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Jun 02, 2020 5:18 AM
Imrainai in Gilead
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"You look sad."

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She stops listlessly hand-washing dishes in the sink.

"...I don't think I can do this."

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"Everyone is scared, their first Ceremony. It's okay. You can get through it."

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Better take a deep breath and get this over with.

"No, I mean - I mean - I mean I think that surrogacy is wrong, and that forcing people into surrogacy is even more wrong, and that - that bowing to pressure to willingly defy God, even at peril of one's freedom, even at peril of one's life, is - there is a reason the early Church was so inspired by the stories of young women who refused to deny their faith and bear the children of Roman officials, even when it cost them their lives. And I just - maybe I've gotten it all mixed up and I'm inventing reasons why I shouldn't have to do any of this, but - I'm afraid of the ceremony, yes, and I'm more afraid of prison. But I'm even more afraid of being complicit in sin."

Good! Good. Now she just has to wait for the internal screaming to stop.

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"Have you been doing your Bible study to help you understand why surrogacy is God's plan for us?"

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"Oh yeah! Totally. I just think you're - uh - wrong."

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"I do believe that surrogacy is God's plan for fertile and unmarried women, but I don't want to force you to do something that goes against the stirrings of your conscience... I can't imagine that would be helpful to your rehabilitation."

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That sounds better than immediately getting sent to prison and having to do it anyway!

"Oh. So. Uh. Then what?"

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"I'll ask Serena to delay the Ceremony a few months, so you have more time to listen to what God is calling you in your heart to do."

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"Thank you," she says, because hey, a few more months to put off going to prison. A very upset Serena Joy is plausibly as bad as prison, but she doesn't have the authority to force her to have children without her husband's approval, probably, so that's cool. "And - if in a few months I still think he's calling me towards something you think is wrong?"

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"Do you believe you are called to celibacy or to children within marriage?"

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"Probably the second one. Under the circumstances."

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"Perhaps we can introduce you to some likely young men."

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Oh, man, this is gonna be a thing -

- but if she's married that's fine, right, they're going to make her have children either way, and at least this way she won't be doing anything wrong, right? 

"OK. I'm.... sorry about not being able to solve your problem."

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"You'll have to work hard on becoming rehabilitated fast."

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That gets at least a little smile. "I'll do my best to figure out the truth, then."

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"Keturah?"

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"Yes?"

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"I promise you we will work this out somehow and I will not force you to do something that's against God's will for your life."

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"Thank you, sir. That's... really good to know."

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Fred leaves. 

When he's gone, Nick appears, backs Keturah against the wall, and says, "I know your secret."

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"Oh," she asks, because most of her brain is trying to calculate exactly how concerned by this she should be, and that doesn't leave a lot left over for making words. "Well, uh, can you tell me so then we can both know?"

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"You love me."

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"Wh- "

She hasn't actually thought about that, though, maybe she should consult herself on this before saying anything definite. Hm. She kind of wants to punch him, but is pretty sure that would be a gross overreaction. Also she's trembling. That sounds like maybe not relevantly love.

"Well - I mean I try to love everyone."

And the award to stupidest comeback goes to Keturah Teller, Kentucky native, recently of Boston. We're all very glad that she has this one thing going for her.

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"Sure."

He pulls away to let her leave.

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