Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)
TITLE: And the Dark Went Away
By Genia Gilbert
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As she opened the door, she tried to ignore the simple, discreet sign which read “Abortion Clinic." It was all so unreal.
At the desk Jaime was handed paperwork which she completed woodenly, her mind numb. She, Jaime Carlson, was now six weeks pregnant, unmarried, and in her sophomore year of college. Jaime, daughter of David Carlson, pastor of a large church only a few hours away from the campus. She felt miserable and treacherous to her parents, and to her sadly neglected Lord. In spite of well-meaning friends’ advice, most of them even Christian friends, assuring her that this was a good “choice,” Jaime found no comfort. It just seemed the only way.
Looking around at the sparse furnishings and impersonal surroundings, she wished again that she had gone back to Dr. Davis, but she couldn’t face him. He had firmly advised her to talk with her parents before making a decision. But Jaime refused. She couldn’t bear their shock, perhaps anger, and the hurt and disappointment in their faces. She’d spare them embarrassment, and at the same time, be able to pursue her business degree and its promising future. That last thought seemed selfish, and she pushed it away.
A nurse appeared at the door, called her name, and escorted her down a long hall, into a chilly, dismal room. In it she saw a narrow treatment table where, it was briefly explained, “the procedure” would be performed. Handing Jaime a paper gown, with quick instructions, she pointed to the dressing area and bathroom. Jaime complied, her steps feeling heavy.
Another thought plagued her mind. She wished she could, at least, say this was all the result of out-of-control passion of young, devoted love, but even that was not true. She’d known Jeff only a short time, was simply enthralled with his good looks, his marine uniform, and fun-loving nature. There had been a party, a little drinking, and the rest was a regrettable haze. It was hard to think about, even harder to pray about, and Jeff’s only commitment was to suggest - and pay for- “the procedure.”
The nurse, getting a little impatient, waited as Jaime slowly exited the cubby hole, after hanging her clothes on the metal hooks. Clad in the rustling paper attire, she was assisted onto the table. With only a thin sheet between her body and the “bed,” she leaned back into a tiny pillow to support her neck and head. Strange that the only thing she could think about now, was how incredibly hard the table felt beneath her.
The nurse, though not unkind, spoke in an offhand, impersonal manner.
“Dr Hanover will be here in a few minutes. He’ll give you something to relax you, and soon this will be all over.” Was it those words, or the stone-like table that seemed to clarify the immensity of what she was doing? Jaime felt she couldn’t lie there another second. That’s when she heard footsteps in the hall. Footsteps, coming closer, closer.....
Two and a half years later, early one morning, Jaime turned over in bed. She was never sure what woke her, the buzzing of the alarm or Megan’s ritual of slipping from her little bed and climbing up beside her. She loved the sound of her sleepy voice as she repeated those same words every morning.
“Mommy, Mommy, it’s day! The dark went away!”
“Yes, Megs,” Jaime replied, as always, “The dark went away!”
A deeper meaning in Megan’s words had the same freshness every day. Indeed, the last years had not been easy. The scars and regrets from her failures would always be there, but “the dark had gone away” the moment she’d changed her mind, rushing from the clinic that day. Mom and Dad had been so wonderful, and the church people, dear and compassionate. In a few months her degree would be completed, and she’d be able to support herself and Megan, though never taking her too far from “Grammie and Gramps.”
Megan scooted closer, saying, “Mommy, your bed is so soft!”
Jaime held her, gazing at the beautiful child in her arms, and thought to herself,
Yes, Megan, soft and warm and wonderful! Just like the forgiving, everlasting arms of our dear Heavenly Father!
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