Beautiful Dawn | Teen Ink

Beautiful Dawn

August 24, 2012
By KatelynnGilbert0 BRONZE, Palm Desert, California
KatelynnGilbert0 BRONZE, Palm Desert, California
3 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only thing holding you back is yourself."

A young woman sits in the hospital waiting, wringing her dress nervously between her hands as she waits to hear back from the doctor. She wasn’t particularly special or strong, but unlike some people at least she wasn’t alone, she placed a tender hand across her rounded belly. Barely more than eighteen, if that, she has known more misery and pain in her short existence than most will in their entire lives. An elderly nurse comes to stand in front of her; the girl looks up and sees that familiar look of pity in the older woman’s eyes.

“C’mon dearie,” she said not unkindly but with a certain sympathy that bothered the young woman. “Doctor Martin has your results.”

Wordlessly the woman rose and followed the nurse back to the doctor’s office. The overwhelming smell of bleach filled the air making the woman sick to her stomach. Through the hallways they walked without a sound, like ghostly specters not of this earth, merely observers of the tragedies surrounding them. An old man in a hospital bed, the room filled with friends and loved ones saying their last goodbyes to someone they had known for a very long time. A woman with only a few wisps of hair upon her naked head, remnants of a life before the chemotherapy treatments. Seizures rake a small child’s body as a raging fever courses through his small body, no one knows how long he has left, and every day is another miracle but curse.

The doctor was a large, balding man with a normally cheery disposition that gave people no choice but to like him. Yet there was no merry sparkle in his eyes as he glanced up at his patient. Her long flaxen hair hung limp around her shoulders, her face was wan with dark circles under her lifeless blue eyes. Like a doll that had been played with too much, until the harsh handling took hold and something broke both physically and emotionally. A ghost of the pretty girl she had once been, an empty shell filled only with the harsh realities of life where there once was love. She sat in an empty chair and hung her head meekly, letting her hair fall around her face to protect her from the prying eyes of others, wrapping her arms around herself.

The doctor put his hand on her arm and said gently, “You or the baby will survive. Not both. I’m sorry.”

Her eyes looked into his, filling him with their bottomless pools of sorrow, he felt an eerie chill creep up his back. This woman had come to him once before, beaten to the brink of death by her husband, begging him not to tell anyone. Now here she stood before him again, broken-down and weary, he wondered if he had done the right thing keeping her visit a secret. Tears formed in her eyes, overflowing to run down her sallow cheeks and fall down to the floor like raindrops from the blue sky. Dry sobs racked her frail body as she swam in her own tears of grief.

“She’ll have a good home won’t she Doctor?” The woman asked as soon as she stopped crying, she wiped the tears from her drawn face with the sleeve of her worn grey dress.

The doctor sighed wearily. “It’s the least we can do for you Grace.”

Weeks went by without complications and everyone who knew Grace began to naively hope that everything would turn out all right, but science didn’t lie. In the middle of the night Doctor Martin got a call that one of his patients was receiving emergency medical attention. He rushed to the hospital to see Grace lying motionless on a surgery table; once the operation was complete the surgeon held up a wailing baby girl, the doctor watched the life leave Grace, knowing she was in a better place than she ever could have found on Earth, among the living. Every day for Grace had been leading up to this, the day she died and her daughter was born, like a true mother she gave her life for her child.

Watching that woman go through life alone, a little part of her dying every day, death must have been a mercy to her. A nurse swaddled the baby in a warm pink blanket as a doctor covered Grace’s body with a white sheet that clung to every curve of her to create only an outline of the woman. In the nursery he watched his goddaughter sleep along with all the other infants, unaware of the world around them. He would give her the choices her mother had, unbounded love, and a home that she would want to return to. Her name would be Dawn, after the beautiful dawn that lights up the sky every day after a long night of darkness.

The author's comments:
Grace was a young woman with a troubled past, but when her future is cut short she has to make the ultimate decision. Her life? Or the life of her unborn child?

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