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Her mood evaporated. She took the letter to her office and put it in the secret place in the floorboards under her desk. She wouldn’t think about this. She had an appointment to get to.
But the moment the cold ultrasound jelly pressed onto her belly, everything came flooding back. She had been able to keep the flashbacks under control until that moment. But she remembered, now: Waking up Sean early so that they could have a special breakfast beforehand. Trying to push down her worry about how he distant he had been acting since she showed him the positive pregnancy test.
The whole thing wasn’t fair. It wasn’t like she’d asked for any of this relationship baggage. Before meeting Sean, all she’d wanted was to be a normal kid. To graduate and go to med school, then settle down in the country with a dog and a couple of kids. The fairytale life from all the movies. Well, she knew that hers wouldn’t be like most of the more popular movies. No, hers was a tragedy from the start, and as she’d grown older, she’d dreamed of the tragic arc. Two people with messed up back-stories met. Finally, they each had someone who really understood them, and that vulnerability would lead to trust and intimacy. Wasn’t it beautiful? Wasn’t it a miracle? Wasn’t it the most amazing thing either them had ever seen?
Here. On the other side of this hospital campus in the psychiatric ward, when she’d thought she was getting a new start, a new lease on life, it was really the beginning of the end. But she’d met Sean here. Sean was different, she’d been sure enough to stake her life on it. When she’d gotten out of the loonie bin, she wondered at least once a day whether it would have been better if she’d died. Things had gotten worse with her father, of course. But unlike before, now there was someone else who was close enough to Lanie to see the bruises and the marks.
She’d never expected Sean to walk in on the last chemical abortion she’d ever have in her life. She hadn’t expected him to storm to her house and confront her parents. No one had ever stood up for her like that. And after their disappearance, she’d felt swept away when he’d insisted on moving in so they could be together. He drove her to school. She had supper ready when he came back from the mechanic shop where he worked. It was a dream, until it had all fallen apart. The Andersons had helped to suppress the storm, and her grandfather had cleaned up the mess. But nobody could help her turn back the clock. And anyway, no matter how many times a clock turned backward, it would always end up in the same place, eventually.
For weeks, she’d been tamping down her panic, telling herself that she wasn’t going to let anything ruin this for her. This was the one. This baby was the one she had prayed for when she was a child. And she wasn’t going to take a moment for granted.
“Can you turn, just a little?” asked the technician.
She sighed. She’d believed, back then. Even when Sean had left her in the parking lot, saying he just didn’t like hospitals after being forcibly confined to one, but that he would wait for her and they could go to a movie after. He was just nervous, she told herself. Everything was about to change for him. Even if it was a good change, it would be a hard change. So, she went to the ultrasound alone. Just like she was now. But it was okay. This time was different. Everything was going to be fine.
“Here you go, Ms. de la Torre. Take a look at this.”
What she saw on the screen drained all the blood from her body.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13