“Hi,” I say as Mr N slides into the booth.
“Hi, Samantha,” he responds.
“I’m going to need you to turn off your mobile phone,” I say as he places the device on the table.
“Why? Do you have something to hide?” he asks. Then he snorts. I do not respond and instead calmly take a sip of my coffee. We sit like this for a couple of minutes until he finally reaches for his phone and turns it off.
“OK. No recording devices. Speak,” he says.
“First of all I want you to know that this was not a plan,” I say. “I got angry because you thought you could just walk away. This is OUR baby.”
He looks unconvinced.
“I’m confused. You want to keep the baby?” he asks. “Or you want me to pay you to have an abortion?”
“I wanted to keep the baby. I thought it was a possibility but now… Now I just want the money,” I say.
“You say you want an abortion. Then you say you’ve changed your mind. Now you’re saying you want an abortion, again,” he states. “Forgive me if I don’t take you seriously.”
“We can go right now for the procedure – if you give me the million I asked for,” I say.
“You see - that’s where I’m unclear. You say this was never a plan yet you are shaking me down for money AND accusing me of rape!!!!” he says.
“I was angry. You wouldn’t take my calls,” I say sounding defensive.
“The fact that a woman would tell a lie about something so serious that many fellow women go through everyday just goes to show what kind of a person you are,” he spits out.
The guilt is returning. Many women that are raped will be forever be doubted because of people like me. Stay strong Samantha.
“F**k you. Don’t try and make me the bad guy when you told me I was on my own,” I say.
“So my being an asshole somehow justifies being falsely accused of rape?” he asks.
Oh crap. He is right. I was trying to kill a mosquito with a shotgun. Rape? What the hell is wrong with me? It must be all those stupid dreams I’ve been having.
“I will make it go away. I will call my boss and tell him it was an April Fools Day joke,” I offer.
“And this foolishness with the money?” he asks.
Crap, the money. I’m at crossroads. I remember a poem that I performed in high school called The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I’m sitting in Java with a choice of ending this deceit or pushing forward until Mr N pays up. To blackmail or not to blackmail, that is the question?
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same
Each road has an advantage. On one, I’ll be rich. If I take the other, my conscience will be clear.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
If I don’t blackmail him, I can always make a million bob another way, but it is unlikely that I will have the opportunity to do so. If I do blackmail him, it will open a Pandora’s box on my future. It means this is who I am. It will snowball into other things. Once that moral compass is broken, how will I ever find my way back?
Which road do I take?