The heat in the room was too much, and she turned the small fan by her bedside on, putting it to rotate as she walked all around picking up the discarded clothes. She wore her standard work outfit, fitted skirt that hit just above the knees, a colorful butterfly print blouse, and her hair short and swingy in a neat bob completed the ensemble. Her shoes were her only impracticality: they were sky high, strappy colorful wedges that matched the colors on her shirt. She teetered in them, but she wore them proudly. Outside, her two children ran around playing and screaming, and as she stepped out from the relative calm of her bedroom, she faced the war zone that her children had created. Two boys with energy to spare, throwing punches and pretending to fight like the professionals they loved to watch with their father.
Speaking of their father, it seemed he had thoughtfully left some food for her before heading in to work. He was gone at least an hour, judging from the sweat beads on the once cold orange juice glass, and at the stove he had tried to leave her some scrambled eggs, and the once runny, stringy cheese had congealed. She sighed and tried to ignore the noisy boys as she took a sip of warm juice, a bite of cold eggs and nibbled on an untoasted slice of white bread.
She stood as she did all this, despairing slightly at the sight of the dishes piled high in the sink, and the toys strewn about the small living room. Her lips curved however, when she saw both her boys take a tumble, and her normal tendency to shush them, keep them quiet, was gone. Instead, she smiled wider as she realized that in that moment, she was in her home, with her children, and after the turmoil and disasters of the years before, she was truly home.
She had been in agony for over a day, and the tightening bands of pain around her lower back and belly had been incessant. The screams from earlier in the day had been reduced to whimpers, and as tired as she was, for the past who knows how long, she kept trying to push.
Her sweating, tired face scrunched up with effort, and she kept trying to follow the doctor’s orders. There was a nurse nearby, and her aunt kept trying to comfort her when the pain subsided slightly. There was no-one else. The father of the oncoming child had left her a few months after she found out that she was pregnant.
Alone, exhausted, in pain that went beyond anything she had imagined, the fifteen-year-old struggled to bring out the child that so obviously wanted to come out. In that moment, she could only think of surviving.
The doctors finally gave in, and she was prepared for the operating room.
She saw her aunt’s worried face for a few seconds, before everything went blank.
When she came to, there was a tiny squalling bundle next to her, and her entire life had changed. The pain had subsided, only a dull ache remained. Her mother stood at the door, her face had changed from bitter and accusatory. Now there were tears in her eyes, and they ran down freely on the face of a grandmother who had realized she had to overlook the mistakes of her daughter, and embrace the new life that now lay next to her fifteen-year-old – a mother herself.
She remained with her aunt, sleeping in her cousin’s old room, given to her after she moved in with her burgeoning belly and nowhere else to go. Her mother had been so vocal about her disapproval, there was hardly any living to do home. Worried about the health of the baby, seeing as it was surrounded by tension and anxiety, she had moved in with the only person who had given her some love and attention since the shocking news. Her cousins had embraced her, and as the months passed, she spoke a few times to the father of the baby. He had promised to give her money, and surprisingly, he kept his promise, even working on paying for the hospital stay. He too had been working since he was legally able to.
There was no shortage of visits the first few weeks, but as the novelty of the baby wore off, she found herself alone more often than not. Friends who had been there to have fun before her baby, now found themselves swamped with school work, chores, sudden ‘things’ to do. She was alone in this difficult journey, with a baby who cried as often as he giggled. Often she found herself rocking the screaming baby with tears in her eyes, joining in at the peak of his screams with her own sobs. She had no idea what was next; she was terrified of the future…
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