Sarah’s knees pounded on the bedroom carpet. She curled over and clutched her stomach in agony. Sarah was 16-years old and pregnant. Her moans echoed throughout her empty home. She did not know what to do, but she knew she had to leave the house before her father returned.
Sarah lived alone with her father. Her mother had suddenly passed away when she was only 9 years old. Sarah was the only child. After her mother’s death, her father became a different man. The caring and loving father she once knew had transformed into a bitter and distant man. Their relationship was cold and tense. Sarah felt as if she lost both her parents when after her mother died.
Sarah’s father worked a lot. He rarely made time for Sarah and, when he did, there was constant friction between them. As Sarah entered high school, she began drinking heavily with her friends. She longed to feel a part of something and found that bond with her friends. One night, while her father worked a night shift, Sarah stayed out all night. She went to a party and got drunk. Sarah ended up going home with a guy she just met at the party. She was vulnerable and he took advantage of it. It was not until the next morning that she had realized that she had went too far. She was ashamed.
She did not tell anyone about what happened. However, just a month later, she started feeling ill. She hoped she was not pregnant, but after another month, she knew. She was terrified. She feared that her peers would reject her. However, her greatest fear was of her father. They already had a turbulent relationship; this would probably end it altogether.
She knew she could not keep the child, yet she also knew she could not abort it. She hoped she was wrong about the pregnancy but, as the months passed, it was obvious to her. Although she had a petite figure, she did not gain that much weight. She also began to dress in larger clothing so her baby bump was not noticeable.
“What do I do?” she gasped. She gripped onto her wood bedpost and pulled herself to a halfway standing position. She crept toward the door. She had never felt such pain before. Tears were flowing down her youthful face. She had no car and had nobody to call. “I can’t call an ambulance, my dad will know,” she thought. All she knew was that she had to get out of their house before her father arrived. She began to stagger outside her gate and hobble down the back streets of their neighborhood. She was scared and in pain.
Several blocks down the road she collapsed. The pain became unbearable and she began to fill an urge to push. She hunched over and shrieked. A blue van slowed down. The window squeaked and a man’s face appeared. “Miss, are you okay” he asked. Sarah groaned. The man parked his van and ran to Sarah. “What is wrong Miss?” the man asked. Just then, the man noticed Sarah holding her stomach. “Oh no, uh…” the man stuttered as he lifted her up. He swiftly placed her in the passenger seat and put his emergency lights on. Sarah was oblivious as to where she was or whom she was with—she just wanted the pain to stop. Suddenly, the man opened the side door and carried her out. He dashed to the entrance of an emergency room. “Help, I think this girl is going to have a baby,” he cried.
Sarah’s eyes were pried shut—the pain was excruciating. “It’s coming out!” she roared. The nurses propelled her into a room and disrobed her. The doctor rushed in and stretched out his plastic gloves. Sarah grunted and pushed with all her strength. Suddenly, she heard a soft cry. “It’s a boy,” the Dr. announced. Sarah lifted her damp head and glimpsed at his small body. Her head fell back. The nurse wrapped him in a hospital blanket and handed him to Sarah. “Uh, no” Sarah responded and pulled away. The nurse took a step back and stuttered, “Oh . . . w-we will check the baby and be back.”
Sarah curled up on the hospital bed. She stared at the white ceiling as tears streamed down the side of her flushed face. “What is your name sweetie?” a gentle voiced asked. Sarah turned away from the voice and looked down. Sarah was scared. The nurse repeated the question, but Sarah remained silent. “How old are you?” the nurse persisted. “16. Am I in trouble?” Sarah asked. “Honey, you are not in trouble.” The nurse said. “Is the baby okay?” Sarah asked. “Yes. He is perfectly healthy. The two of you should be able to leave by tomorrow morning . . .” the nurse said. Sarah interrupted, “I can’t take the baby with me! Can you keep it or give it to someone else?” Silence filled the room. The nurse glided her soft fingers over Sarah’s face and wiped her tears. The nurse then stood up and walked out the door.
Sarah was in disbelief. She could not believe she just had a baby. She glanced at the large clock on the wall. “9:30PM!!” she exclaimed. She sat up and lunged for the phone. She cleared her throat. Her trembling fingers dialed her father’s number. “Hello?” he answered. “Hi dad, I . . . .” Sarah began. “Where are you and why have you not called?” he interrupted. Sarah began to explain that she was at her best friend, Janice’s house studying and they lost track of time. Her dad told her that he was working a double shift and was leaving back to work, but that she needed to be home as soon as possible. Sarah exhaled, in relief, and hung up.
The room began to darken, as did Sarah’s heart. Sarah tossed and turned throughout the night. She kept picturing her baby boy in the Dr’s arms. She wondered what he would be like and how he would look when he got older. She fought these thoughts. There was no use in thinking about him because there was no way he could be with her. Nobody could know about him. She knew in the end, the baby was better off with another family, one that could take care of him.
The door’s hinge interrupted her thoughts. Sarah’s head jolted toward the door. The nurse steered the baby in. “I thought you might want to see your baby,” said the nurse. Sarah froze. The nurse slipped out the door. Sarah glanced at the baby. After several minutes, she crept toward the baby and hovered above him. He was beautiful. His hair was black and he had light skin, just like Sarah. Sarah began to sob. She grazed his black hair and soft cheeks, as he slept soundly. “I-I-I am Sarah, I mean your mama,” she stuttered. “I am sorry. . . but I have to leave and can’t take you with me. I am sorry. It’s just that I am… my life is … I just can’t bring you. I’m sorry!” she cried.
