Aborted Rights

“Because why?” “Patriarchy.” “Huh?” Patriarchy!” He still doesn’t understand what I’m saying. And I’m not totally sure if it’s because he genuinely can’t receive information he doesn’t want to process or because there’s some kind of language barrier or he simply can’t fathom what it is to live under a patriarchal society because he has a penis—the most important thing to have for success in such a society. I had never really gotten along with my uncle to begin with, and not just because our politics were that of white male boomer versus a quintessentially liberal white female Gen Zer. But not the kind of liberal who was so out-of-touch as to recite a hippie-dippy poem in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. As though what the world needed now was “poetry, sweet poetry.” I wasn’t even sure if “love, sweet love” had ever been a viable message either. Not when it’s so apparent that hatred—especially hatred toward women—is what has fueled those in power for so long. As though it’s a life force that sustains them. Targeting specific “sects” as scapegoats to blame for whatever happened to them as children. A time when they were likely indoctrinated with a certain “anti” philosophy by their own parents. For one must always look to the parents when it comes to blame. 

Ironically, that brings us right back to the subject of abortion. And how a child should generally not be had at all (#antinatalism). But if it “must” be, it should at least be wanted. That’s the first step to not being totally fucked up. Because, as most people can see, you’re going to get fucked up just by having this world thrust upon you. Though some would like to believe they are thrust upon it (e.g. Napoleon). I didn’t want to get into all of this with Uncle Carlo, who was only visiting this country anyway. As my father’s sole brother (among five other sisters), he was to be given the “royal treatment” every time he made the trek to America from Petrosino to visit us. That he came from a coastal Sicilian town that was expectedly beautiful with little to do apart from go to the beach didn’t do much for something like exuding “broad cultural horizons.” And maybe schlepping to the U.S. only added to his myopic view these days. For it was a country that had become far more ass-backwards than Italy. Who would have ever thought? A place as staunchly Catholic as that has a more neoteric view of women. 

In any case, Uncle Carlo’s visits had always felt a little too frequent to me. As far back as I could remember, he had been staying with us every summer. A season he considered to be from May until September, as opposed to June through August. Much to my dismay, particularly when I was still in high school (I’ve moved on to college now) and wanted to invite friends over to swim—friends that he would only end up ogling unabashedly. Why must every man who is an uncle be so especially gross? Is it like an unspoken prerequisite? I didn’t dare to ask, instead opting to just keep my friends away entirely once I saw the extent of his creepoid vibe. And yet, creeps tend to be the most pro-choice. None of them want to deal with a spawn that might interrupt the main focus of their creeping. Why do you think Humbert Humbert was so turned off when he realized Lolita was on the path to having a child of her own? Not just because it meant she was no longer “prime nymphet” age, but because it meant he would never have her full attention again. She would now “belong” to her “loin fruit.” And no creep wanted to share. 

Anyway, I had falsely suspected Uncle Carlo kept coming back all the time because he wanted to get a taste of the “good life” that America was supposed to offer. Because the biggest lie ever sold was that America was at any point deemable as “First World.” Sure, it had the sheen brought on by its many-splendored “amenities” for a few decades after the post-war “boom.” But not only were these “bells and whistles” (A/C, boat-sized cars, McMansions, etc.) limited to the rich now (sorry middle-class nothings presently relegated among the poor), they were also becoming less and less captivating as a reason to justify the nation’s grotesque excess. Accessible to a proverbial one percent while everyone else was left in the Amazon warehouse, so to speak. So maybe that’s part of the reason for this about-face attitude toward fully embracing gulag conditions in our nation. When everything is shitty and depressing already, that’s usually when the government seeks to kick you when you’re down. Especially as a woman. The forever “easy target.” 

I guess I could count myself among the “lucky.” I lived in a state that would not be “affected” by the Supreme Court overturning. And yes, to call this court “Supreme” or even bother to capitalize the letter seemed absurd. Just among one of the many absurdities of being “just a girl” in a patriarchal society that was so afraid of losing power over women that they would go to this length to subjugate in “modern times.” But times had never been modern, not really. There had only ever been a “veneer” of progressiveness with that brief flare-up of rebellion in the 60s and early 70s that seemed to be so much for the patriarchy to bear that they’ve had to do their best to suppress us ever since. 

Again, I don’t bother trying to get into any of this with Uncle Carlo as he puts his hand on my thigh and starts rubbing it up and down. That’s how the slippery slope starts. A small act that leads to a floodgate of wrongness. No one is home today, and I made the mistake of coming back from college for the summer. It’s just the two of us, and he’s been pouring drinks like he’s a sailor on leave rather than someone merely on vacation. I can see where this is going. But I guess I should just consider myself “lucky” that I live in a state where I can still get an abortion. And not a state that wouldn’t even count incest rape as a reason to abort. That’s what I repeat internally as he thrusts inside of me, pinning me down after I said that Roe v. Wade was overturned because of the patriarchy. “I’ll show you some patriarchy,” he growl-whispered, suddenly more fluent in English than I had ever known him to be. 

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