There are some other bits to the whole miscarriage experience that put a lot of other things into perspective.

One of them is just that Nata knew I was pregnant. I found out I was pregnant when I was with her. I had missed a period and I told her and so we hunted around for one of those home pregnancy tests. It seems to me we didn’t need to go out and buy one, that someone had one lying around. I’m not sure about that, but it seems that way, and it makes a certain kind of sense. That if you are living in what is essential a brothel of maybe 20 or 25 women, there is always someone or other who is having a pregnancy scare and pregnancy tests are kind of like cold medicine or aspirin. You are just going to keep them around, because someone is going to need it.

I remember her reaction: she was ecstatic. That was the first, immediate reaction. And then it was like, “Oh, fuck.” Because my situation was, in some ways, even worse than hers. It was better in some ways—I got to go to school; I had access to a wider world.

But it was worse in other ways. I had two nightmares to deal with and not just one. I had Yuri and I had my dad, and neither psychopath could entirely be predicted, except they meant the life I had to give a child was not going to be good. It was going to be nothing short of hell, in fact. There was no real way around this.

I remember talking about this with her, but not coming to any particular conclusion about it. Then it was time to go and it was very soon after that that she died. It may have been the next time I actually saw her, or the time after that.

She made me write my proper name in English and my address and some other details, and that came in between the pregnancy discovery and her death, but I don’t know when that was. It might have been the same day she found out about it. It might have been the next time I saw her, and then the time after that, she died. But it all happened very quickly.

It puts her death in a different light, because she wasn’t just thinking about me when she decided to tell something to the authorities. She was thinking about a baby that was going to grow inside my body. I was her family, and this baby was going to be her family, and this was the part she could help us with. My pregnancy made it all feel incredibly urgent. She wanted to protect me, but nothing new or different or worse was going to happen to me in a year from then. She could put off taking that kind of desperate action for quite some time. She could be indecisive or just reluctant to act, but a pregnancy has a time limit to it. You cannot just keep putting things off.

I know that there was also an element of luck involved in this: she didn’t head down to the police station. I don’t know that. I have no way of knowing that. But I feel certain of it anyway. I don’t think she would have even known where it was. I didn’t.

Anyway, someone came. Someone came asking questions and she had an idea that they would come—officers had been coming from time to time, doing this, because there had been so many murders of prostitutes that year—and this time she was prepared. She had a plan. She was going to try to save her family. It left a lot up to me—I still had my dad to contend with—but she did what she could.

She didn’t tell me because I wouldn’t have let her do what she did, because I didn’t quite have her strength and I couldn’t have let her take the risk she was taking. But I can see now that our relationship didn’t stop being a partnership: we both had roles to play. We both had our share of responsibilities. She was protecting me, but she was also being a parent. She had no way of knowing the baby was just going to die, that nothing was actually going to come of the whole thing, and so she was protecting a child she perceived as being ours.