Just then, he opened his small brown eyes. He stared intently into Sarah’s eyes. Their eyes locked. Sarah’s heart plunged. Sarah reluctantly pulled away and grabbed her plastic bag full of clothes from the chair nearby. Her heart pounded. She forced on her denim jeans and zipped up her oversized coat. She dashed to the door and pulled on it. She looked back for one last glance. He was looking around for her. Tears streamed down her face as she slithered to the elevator and out of the hospital. She hastened out of the hospital and to a vacant alley nearby. She fell against the brick wall in the darkness of the night. She began to weep.
Hours later, Sarah dragged herself into her house. Nobody was home. Her home was dark and empty, much like her life. She crawled onto her bed and wept. She could not get his image out of her mind. She imagined him still waiting alone in the hospital room looking and waiting for her. “How could I have done this to my baby?” she thought. The guilt began to saturate her.
The thought of her abandoning her son haunted her day after day. She isolated herself from everyone. She dropped out of school that next year. As a result, her dad kicked her out of the house. She began to live on the streets at age 17. She hungered for peace, but could not find it. Her son’s image consumed her every thought. She began to do any drug that came her way as a means to numb herself from reality. Life was worthless to her. She had no hope and depended on drugs to get her through each day.
Her life became unstable. She was constantly in jail for different drug charges. However, after a few days in jail, she would be on the streets again. She was numb to the system and to life. Nothing mattered anymore, except drugs. She had no family, no friends and no child. Soon, even her druggies had disowned her. She was unable to find anyone to give her drugs and she became desperate. As the drugs were seeping out of her body, she began to tremble. Although her body was in distress, her mind hurt her the most. She recalled her mother’s death, her distant father and her abandoned child. Her arms shivered. “I need drugs now!” she cried out. She could not live life sober. There was one problem; she had no money to buy the drugs and no access to them.
She hunted through her worn backpack and grabbed a steak knife she kept with her. Instinctively, she dashed into a nearby convenient store. Seconds after entering, she launched herself over the counter and pressed the knife against the cashier’s neck. The knife quivered. “Give me your money!” she commanded. The cashier grabbed money out of the cash register and handed it to Sarah. Sarah grabbed the money and sprinted out the door. Sarah began to run down the street. Suddenly, sirens screeched through the dark night. Just like her haunting memories, the sirens chased her through the dark. The lights grew larger and the sirens grew louder. Soon, they devoured her.
The next afternoon Sarah stood before The Honorable Harold Tate in shackles. Judge Tate scanned her previous criminal background off the computer in front of him. Judge Tate looked down on Sarah and announced the verdict: “Guilty, for the charge of robbery with a deadly weapon. I sentence you to five years in Federal prison” he declared. Sarah’s face showed no emotion, but her body shook.
Day after day, she crouched in the corner of her cold, small cell. Her body was detoxing and her mind was racing. She could not take this mental anguish. She wailed day and night. She spent most of her days lying in the corner in a fetal position. One day she heard a distinctive voice from afar. It was a man talking about hope and salvation in Jesus. She had heard about Jesus from her mother, but had never heard about it again. She leaned her frail body toward the voice.
His words were powerful. She felt something stirring within her that she had never felt before. Soon, Sarah was sitting in this same corner at 2:30PM every day to listen. Although she had never seen his face, his words pierced her heart and provided her with an unexplainable hope. She had tried everything else in life, but never Jesus. “Maybe He is the answer” she thought. One day she leaned between the cells to catch a glimpse of the man behind the voice. He was in his late 50’s and wore a black button up shirt and jeans. He held a book in his hand as he spoke to a few women nearby. Halfway through his sermon he glanced toward Sarah. He motioned to the women to hold on. He fixed his eyes on Sarah as he walked closer to her. Sarah stood still. He stood before her cell door and asked, “Would you like to join us?” “No thanks” she instinctively replied. He knelt down before her and in a gentle voice said, “I will speak louder then.” He smiled and walked back.
One day he was talking about Jesus’ gracious love and our hope of salvation. This intrigued Sarah. She was astounded that Jesus loved her so much that he died for her. The man then began to ask if anyone wanted to receive Jesus into their hearts and become a new creation. As he began to say the sinners prayer, Sarah clasped her scrawny hands together. She began to mouth the words after the chaplain. Suddenly, she ripped her hands apart. “Wait,” she thought, “Why would Jesus want me? I have done too many bad things in my life. Who am I kidding, I am worthless” she thought. Rage and anger raced through her body. She became angry at the thought of this man making it seem so simple. “He doesn’t know my life” she argued.
“Today is your day” the guard announced as he unlocked her cell. Five years had passed and she was finally free. She walked out the prison doors and squinted as the sun pierced through her brown eyes. The feeling of physical freedom was amazing, but mentally she was still enslaved. She had nowhere to go. She knew her father did not care anymore and she had no other family. She began to walk down the road. “I can go back to the streets. I am sure I can get what I need again” she thought. Her eyes welled with tears. Although she knew she could go back to the life she was accustomed to, something in her was leading her in a different direction.
She continued to walk until she stopped at the edge of the worn wooden fence. She gazed at the old beige house. After seven years, it still looked the same. She took a deep breath. It was her father’s house. His house was the only place she knew to go to, other than the streets. “He doesn’t want me. I can't come here” she thought to herself. She turned her back and began to walk back to her old life. “Sarah?” a voice sounded. Sarah stopped. Her head pulled over her shoulder. It was her father. Their eyes locked. Tears began streaming from both their faces. “Welcome home Sarah” his voice quivered. Like a child, Sarah sprinted toward her father and fell to his feet. He wrapped his aged arms around her limp body and wept. “I’ve been waiting for you” he whispered in her ear.