Breathe

March 19, 2010
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It was still dark out when I slipped out of bed and pulled on some clothes and a pair of running shoes. It shouldn’t have still been dark out, but it was; so many things were not what they should have been. I guess that was why I had gone up there in the first place. It was the summer before my senior year and I had gone for a week away at a family friend’s house in southern Vermont. I of course had a very loose interpretation of going away for the week. What I really should have said was that I drove up to Vermont without telling my parents and decided to stay at the vacation home of a family friend because I very conveniently knew where the owners hid the key. My parents of course had not been thrilled that I had chosen to drive into the foothills of Vermont without their knowledge and then stayed in an isolated house at the edge of the woods on my own where any Charles Manson wannabe could easily have come to hack me up into little pieces and no one would ever know. They were understandably upset when I called to let them know where I was, but once I had made up an excuse for why I had taken off, they agreed to let me stay for a few more days.

I ate some version of a breakfast and walked out the door, locking the door and replacing the key to its rightful place atop the slight overhang of the roof where I had found it hidden just a few days before. I started walking down the makeshift driveway and by the time I reached the bend where the driveway met the small country road, I picked my pace up to a run. As I ran, I tried to clear my mind and concentrate only on my breath: inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. I tried, but somehow my thoughts caught up with and seemed to be racing towards me faster than my legs could propel me over the road. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the real reason why I had come here this week; why I needed an escape. It hadn’t been because of stress and wanting to have one last week of peace before school started again, it was because of my mistake. I instantly thought of the baby.

As my pace steadied, I allowed myself to finally be confronted with these thoughts. As often as I tried to avoid them, I couldn’t let them build up in me for that long. Sooner or later they had to come out. I thought of the baby’s father and how we had met. At the time he had seemed like a pretty decent guy and even later, I could not argue that he wasn’t. We had been together almost a year when I found out that I was pregnant. Needless to say, it hadn’t been what either of us had wanted and clearly would have thrown a wrench in the rest of my life. I couldn’t be a mother. I couldn’t even keep fish; how would I handle a baby? I thought I was making the right choice, for the both of us.

I made the appointment for a Tuesday morning. I remember because it was when my dad would be out of town and my mom would be at work; they didn’t need to know. I went by myself and by the time the procedure was done, I felt as if I hadn’t made any choice but instead I had cornered myself into one. I wanted to be a writer, have a career, and, when the time was right, settle down and have some kids of my own. Was my choice a purely selfish attempt to try and maintain this vision or had I thought about the fact that I would not have been any kind of mother to this baby? I wasn’t sure anymore but it probably was the first reasoning. As the months passed, I began to feel more and more strange about the situation. It wasn’t that I had wanted to have the baby, it was just the reality that hit me when I was running; had I not made the decision I had, at that moment I would have had a new born baby.

By the time of my little get away to Vermont, that baby’s father and I were no longer together. There were no hard feelings and no heartbreak, just the skeleton of what used to be our relationship. As I reached the end of the road and turned back to run the way home, I slowly felt a few renegade tears roll down my cheeks. I wasn’t sure why I was crying; I didn’t want the baby and I did all at the same time. It hurt so much to even think about; there was a part of me and now it was gone. I could never get it back. It wasn’t just the baby that had been lost; it was like part of my soul that had been sold away. I didn’t know who I was anymore. When I reached the house my tears were coming down harder and although I was barely making a sound, I felt as if I was breaking into a thousand pieces, yet being held together at the same time. I reached up onto the ledge of the overhang and pulled out the key. As I stumbled through the door, I sat down on the floor and let myself cry. All I could do was cry. All I could do was breathe.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Destinee This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm
Really good, though I have no idea who Charles Manson is. As the other comment says.
 
wordnerd54 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm
Nice job tackling such a rough issue. I love the Charles Manson comparison... that was brilliant. Overall, it was very good. The beginning seemed a little on the "mechanical" side, if you will, kind of like a list of what happened. If that makes sense. Feel free to disagree. Other than that, very good job.
 
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