Ralphie: The Reason Why

March 4, 2009
By Anonymous

It was October 12, 2005 around 5:00 P.M. The phone rang its shrilling wail, and my mother,
frantically frantic, answered. Of course it was Debbie, the woman my oldest sister had been staying
with during her pregnancy. I couldn't hear the conversation, but knew from my mother's suddenly
shock filled eyes that it had happened: my sister's water had broken, and a new life would soon
enter this wickedly lovely world. I hadn't expected it to be so soon! It seemed only a few months
ago that she first told us the heart-stopping news. My mother was grabbing the essentials she would
need during the long birth: cell phone, some extra money, and a jacket for the chills rolling in for
early October. I stood with my mouth gaping, resembling a saucer plate and my eyes dark copper brown
orbs, my mind still stuck in pause. It wasn't until my mother all but shrieked in my face that I
was jerked back to the present; she asked if I was going. It took about five seconds for me to make
my final decision; of course I was going; my sister had asked me specifically if I would come. I
wasn't going to miss an opportunity like this! I grabbed my jacket, ready for a long and
exhausting night. My mother and I all but sprinted out to the car. She yanked the heavy door open
and jumped inside; she already had the car started by the time I closed my door. The hospital was in
Dearborn, Indiana, about a twenty-five minute drive. It was no surprise to me when my mother got
lost, seeing that we had never driven to Dearborn. She was anxious, frantic behind the wheel, and
took the wrong turn on the seemingly endless highway. Nice, mom. Get us lost on the way in an
emergency. It can't be that hard to find your way to a freaking hospital, I thought sourly to
myself. We took many turns, and eventually found the bright lights of the hospital. We burst through
the doors and climbed the myriad of staircases. Jeesh! Are there enough stairs?! I thought in
exasperation. Finally reaching the top floor, our breathing was coming out in sharp, painful gasps.
The kind lady at the desk gave us my sister's room number, and we walked back, clutching the
searing stitches that were ripping in our sides. When I walked into the bright fluorescent room, the
first thing that caught my wandering eyes was her stomach: it resembled a mound and the skin was
stretched over her pale abdomen, aching dearly to rip from the strain. She was lying in the bed,
seeming completely at ease. The only thing that told me otherwise was her face, which was white and
coated in a thin mask of sweat. 'Hey, don't you look lovely,' I said playfully, walking over
to sit next to her. Her lips stretched into a small smile as she answered, 'I can't wait until
it's your turn and I get to tease you.' 'Well, it won't be anytime soon considering I'm
smarter than you.' My voice was still lined with the teasing tone, but I wasn't sure if she
caught it. 'Yeah, isn't that the truth,' she mumbled softly. 'So, how are you feeling? You
know, with a baby clawing at your stomach and all.' 'Ha, ha. I'll be so glad once he's out
of me! He's really starting to aggravate me,' she laughed weakly. 'Yeah I bet. Sounds
absolutely horrifying,' I said with an air of light sarcasm. 'It is! So are you excited to be an
aunt?' 'I'm not sure; I'm still waiting for that part to sink in, actually. Are you ready to
be a mom?' 'I'm only sixteen! No way am I ready to be a mom. But I guess I'll have to
sacrifice my short youth'' The doctor came in then, asking us to step out while he gave her the
epidural. I sat out in the waiting room, bored to no end. It was pretty plain in the room, just like
a hospital waiting room should be, and nothing to look at that would hold interest for a mere girl
of thirteen. I took to staring at the walls, finding faces of all sorts among the many undulations.
The clock was ticking sluggishly, as if tantalizing me with its obnoxiously loud and slow ticks.
Giving up, I walked in to see my sister. She was watching T.V, her head lolling over slightly. On
the couch next to her, her husband was curled up holding her hand. I couldn't help but smile
slightly to myself, as I thought through everything that they've endured. I glanced at the clock,
almost dreading what it would read, but a sigh of relief skipped cheerfully through my lips when it
said 2:30 A.M Suddenly, a piercing shriek echoed through the air, breaking the peaceful atmosphere.
It was a shriek that alerted everyone and spiked the microscopic hairs on the back of my neck. The
contractions were hitting now, and she was grasping her stomach in pain. The doctor came rushing in
and ordered everyone to stand in the back of the room. He prepped her for the birth of her first
child, my mother's first grandson, and my first nephew. It didn't take long, just a few pushes.
You know how people say when a life leaves this world you feel a sudden lightness clouding the room?
Well, it's the same way when a life enters this world. Tears poured from my mother's eyes as she
