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  • Gerard Vanderleun

Strangers Knocking at My Door

By Gerard Vanderleun


As they did last year, they’ve come twice in the last two days. They’re kids out running “a raise money for NARAL” scam. They get a cut of anything they pull in, and they sell any info they get to Planned Parenthood or other death mills.


They’re pleasant and they are enthusiastic (I love the painting! I really admire the tree!) and they hand you the clipboard expecting you to sign in your enthusiasm to support their “work.”

I listen and then I tell them, “No, I don’t support what you’re doing or the people and causes that you represent. I think it’s evil for you to do this, and worse still to do it for money.”


Here in Seattle’s Queen Anne, where smiles, nods, and signups for their scam are their usual rewards, they seem genuinely surprised and taken aback.


“You mean you’re not pro-choice?”


I assure them that I am not pro-choice even though, long ago, I was.


Yesterday evening, at night on the darkened porch, it was a young woman. She just shook her head and walked away to get on with her “mission” of going door to door bilking pro-choicers out of money. I guess she forgot to leave the chalk mark on my door that indicates “Satan!” because just now a boy old enough to be a man but forever avoiding it knocked with the same knock and announced himself as, “Hello, I’m your friendly neighborhood feminist.” He pointed towards the pink watch cap he wore.


He ran through the same spiel and handed me what could have been the same clipboard. I listened and handed it back to it saying, “I don’t support this.”


“You mean, you’re not pro-choice?”


“Do you have any children?”


“Ah… no.”


“Son, have you ever been through an abortion with, say, a woman you love in support of her right to choose?”


“Well, no.”

“I’ve been through two. The first was one that I supported. The second was one that I had deep misgivings about but failed to oppose. Those two abortions were all long ago, but now I know that those were two children I didn’t have and will never know, and not a month goes by I don’t think about that and regret it.


“If it ever happens to you, you’ll agree to the abortion, to the killing of your child, at the time and then, years later, it will come back to you. It will come back to you that you are missing children in your life and it is partially your doing. And it will haunt you, the thought of the people they could have been.


“You’re young and deluded. You’re going to walk away and make this a story you’ll tell to the other kids out running your NARAL scam. Then you’ll forget all about what I am saying to you now for years, maybe decades, and you’ll go off and have some abortions of your own.


“And then one day, years after that, you’ll come to know what I know now. That’s when you’ll remember me; a man who through his own selfish vanity and foolishness, kept two children out of his life.


“That’s when you’ll remember this moment; the two of us here on this porch this evening. But like me, it will be too late for you. And you will know it and it will shatter your heart as it shatters mine even to this day late in my life.”


He walked away shaking his head, already moving into the long forgetting. Some day, it will come back to him. I’ll be remembered as a stranger, but suddenly not all that strange.

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