Being a teacher did not come easily to me.
Until I came to the school, the borders of my world were always small… and strange. My life had been the circus. How could I, who knew so little, teach anything to others? Yet Professor Xavier told me that my aid was much needed, as more students came. He said that I would learn as I taught, and that he and the other teachers would help me.
Sometimes, at first, I felt I was more a burden than a help. The others spent so much time preparing lessons for me, it might have been easier to teach the classes themselves—but slowly, I did learn. Soon I began to have ideas of my own about what I wanted to teach, and how.
One day, at breakfast, I was speaking of such things to the Professor.
He was always a man who listened very closely, but this morning, his attention wandered many times. His eyes would become distant and he would turn his head, as if drawn to another conversation in the dining room. This was not like him. He did not need his ears to tell him if something was unwell; he would have known in his mind if his concern was needed anywhere else in the school.
When I asked a question and he did not answer, I spoke of this at last. "Professor? Is something wrong?"
He raised a hand to quiet me. "I’m not sure…"
His gaze passed slowly over the entire room, falling at last upon a blonde-haired girl of seventeen whose name was Lydia. She had come to the school not long after myself. I had never seen her smile, and I came to understand that she resented being a mutant. She rebelled against the teachers, drove away the students who tried to befriend her, and often went away by herself for a day or more. Whatever was her power, I did not know, for she never used it.
Puzzled by the Professor’s scrutiny, I looked at Lydia. She was eating her breakfast alone, as she did each day. Her loneliness saddened me as always, but I saw nothing out of the ordinary.
"This is going to be trouble," the Professor murmured.
With that he shook his head, and turned back to the lesson plan I had written. He did not explain his words, and I did not ask.
My mind was soon filled with my own plans for the day, and the matter slipped out of my mind—until that evening, after supper. While I was looking for Ororo, to invite her to play a game of chess with me, I passed by the Professor’s office. As I drew close, I could hear a girl’s angry voice raised within, and I recognized it as Lydia’s. I did not wish to pry, so I hurried past the door, without listening.
The next morning, the crisis came very suddenly.
Lydia left the school. It happened quickly and noisily, with much stomping on the stairs and slamming of doors. She carried her bags to a waiting taxi, got in, and drove away.
Everyone saw the spectacle, but no one seemed curious as I was. The way Lydia always behaved, perhaps it was not to be wondered at that she should leave. Yet I remembered the things I had seen and heard the day before, and I was troubled.
In the afternoon, I found Logan sitting on the low garden wall by the basketball court, smoking a cigar and watching the children play. He was "coaching". This was as close as he came to teaching, besides fighting lessons for a few older students who were training to be X-Men, but no one minded this so much. He did a great deal of work in other ways, and we all knew he would protect us in times of danger.
Logan was my friend, and he spared me a faint smile as I sprang up onto the wall. I sat beside him, and for a long time, we both watched the game.
It was boys against girls, and the girls were winning.
"Some day, huh?" Logan murmured at last.
He was not skilled at beginning a conversation—but he knew when someone was troubled and wished to talk. I smiled slightly and shook my head. "I don’t think it was the best of days."
"Yeah." Logan shrugged. "Just a matter of time, though."
He said this as if he knew more about what happened than I did. I frowned. "Why did Lydia leave?"
Logan let out a smoky snort, as if he was amused that I had not seen something obvious. "She left because she’s pregnant, Blue."
Astonished, I stared at him. "How do you know this?"
He shrugged. "I could smell it." Seeing my look of puzzled surprise, he made a slight face and explained, "When a woman gets pregnant, her body chemistry changes. I can tell."
"Ah," I replied dumbly, but my thoughts were racing on to what it all meant. Was it possible that one of the boys at the school was the father? I watched Bobby and Peter and the other boys chasing the ball across the basketball court, and dismissed this idea at once. Our students were much too well behaved for such a thing—and besides, Lydia had disdained them all, earning their dislike in return. Perhaps in all the times she had vanished into the city, it was to be with some unknown lover.