cautiously walked forward to meet her first grandson. She turned and tugged gingerly on my sleeve,
but my feet were bolted to the floor. It took a few seconds to get my brain working the right way
again, but I made it over to my nephew and sister. As I looked around, I saw that everyone's eyes
were suddenly tear-filled, and their cheeks stained with the salty water flowing down in thick
streams. I stared into my nephew's cherubic face, and joy vibrated throughout my whole body. He
had brown hair that was the color of coco beans, eyes that reminded you of the swirling hot
chocolate on a chilly winter's day, and a smile that sparked his face into a thousand shards of
happiness. It's unnatural how everything can be so right and happy one moment, and suddenly tragic
the next. Nothing had prepared us for the sharp gasps coming from the nurses. I searched for the
source, hoping something wasn't dreadfully wrong. I was unfortunately right about something being
wrong. My sister's eyes were rolling back in her head, her body limp, and head lolling to the
side. I glanced up and saw the nurse standing there, panic-stricken. She had bumped into the machine
and my sister overdosed on magnesium, tossing her into the iron clutches of Death. Fear washed
through me and the blood drained from my face. Her eyes didn't flutter open, despite the sharp
slaps her husband gave her to the face. Nothing could wake her up, not with all the people that were
in her room. They ordered us to leave at once, and as I walked out into the waiting room I saw three
nurses sprinting to her room. It was then that the tears spilled. Oh God, oh God. Please don't let
her die, I prayed in a thick voice in my head. My mother kept whispering words that she thought
would be reassuring, promising me everything was going to be okay. No, mom, everything's not okay.
Your oldest daughter is in there dying! I spat angrily and viciously in my head. That was the second
time in my life that I prayed. I prayed she would live, so she could live past the age of only
sixteen, live to see her oldest son grow up, and live to remember this dark night. I wasn't sure
how many minutes, or hours, had passed. All I knew was that when the doctor came back out, a lump
was lodged in my throat for the fear of what his words would be. 'She's okay. She should be
waking up in any moment.' We walked back and I peeked through the crack in the door, like a little
child peeks through the door on Christmas morning, just in time to see her eyes fluttering open.
'Mom, why is everyone crying?' she asked in a muffled voice, confusion clouding her eyes and
concern etching every line on her damp face. 'I'll tell you later,' my mother said in a choked
voice. 'Where's my baby?' she asked in a slightly panicked voice. The nurse handed her baby
over. 'Aw. Mom, he's gorgeous.' Her voice was thick with the tears welling up in her eyes. She
turned to me and asked, 'Want to hold him?' 'Mhmm,' I mumbled, afraid of what my voice might
sound like. 'Be careful. Put your arm along his back, and your hand behind his head,' my mother
instructed me in a low, urgent whisper. 'Mom, I think I know how to hold a baby,' I murmured.
Wow. I'm an aunt, I thought quietly and happily to myself. 'Isn't he beautiful?' Debbie said
in an awed voice. 'He sure is,' everyone responded. So he was passed along, and everyone who
held him had a look of care and passion in their eyes. He truly was gorgeous, and I was excited
beyond words to see what he would grow up to be. Never once in my life had I blamed him for my
sister's near death. I believe he was the reason that she came back; the thought of her holding
him safe and warm in her arms would have brought anyone back from the land of the dead. It was
around 5 A.M when my mother and I walked through the doors of our house. I hadn't slept in about
twelve hours, and I could feel the effects from sleep deprivation creeping back up, ready to pull me
under its wing. I walked into my room lumberly, and plopped onto the bed without undressing,
surrendering myself over to a deep slumber. Sleep washed over me like a tidal wave, and I slipped
into my peace-filled dream land. . . ~.~.~.~.~ Three years have passed since that long and
horrifying night. My sister still doesn't recall what happened while she was wrapped unconsciously
in the arms of Death, but she knows enough details to understand it was the darkest and most
terrifying night of all our lives. To me, young Ralphie was a miracle baby. He was the reason that
she surmounted the evil and hideous cloud of darkness, known as Death. There are a perennial of
possibilities why a lost soul returns to this world. Each possibility describes a different
situation, fabricating even more possibilities. I believe my sister returned to our world simply
because of her sweet, precious baby boy. She's had another child since, and Ralphie has a bright
future ahead, waiting eagerly for him to stumble upon it.

The author's comments:
This piece drips with the harsh truth of a teen pregnancy.

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