I was a teen-ager, so completely uninformed, that I didn't really quite understand how sexual acts were performed. I was a teen-ager with such a crush on an older fellow (A WWII Vet of 28) that I allowed him to do whatever he wanted with me, which hurt a heckuva lot, caused much bleeding and kept him coming to the door. And, of course, I got pregnant. Telling parents was out of the question. Nothing to do but find a way out, ask the right people the right questions, get my older sister to fork up some money, all of which meant --quite literally -- a back-alley abortion.
Inside Boston's Beacon Hill, the streets wind dark and narrow, the houses are ancient. Some are mansions with priceless lavender glass windows dating from the eighteenth century, some are ready to fall down upon themselves, and some appear to have already begun to do so. It is to one of the latter to which I am directed.
A small, dark, foreign-looking man in a business suit answers my knock. "You wait here," he says, and leaves me in a little room with a day-bed kind of couch, covered in dark cordory and occupied by a very large grey cat. There is a saucer of milk on the window sill for the cat, who pays no attention to me at all.
Then, the man comes for me and we go to another room, painted in a dark cream color and outfitted minimally with an examination table, a cabinet and a sterilization tray complete with shiny, lethal-looking instruments. Waiting for me at the foot of the table is a short, squat, bald-headed man wearing surgical scrubs and mask. From behind the mask, he says, "OK, now don't be scared. I'm Dr. A, and t his will be over for you very quickly. It will be painful, because I am not going to anaesthetize you, that is not what we do in these situations. You will have to bear with me, follow all directions and remain quiet, evern when it hurts. Are you ready?"