My head hardly left the pillow when I felt a relentless urge to hurl. I grabbed at the blanket wadding the contents of my stomach in its folds.
No, no, no. This can’t be happening to me. But when I raised my head again a wave of nausea made lying down heaven. I dozed.
“Hey, sleepy head,” Mom called from the doorway.
I dared not raise my head so I just mumbled. After she went down the hall I struggled to my feet, swallowing the impulse to up-chuck. I had to get ready for school.
In a few minutes Mom walked into the room and saw my pale face. “Are you…” She hesitated, gulped and tried again. “Are you…” Mom's right hand clutched at her stomach while with her left hand she covered her mouth. A loud moan came to my ears.
“Arroa, are you….” I dropped my eyes as she closed the door. The next thing Mom’s hands were flaying my back. Her fists pounded my shoulders as she cried, “How could you? How COULD you?”
Tears silently rolled down my cheeks. Fifteen and pregnant. Me. How could I….
Mom finally stopped hitting me and sank to the bed. “How far along?”
“I’ve missed three periods.”
She moaned with her arms wrapped around herself, rocking back and forth. But then fury again filled her. She snapped to her feet and pulled me in front of her, eyes blazing. “Don’t tell your father, do you hear? Don’t tell your father.” I nodded. She hurried from the room.
Dad found out a few days later. He pulled his belt off and started for me but Mom stepped between us. She shoved me into my room. After the door closed I heard Dad’s belt repeatedly smacking against Mom.
Later when all the lights were out and the darkness enveloped me, Mom crept to my bedside. “You are not to go out of this room, hear?” I could smell fear in hear words. “I will bring you meals. You will help me in the house after your father goes to work, but you are not to be seen by him – he has disowned you.” She walked to the door. “Do you understand me?” As she closed the door she said, “You have disgraced our name. You have brought shame to our family. There is no excuse for you. Just stay out of our way. Stay hidden.”
Suddenly I was in a small cave, my room. I could not talk with the baby’s father, Frank, or any of my friends. I could not even leave town. Oh, I wanted to leave town! I wanted to run as far away as possible. But wherever I went the life inside me would be there. Frank could just act like he never knew me. He could get away.
Once the sweeping, dusting, and dishes were done I came back to my room.
In a box in the closet I found an old Bible. It had been my grandmother’s. She had marked the passage about the woman caught in adultery. “Me. Only they didn’t bring me to the leaders. They beat me, hoping I would loose my baby.” I had never been told about grandma. Was it Mom? It took me several minutes to connect the lines and the anger.
Then I read how Jesus knelt and wrote in the sand. After the accusers left, he spoke to the woman caught in sin. “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” I clutched the Bible to my swollen breasts. Could it be?
Right then I knelt. “Lord, I have sinned.” Sobs took my breath but I continued my prayer. “Forgive me for the shame Dad and Mom has to endure because of me. Forgive me for the wrong I did with my body and how I went against what Dad and Mom wanted.” Over and over I repeated the words.
Gently, like a soft breeze, words filled my mind. “Arroa, I do not condemn you.”
I made a plan to become selfless before my parents, with Jesus help.
I knew that I still had to face my friends. That I had to be sixteen with a baby and diapers instead of dates and ball games. But Jesus promised the woman forgiveness; forgiveness was mine too. A great sense of relief released my fear.
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