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The road not taken


Years ago, a female acquaintance became pregnant by a relative of mine. They were in love, they were going to be married. But she had never wanted children, and now she was pregnant.

Several times in past decades, one person or another has said to me, “If you knew something, why didn’t you say something to me at the time, so I could have done something different?” My answer was always, “You did not ask, and it was not my place to say anything.” But I got the question often enough that nowadays I say something when it seems appropriate. Perhaps it is still not appropriate after all, but at least people have stopped asking me that question after the fact.

So when the female acquaintance became pregnant, I asked her if that’s what she wanted, or if she wanted an alternative. She seemed taken aback, but I explained that the road ahead was a one-way street, and she would not be able to turn back, years later. She politely declined my offer, saying that she had reconciled herself to having children after all, and we said no more about it.

Years later, mother to several children, now she is contemplating divorce. She has a difficult life ahead as a single mother.

I wonder if she remembers our conversation, and wishes now that she had made a different decision then, when I gave her an alternative.

It’s too late now to take the road not taken.

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