Gordon’s girlfriend Rosemary tells him she’s pregnant. She offers to get rid of the baby. Her co-worker knows of a doctor who’ll do this for five pounds, knows people who’ve been there. Gordon’s instinctual reaction, however, is, “Whatever happens we’re not going to do that. It’s disgusting!”
That evening he goes to a public library. He had some vague ideas about pregnancy, but he wants to know what’s really going on inside Rosemary. As he looks at diagrams in a book—a human developing, at nine weeks, and at six weeks.
He pored for a long time over the two pictures. Their ugliness made them more credible and therefore more moving. His baby had seemed real to him from the moment when Rosemary spoke of abortion; but it had been a reality without visual shape—something that happened in the dark and was only important after it had happened. But here was the actual process taking place. Here was the poor ugly thing, no bigger than a gooseberry, that he had created by his heedless act. Its future, its continued existence perhaps, depended on him.
Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936), by George Orwell
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