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P. 1
Arrival

Arrival

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Published by T J Askren
Excerpt from my novel, Growing Wishbones
Excerpt from my novel, Growing Wishbones

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Published by: T J Askren on Oct 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/12/2011

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It was a cool dry spring day when Janice gave birth to her baby girl. Itwas best not to see the baby, she’d been told. It would be easier to let hergo. Janice looked out the window, to the hillside where white and yellowdaffodils were starting to bloom. They waved in the gentle breeze, bobbingtheir trumpet heads.“How are you feeling, my child?” a soft feminine voice inquired fromthe doorway of the hospital room. It was Sister Miriam, one of the nuns fromthe home.“Tired,” Janice replied wearily. “And a little tender,” she added with awince. She felt drained, sad, and empty. “How is my baby?” she turned toSister Miriam.“The baby is doing very well,” Sister Miriam raised her eyebrow. Sheemphasized the word ‘the’. “You should get some rest now,” she stressed.“I want to see her,” Janice declared.“That wouldn’t be good idea, dear,” Sister Miriam sat on the edge of the bed. “It just makes it harder.”“I’m not sure I want to go through with this,” Janice clutched the whitesheet covering her lap.“What do you mean?” Sister Miriam seemed dismayed. There werecouples practically lined up to give a healthy baby a home. “Surely, you arenot thinking of keeping this child,she contended. “You’re just a childyourself!”“I’m a mother,” Janice stated emphatically, looking Sister Miriamdirectly in the eye. “And I want to see my baby.”“Janice,” Sister Miriam’s voice softened. “You’re exhausted. That’snatural. You should sleep now and things will be clearer to you later,” sheexplained. “You’ll understand why it is impractical for you to take this on,”she frowned. “Impractical and impossible.”Not impossible, Janet thought. Nothing was impossible. The only thingthat was impossible was going the rest of her life, knowing that she had adaughter out in the world somewhere. It was impossible to think about living
 
with that knowledge. She couldn’t expect a nun to comprehend what shewas feeling. She wanted to shake Sister Miriam. How could she be sononchalant about what was happening? I gave birth, she wanted to scream.A live, breathing human came out of my body and you want to take her awayfrom me!“I want to see my parents,” Janice said, flatly. She last saw her familyseven months earlier when Edward and Ruth left her in Sister Mary Johann’soffice. Sister Mary Johann was the nun in charge of St. Brigid’s Home forUnwed Mothers which sat high on a hill in the west end of town, overlookingthe Ohio River. Edward and Ruth thought it best that Janice go away as soonas her pregnancy began to show in late September. She had begun hersenior year and had to leave abruptly, without explanation, but she kept upher studies within the walls of the home, along with an astonishing numberof other young girls. Janice didn’t understand the point of hiding whenspeculation on the part of her classmates would lead to the obviousconclusion. Why else did young girls disappear for long periods of time andthen return as if nothing was amiss? Two hours later, Janice’s parents were standing in the doorway of herroom. They stood there silently, as if they’d been punished and placed in acorner. Finally, Ruth came over to the bed, put her arms around herdaughter and held her tightly. Her father walked over slowly and quietly puthis hand on her head. Tears streamed down Ruth’s face when she graduallyloosened her embrace. Mechanically, Edward handed her a folded whitehandkerchief and she dried her tears. Janice spoke first. “I want to see my baby,” she began.Ruth looked up at Edward, questioningly, then back at Janice. Edwardshrugged, as if to give in to whatever his wife wanted. “Janice, we justassumed…”“I know!” Janice snapped. “Everyone has assumed. No one has askedme.”

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