Elizabeth and Charlie | Teen Ink

Elizabeth and Charlie

September 24, 2019
By sophiellauren BRONZE, Eugene, Oregon
sophiellauren BRONZE, Eugene, Oregon
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Elizabeth and Charlie

Elizabeth had wanted to be a mother for as long as she could remember. She had always imagined herself in a little house with 4 children, a dog, and a white picket fence. This wasn't the way that things had worked out though. Elizabeth was only 14 when she found out that she had uterine cancer, which had forced her to have a life saving hysterectomy. This had left her unable to have children and the life she had always imagined. Just 9 months ago Elizabeth began looking into adopting a baby. She wasn't very hopeful. Very few birth mothers would choose a single mom to raise their child, which is why it was so surprising when after only 2 weeks of waiting she was matched with a mother, Alona. 

Alona hated doctors offices, and that’s just where she was. The baby she was carrying was under special supervision because it had been growing faster than expected. “Who cares if it is growing faster than expected, that just means that it will come out sooner'', Alona thought. The only thing that she cared about was having it and being done with the whole ordeal. This baby was the last piece of her ex-boyfriend that she still had and she was ready to start over. She hadn’t even wanted a baby  in the first place, he had, and she had to deal with it now that he was gone. 

Elizabeth was busily painting a room of her house a muted shade of yellow and folding baby blankets to welcome the new baby.  It was irrational, but she felt like everything had to be just so before the baby arrived. Suddenly she got a call saying that it was time, Alona was in labor. Elizabeth packed her bags as quickly as she could and took the first train to a small town 2 hours away. When she arrived Alona was already in the delivery room. She was going to meet her baby any minute. 

It hurt like hell. Alona didn’t want any pain drugs, in fear that they doctors and social workers would make her sign something about the baby while she wasn’t fully coherent. She knew what she wanted. To give the baby to Elizabeth and never have to think about it again. Finally it was over. Alona refused to see it. 

A boy, a son. Elizabeth was overjoyed. She looked at each one of his little fingers and toes, they were so delicate. This is more than she had ever wanted, he was perfect.  Elizabeth prepared for the journey home with her new baby, Charlie. She packed up all of her bags and laid Charlie in his carseat. On the train ride home Charlie began to fuss, Elizabeth didn’t have any hot water to make a bottle, and she didn’t know what to do. A tall slender man squeezed his way past her in the aisle and rudely muttered, “Feed your baby lady..”. The man did not understand that she would never be able to feed her baby the same way as other women. Suddenly the baby in her arms felt like a stranger. 

When Elizabeth arrived home her house was gloomy and cold. It seemed to be sleeping. All of the curtains were closed and there was a musty smell in the air. This was not the home that a newborn baby should be coming home to. Even the nursery that she had spent so long decorating, seemed like it was decorated by a different woman. 

Elizabeth got busy unpacking all of Charlie’s things and getting him settled in. While unpacking she found a baby blanket that he had been wrapped in right after being born. Although Elizabeth had only met Alona twice, she could smell the distinct odor of Alona’s cheap perfume on the blanket. Suddenly, Charlie began to cry and Elizabeth rushed over to him. She tried everything she could think of to calm him down but it all failed. Elizabeth knew what would calm him down, but didn’t want to admit it to herself. Hesitantly she reached for the blanket and put it around Charlie. He stopped crying immediately. 

Elizabeth didn't know if she could do this. When she imagined motherhood she imagined it to be perfect, but it wasn’t perfect at all. Charlie cried almost constantly and only the blanket from Alona would calm him down. She didn't blame Charlie, he wasn't a bad baby, but maybe she was a bad mother. These thoughts haunted Elizabeth for days. Was she a bad mother? Should she have done something differently? 

One night Elizabeth was awoken from Charlie’s crying. She sleepily walked over the crib and picked him up. Every night was the same, so she didn’t expect him to stop crying, but he did. She was stunned. Elizabeth looked down at the sweet baby in her arms. For the first time since arriving home with him, Elizabeth felt connected with him. This was her baby, she was his mother. Elizabeth sat down on the cold floor in front of the crib and cried. Eventually both of them fell asleep there on the floor, charlie snuggled up against his mother's chest. For the first time in a long time Elizabath knew that she had made the right choice. It was going to be okay. 

The author's comments:

I am submitting my short story, "Elizabeth and Charlie", (887 words), for your consideration in Teen Ink. I hope you find it a good fit for your journal. 

I am a senior at South Eugene High School. 


Sophie S

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