WEARING A HOSPITAL NIGHTGOWN, Kathryn Morris stared at herself in the full-length mirror.
She was a woman, not yet twenty-one. Short black hair; blue eyes. With her lips pursed, she wouldn’t form a smile or a frown. Creasing the ends of the nightgown to her sides, she gazed down at her nakedness. Basketball-size, she thought, while looking at her belly. She placed her hands firmly around it, gently rubbed her stretching abdomen.
She was nine months pregnant. After all, that’s what they had told her. Soon, she wouldn’t be pregnant nor would she be holding a baby in her arms. She felt her unborn child’s kick and watched the child’s elbow snail it’s way underneath her skin. Perhaps, at the moment, he or she wanted to suck its thumb. Kathryn tied the front of her nightgown and sat on the bed behind her.
She had kept her body in shape, watched her diet, and stayed healthy. There was something about this baby, a connection perhaps. A correlation to her past. A link to her future.
She could dress and run from this house. But it was too late. The induction of labor had begun. If she ran now, she’d be able to keep her baby forever. She could run to a hospital. No, they’d find her.
She had nothing that she knew of. No possessions, no money, nothing. How could she run? In what direction would she go? She knew no one. She had no other family. Nor did she have any friends.
The ones who called themselves her parents seemed to be. Yet, there were days when she wished they weren’t. Her father appeared to be a good man. Her mother was loving and kind. They traveled a lot. He spoke at conferences. Kathryn had attended one once, before her pregnancy was revealed.
Her pregnancy had caused them embarrassment. But, it was her life as a prostitute that caused them shame.
She couldn’t remember her life. Let alone being a prostitute. Why would she do that? Still, she wondered. Didn’t she have some other skills? They had helped her with her past as best as they could. But somehow, she was suffering from a memory lapse. Some traumatic event had caused her to forget-everything.
It was almost as if she was born only seven months earlier. She had awakened in a motel room with two police officers standing over her. The room was dark. Their flashlights shined into her face. After opening her eyes to the bright light, she noticed the cocaine smeared on a small-size mirror on the nightstand beside her.
She wore a hot pink leather skirt no longer than mid-thigh. Her pierced belly button was revealed below a spaghetti strap pink cami. At least she was dressed, she mused.
An officer cuffed her. While he held her up from collapsing, she noticed the roaches on the dirty, torn tiled floor, scurrying from his flashlight.
Why was she there? How did she get here? Who was she? What was her name?
Later, the person who called himself Rev. Richard K. Morris had come to bail her out of jail. He claimed that he was her father. Her name was Kathryn Lyn. He had called her Katie. She swore she had never seen this man before. But, she left with him. He had taken her to this house.
Then, Kathryn knew what she had to do. What the reverend and his wife had told her to do. She had to trust them. They were her parents. They knew what was best for her. Mainly, what was best for their family. And, they seemed to know her, even though she didn’t know herself.
Still, she didn’t know if the baby was a boy or girl. Her parents thought it would be best for her, for them, not to know. No matter what was growing inside of her, Kathryn didn’t want to let go. She didn’t want to give her baby up for adoption, even though she had already signed all the papers. She wanted to keep her baby even if her past cocaine use may have retarded the fetus. She wanted to care for her baby. She’d work through any behavioral problem or excessive crying.
Kathryn was strong willed, she had figured. For the reverend and his wife, she remained cooped up in this house for seven months. She had made it this far, inside these four walls.
Who was her child’s father? Probably a crackhead or heroin addict. She couldn’t remember the man she had slept with. Or, if she had slept with many men. She assumed she had, since she had been working the streets. Yet, she didn’t remember any of the men that called for her. In the past seven months, no one had telephoned her. Not a girlfriend, not a boyfriend, nor a relative. Only her parents called from wherever they were to make sure she was all right. She was eating, taking care of herself. Taking her pre-natal vitamins, as well as the pills the doctor prescribed so that her memory would one-day return.
Hours later, her sweaty black hair screened the terror in her watery-blue eyes.
“Don’t take my baby!” she yelled. “Please, don’t take my baby!” she wailed, while reaching out.
Her parents hadn’t arrived yet, but she knew they wanted to be here for her.
Three people were with her in her bedroom, but she couldn’t see them clearly through the blur of tears and the mind and heart twisting pain of labor. A mid-wife she had met previously, a doctor, and another man wearing a suit and a black hat that overlapped his forehead and covered his dark eyes stood in the shadows of her bedroom. Kathryn’s heart raced, the sweat trickled down her spine. The pain of giving birth was nothing to the heartburn that she was feeling now knowing her baby would be ripped away from her before the day was over.
“It’s a girl,” the mid-wife said softly.Kathryn sobbed loudly. “Please don’t take her! Please!” she wailed.
The nurse swaddled the crying baby, still covered with Kathryn’s blood, in a white flannel blanket and then handed her to the dark-eyed man within the shadows.
That same painful evening, Kathryn received word that Reverend Richard K. Morris, and his wife Hailey would not be returning home at all. The engine on their plane had failed. The pilot lost control. They were all dead. Gone.
Again, Kathryn had nothing. No parents. No baby. And no clue who she was at all.
© Copyright 2017 Rosemarie Piemonte. All rights reserved.
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