‘I am a sales assistant in a clothes shop. It is a job that I like, because it lets me build relationships with our customers. One woman, in particular, would come often. She would buy clothes for her daughter in Australia. She would get me to try them on as she said I looked like her daughter. She would talk to me about her and she told me many confidential things.
‘One day, as usual, I saw her arrive, but I realized immediately by her face that something was different. She looked sad, exhausted. She had come to talk to me. She had found out that her daughter in Australia was in relationship with a man much older than her. Both she and her husband wanted her daughter to come back home, but just a few day before, on the phone, she had told them she was pregnant and wanted an abortion. The woman was confused, angry, full of hard feelings. She thought, all the same, that getting rid of the child was the only possible solution. Basically she hoped that sooner or later her daughter would come back.
Up to that point I had always tried to fit in with her and what she wanted – after all she was the customer. But in that moment I felt very strongly that I had to say what I really thought. I wanted to help her in some practical way, not only to share her burden with her. I asked her for the phone number of her daughter. I had decided to try talking with her. I prayed that I might find the right words. To my surprise she was happy to speak with me! She told me she wanted to have an abortion but she hoped she would die as well. The burden of the pain for her family was too great after all her parents had done for her. But in the midst of all that pain I sensed a tiny light of hope, at the same time as a sincere sorrow for having made her parents suffer. I then spoke to her mother, explaining that her daughter was sorry and wanted to start again.
‘After that I actually met the daughter and her boyfriend. They did not have an abortion, and in fact they wanted to get married so as to give the baby a family. The future grandparents could not thank you enough.’
An excerpt from Una buona notizia. Gente che crede gente che muove (Città Nuova: Rome, 2012)