicate shiny pink feathers strewn along the firmament. Baby blue and baby pink. I don't even dare to
mention it to her. It's ethereal.

Then the colors start to fade and to lose their brilliance. The innocent pink clouds seem to rise away into stratosphere, as if being sucked up by a colossal vacuum cleaner. I see our killed unborn moving further away from us to the other,
dark side.

My government says it is okay to kill your unborn. My heart says it is murder. Ning doesn't say much about this, she isn't asked. I decided to do it, anyway, to maintain my holy independence. Desperado.

"So the doctor said, baby dead already", she asks again?

"Yes, dead already", I lie again.

"Dead from medicine you put inside me?"

"No, dead before", I lie again.

"Dead before? Dead already?"

"Dead already."

"Dead already", she repeats.

It's a very horrible ending.

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nana plaza