“When this is over with, you’ll feel much better,” Mrs. Thompson said as her husband parked the station wagon in the one shady spot the parking lot had to offer.
“We all will,” Mr. Thompson agreed, gazing at the newly painted building. “Didn’t this place used to be some kind of a church?”
“Still is on Sundays,” Mrs. Thompson answered. “The adoption agency has office hours here Monday through Friday.”
“Hrmph.” Mr. Thompson grunted. “Not very crowded is it?”
“No, not today,” Mrs. Thompson answered. “Thankfully enough. This should be quick.” She smiled at Kaitlyn in the rear view mirror.
Kaitlyn looked away. She didn’t share her mother’s forced cheerfulness. She pulled the damp, oversized shirt away from her protruding abdomen. It was ten a.m., and already the air was hot and muggy on this late summer day, six months into the pregnancy. In the car, it was sweltering. “Can we just get going?”
“It’s not like those damned bureaucrats leave us much choice anymore, you know.” Mr. Thompson was continuing the conversation he and his wife had been having on the drive over as they all stepped from the car.
“Richard, please keep your voice down.” Mrs. Thompson tilted her head towards the security guards posted at the entrance to the Center. They had perked up at the sound of Mr. Thompson’s naturally loud baritone. The two men, dressed identically in dark blue slacks, shiny black shoes and short-sleeved white shirts, eyed the Thompsons warily.
“I’m just saying Ginny,” Mr. Thompson continued, lowering his voice, “it wasn’t that long ago that,”
Kaitlyn tuned out the conversation. She’d heard this all before. Her dad was coping by talking about the good ol’ days again. But the way she saw it, living in the past did no good. She was still expected to carry this fetus. “Too bad I wasn’t raped two years ago,” she muttered and smacked her belly.
“Stop it,” Mrs. Thompson’s voice was shrill as she grabbed Kaitlyn’s hand. “How can you say that?”
“Ow,” Kaitlyn pulled away, flexing her fingers.
“I’m sorry.” Mrs. Thompson blanched. “It’s just, well, we’re all just doing what we have to do. You know that, right?”
“Yeah,” Kaitlyn replied, her voice harsher than she intended. “I know.”
Mrs. Thompson looked at Kaitlyn with tear-filled eyes. “I’m so sorry.”
Kaitlyn held the gaze. She guessed her mom was apologizing for more than squishing Kaitlyn’s fingers. Maybe she was sorry for the plight of women in general. Or felt that somehow this was her own fault-if only I’d done this or that differently, nothing would’ve happened. But up until six months ago, Kaitlyn had been content with her life. Well, as content as any seventeen-year-old-still-living-at-home-but-ready-to-be-in-the-world could be.