Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)
TITLE: The Birth Mark
By Beth B
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The nurse, by mistake, let me hold her. In the privacy of my room, I unfolded the soft pink blanket and searched her tiny body. Yes, she had five little fingers on each hand and five little toes on each foot. My fingers caressed her soft rosy cheek. A smidgen of dark auburn hair reminded me of her father. She had a small birth mark on her neck. I watched her breathed in-and-out. I brushed my finger across her small hand, and she gripped my finger - as if she didn’t want to let me go. Those precious moments were forever stamped in my memory.
I sauntered to the nursery and gazed through the window, exploring the room. Babies were crying. Some were asleep, and others searching their surroundings. My hand touched the window. There she was. I read her name … Gina, the name I gave her. Yes, I was adamant that I name her. It was the only decision, with regard to her, that I freely made. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I reached for a hankie and dabbed at my eyes. Gina appeared content as she slept. It seemed as though nothing could disturb her rest. I silently prayed that God would watch over her, keep her safe - that she’d enjoy a full life. I left the hospital and cried all the way home. Had I made the right decision?
I was young, single and pregnant. I couldn’t return home, to my parents’ place with the baby. My only option was adoption. My parents and I made arrangements with the adoption agency. They told us they’d take care of everything. She would be adopted into a loving two-parent family. The agent said I’d forget and to move on with my life.
I returned to high school, but in a daze. I would never be the same. I didn’t feel the same. I didn’t act the same. My friends didn’t understand me. How could they? They didn’t know. It remained our family secret. I eventually graduated from college, married, and started a family. Yes, I had moved on with my life, but forget, that was a different matter. No one could understand unless they’d experienced it themselves. I thought of Gina every day. I found myself looking at young girls for any resemblance. I had no information. I relinquished my rights. For all I knew, she lived in another state … or country! As the years passed, I felt I had no right to search for her.
I woke up as if from a deep sleep. I was confused. I felt weak. Breathing was difficult. Where was I? How did I get here? Beep. Beep. Beep. I turned my head and stared at the sterile medical equipment at my side. My heart began to race. A gentle hand brushed my arm. I turned and gazed into a young woman’s face. She smiled. I attempted to smile back. I began to speak …
“Mrs. Stone, you need to rest. A neighbor found you unconscious, and your family has been contacted. They should be here any time.”
I smiled and nodded.
I noticed her dark auburn hair. As she moved her head, I saw a small birth mark. It was located in the right spot. Could it be? Her mannerism mirrored those of my daughter Marie. Could it be her? In my heart, I knew she was Gina.
My grown children entered the room. I saw the appearance of worry on their faces. They gathered around the bed, holding my hands, kissing my cheeks, smiling through their anxious faces. I was comforted, for ALL my children had gathered around me. God had heard my prayers. I was going to see him face to face. I breathed …
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