Thursday, January 21, 2010
St. Ignatius brought the world of meditation to a sphere the common man could easily understand. As the Society of Jesus embraced all from military commanders and scientists to theologians and farmers, it was vital to have a universally accessible discipline. Merging contemplation and action, the romantic and practical saint taught his followers to place themselves at the scene of the Scriptural moment they were pondering. Reconstructing the atmosphere and visualizing the historical personages fuelled his disciples for the mission he intended.

Here is an attempt at such a contemplation, based on fact, written for the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Perhaps Western feminists might meditate on how fully they have secured their right to license, and ignored other women’s right to love. Note well, this is not intended for young readers.
* * *
Beyond the rolling, lush hills in southern China , the sky was tinged with the grey of the coming dawn. Life everywhere began unfolding her limbs and opening them to the herald of the sun. Yet, Bi-An's eyes did not open. They had never closed. She sat upright on the wooden floor, her legs bent beneath her and her abdomen swollen over her lap. Hua was seven months old, and tonight she was oddly calm in her mother's womb. Can she feel my unease? Does she know what news I am waiting for? Bi-An encircled the orb and centre of her life with her slender arms and lowly sang: 'Yao yah yao, yao yah yao, bao bao huai jung shuay, yao ni jang da, yo liao sheewang, bao bao kuai jang da, bao bao kuai jang da, yes. Sleep until you are big and strong, my sweet Hua.'

A heavy thump sounded outside, and An blanched at its fall. There were more--low, tired, and regular. These were the steps of one tired man, not of the police. But was her husband fatigued merely due to the hour? Forgive me for not waiting, Hua. I would never have even kissed him, if I had thought of your danger. Bing-Sun's steps came closer, and she could neither make out a cadence of doom nor impending joy.
Two months had he been husband, and two months had she been twenty. Waiting for the lawful age of marriage, the engaged couple had faltered, and now their child's fate was being weighed on iron scales. What difference does the licence make? It will still only be one baby! she pleaded within herself with the tearful earnestness that she knew Sun could not have shown to the officials in asking them to spare his daughter. At last the door opened. Bi-An rose from her knees, her slender frame hobbling a little under Hua's weight. Not taking her dark eyes from the floor, she well nigh crawled to her husband, until she could place her hand on his heart.

The smell of kaoliang spirits emanated from him in every place but his mouth. He brushed a strand of her smooth, ebon hair away from her face, and she brought her eyes to his. Lined and red, his brown orbs were watering worrisomely. 'We may keep the baby.'

An said nothing, before her husband continued. 'The fine will be 10,000 Yuan. She is expensive already.' Tears trailed down her skin of golden pearl, as she rested her head against Sun's shoulder. 'It being only one child after all,' she whispered, 'It's taken a great many cajoling dinners to secure her.' 'Yes, yes,' Sun agreed, as he held her. Querulous murmurs continued to gurgle from their lips, as they let the petty, little weights of their efforts comfortingly pull their feet to earth, out of a dream too good to be true.
* * *
An glanced at the clock. It could be any moment or any day now. She put a hand to the aching small of her back, and rested the other on her stomach. Why was Sun taking so long getting home? Of course, the traffic would be dense and monstrous at this time, but she quivered with the ticking hands of the clock waiting for him. Hua stretched in her womb, and An smilingly watched the protuberance the little feet made through her pale blue dress.

She was experimenting with tickling them, when a sharp chill swept about her own feet. An jerked her head like a startled deer. Had she not closed the door to the garden?

The young mother slowly wobbled to the door so many leagues away. Perhaps in a few days, I will leap with Hua in my arms through the flowers, and while she smiled at that thought, the burst came. Bi-An stood erect, as the fluid rushed down her legs. Hua was coming. Two streams of like waters flowed from An’s eyes. The baby was coming; soon she would be safe completely. There was the sound of a car pulling up outside. An hastily scampered to the door to meet Sun, and she threw it open. The cold of autumn swept all the summer from her heart when she saw ten officials of the family planning ministry of the county standing before her.

'Bi-An, lately married to Bing-Sun?' one man inquired with sickening banality of manner.

'Not so “lately,”' she managed to breathe.

'Too late, for a lawfully conceived baby to be that big,' one said with a jeer. An stumbled back into the house, unable to shut the door. 'We paid the fine,' she breathed.