It was obvious that the Professor had also sensed Lydia’s condition. He would surely have been angry, but I knew he would not have driven her away because of her foolish mistake, with all its consequences. Why then had she fled the one place where she knew she would be taken care of? Where would she go now, and what would become of her child?
After a long silence, I slid down from my perch on the wall. "Excuse me."
Logan waved a hand, and there I left him, as I teleported back to the mansion.
A short series of teleportations brought me to the hallway outside the Professor’s study, and I knocked on the door. His voice promptly commanded me to come, and I stepped in. He was at his desk, and a book lay open before him, but somehow I felt that he had been thinking instead of reading.
"Good afternoon, Kurt," he said, not smiling, but kindly. "Please, sit down. What can I do for you?"
Perhaps he knew what was on my mind, and was waiting for me to speak out of politeness; perhaps he had not read my thoughts and feelings at all, and wished to hear me in my own chosen words. I had not known him long enough to be certain how these matters worked. In any case, I answered the question.
"I wanted to ask you—about Lydia," I began, hesitating slightly. "I have been worried for her. Logan told me that she is going to have a child."
The Professor smiled sadly. "I’m afraid it’s quite true. Lydia has become pregnant, by a young man she’s been visiting illicitly. One who is not a mutant."
With this final confirmation, my concerns rushed out. "Why has she left? Has she any family? Who will take care of her and the child?"
"She has a mother. Her father left some years ago. I’m afraid her home was never a happy one, so whether she will return there, I’m not certain." The Professor sighed deeply. "As for the reason she left, it’s because I told her that as long as she lived under this roof… I would not permit her to have an abortion."
A shock of horror passed through me. "She doesn’t want to have the child?"
"It’s hardly a surprise." The Professor shook his head regretfully. "Of course, now that she’s gone, I have no right to stop her. I’m truly sorry that she has refused our help… but I cannot condone the killing of an unborn child."
I was startled and amazed by the Professor’s words. I had never given thought to his feelings on the matter of abortion, but if I had, I would not have expected this. My faith was strongly against the taking of unborn life—but he had no religion that I knew of. I wondered how the moral and scientific beliefs that governed him had aligned to form this view.
Perhaps he sensed my curiosity, or perhaps he merely read it in my face. In either case, he smiled faintly and spoke to the unasked question. "You didn’t expect me to be pro-life."
I felt a blush upon my cheeks as I shook my head.
"Do you remember our conversation at breakfast yesterday?" he asked. I nodded, and he went on, "You wondered what was troubling me then. Why I was distracted. I can tell you now that it was because I had first begun to sense Lydia’s child."
As the magnitude of these words slowly dawned upon me, the Professor nodded. "Yes. Many telepaths can sense an unborn child as early as one week after conception. We understand, better than anyone, that the fetus is a unique and separate life."
His words were stunning. They were a powerful confirmation of my own beliefs. I sat in silent amazement for several moments, pondering this telepathy that could recognize the unborn as an individual. If society could be made to understand that, how many lives yet unlived could be saved?
I looked up at the Professor.
"One thing I do not understand," I said. "If you know this, why don’t you fight to save these lives? Why don’t you speak out against abortion?"
Again, he smiled sadly. "I’ve often wanted to. However, my first concern must be for the children already born who are under my care. You know very well the dangers that exist for us and for our students. I can’t take the risk of attracting public attention to this school."
Realizing the truth of this, I nodded solemnly. "I understand."
"But there are others, Kurt," the Professor added firmly. "I know several telepaths who have worked very hard to lobby against abortion—and at considerable risk, having identified themselves publicly as mutants. Unfortunately, much of society has been so far unwilling to listen, and the common view of mutants is an added hindrance to their case. But in time…" He paused, and smiled thoughtfully. "I believe the truth will be known. For all of us."
As I saw the light of hope in his eyes, I felt it too, and smiled in return.
"So do I."
© 2004 Jordanna Morgan -send feedback