The escalator reached its destination on the 5th floor.
“Come, Sweetheart.” Emily said gently as she hoisted Daniel onto her other hip. She was nervous and didn’t quite know why. Her friends were waiting…
As she stepped onto the carpeted corridor where she had lived only 18 months ago, the memories came flooding back… The sights, smells and sounds continued to bombard her senses. She would’ve still been here if it wasn’t for… But it felt like a whole different lifetime ago.
What would her friends think of her now? Things have changed so much since she last saw them. They had all been students together – carefree, with only the next test adding slightly to the pressure.
Her breathing and heart-rate were racing, trying to catch up to each other.
Her eyes found room number 527. She knocked softly and the door was opened. Suddenly her past stared at her in their faces….
“Emily! How are you?”
“Oh look at your baby! What’s his name? Daniel? Can I hold him?”
“Sit here, Emily. Gosh! How are things??”
She smiled at the friendly, curious faces around her. Her emotions were fighting for center-stage. She didn’t know if she wanted to laugh or cry…
Someone offered her something to drink. Wide-eyed Daniel stared first at his mom’s reassuring smile, then at another strange face, and then back at his mom…
“Hey. Good to see you all again…” she smiled. Subdued pain played around like wispy waves on the fore-front of her emotions.
For the next little while their conversations centered around catching up with each other, but slowly they all began to relax, and the conversation changed from superficial to slightly more probing. Until today her friends’ questions had remained ‘up-in-the-air’ in their own minds.
Cindy was first. “Oh, your baby is so cute! A cuddly toy! You must be so happy to have him?”
“Yes – he’s precious to me… But also lots of hard work!” Emily giggled in response.
“Is Kevin a good dad?”
“Yes. But he’s also feeling the pressure, especially financially. Things aren’t easy…”
“Are you going to finish your nursing training?” Chelsea asked.
“We’ve thought about it… but it would mean long hours away from Daniel… Perhaps I’ll return later, but for now I guess one part of our training has always stuck with me: ‘When a mother is away from her young child for more than 20 hours a week, the child is at risk psychologically.’ I just can’t do that…”
“Things will work out”, Bronwyn quipped.
“Yeah…” Emily’s eyes rested on her little charge, bouncing on Cindy’s lap next to her, gobbed fist in his mouth.
Chelsea ventured: “Emily, would you change anything?”
Emily’s eyes glistened... She could put up a front and say that this is what she’d always wanted. It’s not far from the truth.
But the timing was out…
“Honestly?” she mused. “… I love my little family. But how I wish we had waited. There’s no going back now…” her voice trailed off. The consequences would last a lifetime.
Chelsea then whispered vulnerably, “Peter and I want to get married, but sometimes he presses for us to go all the way now. What should I do?”
Emily looked at her seriously, and the choice to be brave and speak out over-rode any fear. Perhaps this will help someone else…?
“Chelsea, take it from me… Becoming physically intimate in any way before you are actually married… well, it’s like opening a Christmas present before Christmas. All the wonder goes. It becomes common. You never get the ‘surprise’ back. You spoil things.
“I wish I had learnt earlier…
“Did you know that when the hymen is torn for the very first time, it’s actually all about cutting a blood covenant with someone…? That is what’s supposed to happen when a marriage is consummated! Do yourselves a favor and study up on it… It’s amazing.”
All eyes were fixed on Emily as she continued softly…
“Hey guys, God wrote the Manual. He says to wait. We in our own ‘wisdom’ think we can change the rules and still have the blessings. It just doesn’t work that way… “
Emily sighed, then smiled.
“Kevin and I made a wrong choice. We’ve missed the joy and wonder that God planned, but He still holds our hands and helps us in our daily struggles.
“But seriously, if I could go back and change the way we did things, I would.
"You all still have your choices…”
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