'Your lover did think his wining and dining could yield an exemption for his slut, didn't he?'

The banal man began again. ‘Pregnancy before marriage is illegal, whatever you've been assured. Will you accompany us willingly or no?’

‘My water is broken,’ An said, trying to still her heart, lest her fear would touch Hua.
Two taller men stepped forward and grabbed her arms. The world tilted as they slowly dragged her to the door. She couldn’t breathe or speak in the frigid air whipping about her, until she saw the black of a van’s interior yawning before her.

‘No!’ she screamed, jerking her body backward, ‘This is illegal. You cannot force women to do this anymore!’

A slap landed viciously on her smooth cheek, sparking stars in her eyes as they shoved her into the vehicle. She bent over her swollen womb, alone in the dark, with the metallic taste of her own blood on her full, curved lips.
* * *
Another of her jerks and the official let the mother fall to the floor. An gasped at the pain in her elbow, but managed to rise to her knees.

‘Please, please, I have named her!’ she wept pressing her palms together, ‘Her name is Hua, please let me keep her!’ The desperate woman bowed to the floor, her hair falling in black ribbons around the upraised, supplicating arms, shivering on the clinic’s cold tiles.

Four hands clamped around her slender, delicate wrists and yanked her upwards. ‘No, I shall not let you,’ she screamed, limply refusing to rise to her feet. Another backhand left an ugly blotch of red on her olive skin, yet she hung like a rag on the floor. Two more males grabbed her legs, and at the last she found herself on the table. ‘No!’ she wailed, kicking and flailing about. Yet, heavy straps were drawn about her arms, pinning her torso to the table.

She jerked her head and shoulders about, an invisible hand grabbed her hair yanked her head back. Cruel, white light overpowered her vision as she felt several men take hold of her legs. ‘No, no, no, stop it!’ she screamed, as they spread her limbs apart. Then a tug came from within; Hua was moving.

‘Oh, God! Let her out, she wants to breathe,’ Bi-An screamed as she tried to kick back with her legs. No one spoke; there was just the circle of merciless light above her when she felt the trousers under her dress being torn and her womanhood being exposed. ‘God!’ she shrieked, kicking more violently, and then the pain erupted.

It was not the pain of rape, but the violation came all the same. The syringe entered, but all she beheld was the white sanitary light above her. She could not see, but she could feel the barbarism enacted below. ‘Stop, for God’s sake, stop!’ she screamed, coughing up all the air in her lungs, as she struggled against the stifling arms. The agony ripped all through her, cutting her, and never again would Sun’s physical love please her body. There was more pain, and never again would a child generate in her womb .

‘Leave Hua for me,’ she gasped as her voice died. Then she felt the rush of the injection and an explosion within her uterus. She sensed Hua struggling within, kicking, flailing, clutching at the fabric of her mother’s protecting womb, looking for protection against the fluid burning her inside and out. An’s eyes rolled back, and she could no longer vocalize her pleas. Instead, harsh, gasping, screams erupted without ceasing from her throat. Adrenaline flowed futilely through her restrained arms, and more men clutched at her kicking legs. Two hands still grasped her hair as she spasmodically tried to raise her head. She could almost see Hua's kicking through her flesh as she glanced down at her belly.

‘Hua!’ she cried one last time, then the fighting stopped. Bi-An drooped, sweating and gasping, against the table. Another person in the room also went still, floating in her little bed. The restraints fell from the mother's arms, and her bruised legs were relinquished. Her womanliness ached, as she put a trembling hand to her stomach. ‘Hua?” she rasped. Could she have survived? Might she be sleeping as she did on so many of those quiet afternoons at the end of summer?

‘The father has been on the phone non-stop with Chung,’ she heard a voice say. It came to her gargled and odd in the white, blurry distance, ‘he’s frantically searching for his wife.’

‘Let him worry. It’ll likely be another two days before we can use the forceps.' A dry witted chuckle followed: 'He’ll be on time for his daughter’s delivery, though.’
Bi-An felt herself drifting, perhaps she and Hua were on a river somewhere that would float them away together. But the glaring light above her eyes was blocked by the head of an old man, scowling at Bi-An. ‘I take it your lesson is learned?’


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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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