Holding her daughter’s hand. Paralyzed with fear, invaded by memories.
Seventeen years ago she was standing in a waiting room, similar to the one they were in now. Or maybe the tiles were just a little bit cleaner. She too was judging the women around her, she too was afraid of death and compromise. But she had to do it, her career was depending on her and also… also she didn’t want to be shackled inside the house by her husband. He wanted a child for all the wrong reasons in the world. He wanted her to be his prisoner, chained only to his wishes, never to be able to look around her and observe other people’s lives. She would have known otherwise. She would have known that the monster she married is just that…a monster. And she would have left. It was her or the baby growing inside of her. It was her life versus its.
Entering that cold, unwelcoming room was the hardest thing she had ever done. The doctor took her hand into his and reassured her it was going to be quick. “Quick and illegal, so you have to keep your mouth shut.” he said changing his compassionate expression into a threatening one. She shook her head, letting him know she understood. She knew she couldn’t say a word about that day. Her life would be over, her career would finish in an instant.
Lying on her back, legs spread, eyes shut, she could feel his every invasion. The doctor’s tools were cold, his touch ungentle. The life inside her started to fight, at least that’s what she imagined because of the sudden stomach pains. The nurse turned her head facing her:
“When the doctor will begin you will have to repeat to me your name and age during the procedure. It is a safety measure and it keeps your mind off the pain. Do you understand?
I do. I am twenty two years old. My name is…
Not now honey. He hasn’t started yet. He is just checking you right now. You will know when the procedure begins.
But the pains. What about the severe pains I am feeling? Are they in my head?
Most probably, said the nurse smiling a cold smile. Every woman who feels forced to do this has pains prior the intervention. Relax, I will be here with you the whole time.”
She wanted to think that the nurse was indeed friendly and understanding, but her icy eyes gave it away. The nurse judged her, she knew that, she felt that. So what? The nurse didn’t have her life. The nurse didn’t know about the beatings she was welcomed with at home; about all the lonely nights spent hidden in the bathtub so that he couldn’t touch her. The nurse didn’t know…
The doctor looked at her file one more time.
“Are you ready?
No, she whispered. Yes! No…Yes, yes, I am sorry. I am just nervous. I thought I was a different person.
You can’t change your mind after this, so I will ask you one last time. Are you ready?
I am. I need my career more than this right now.
What career honey? What do you do?, he asked intrigued, opening her file again. Wait a second! I can’t do this! Get off my table! Do you realize what would happen to me if they would find out I did this to a professional athlete? Prison would be a joy after this! No, I am sorry, I can’t!”
The turn of events shocked her even more than the act itself. She had to have a choice! She just had to! Her life needed to belong to her, not to some doctor that wasn’t able to handle the situation, or a husband that wasn’t able to love her anymore, or to a child that she desperately wanted out of her body. While walking the walk of shame on the hallway of the hospital, feeling the other women’s confused looks on her back, she remembered how they fell in love. Their plans of having a family, their trust in one another. They were the perfect couple… until they got married. He started being jealous out of nowhere, threatening his and her life if she would dare to live him, threatening their future, her career. That’s all she had. Running every day for a job made her feel normal, made her feel like she belonged somewhere. And now everything was about to end. Everything was about to be stained with his genes and his hate who will mark the newborn’s character.
She wanted a boy. She needed to have a boy. No other woman was able to survive his rage. He was so kind and sweet at times, but then again the last six months since he found out she was pregnant he knew he was winning the war. He knew she will be imprisoned to him for life and the baby was to be her shackles. She wished she could have had a way to find out the sex of the baby sooner. It had to be a boy. The creature’s strong kicks from within her and his fighting for survival even when his father was dragging his bearing body all over the house. “He must be a boy, he should, he has to, I need it to be a boy.”
There wasn’t much time left. Two more days and she could look into the creature’s eyes, which she had come to love. She forced herself to love it and not see it as some sort of failure in her life. That new, unwanted life was her only ally in this world. She had been slowly deserted by everyone she loved and loved her back. He knew how to do that well, pretend to be a good friend, amazing husband, telling everyone she needs rest, she needs to be left alone for a while, she only needs him.
The labor pains started torturing her body and she began to concentrate on her hate. Only her hate towards him could get her through this and even if she was giving birth to his heir against her wishes, she was going to leave him. She will raise that baby away from him, having to fight only with his genes but not with his influence.
Three hours later she was holding a beautiful baby girl in her arms. The boy she wished for was just another proof that her life was never about her wishes but about her pain of never having what she desires. She caressed the little girl’s fingers with her own and spoke to her for the first time:
“Clara. Your name is going to be Clara and I will protect you from my mistakes. I will protect you from yourself when you need to. Clara, my sweet little boy.”
Holding her daughter’s hand. Paralyzed with fear. Holding her daughter’s hand. Sensing her fear.
“I know you are scared”, said the woman, “but this is for the best. You know that right? Don’t look at them, they are not you. They don’t have your story.”
“They don’t have our story.”, she thought for herself squeezing Clara’s hand as hard as she could. She did fail. She failed to protect her daughter from herself. Her fear of Clara not becoming her father never let her see that her daughter was in danger of becoming her. She did fail. But this time she will prevail. The creature will die and the row of mistakes will die with it. She was going to win the war, she was going to be a hero. This time she will prevail.