Sorry for the wait on this. School has been a bit overbearing these last few weeks! Nice long chapter too. Hope you enjoy.
I looked at Michelle explaining her plans. But I couldn’t help but feel sad. I missed out on so many years. I watched as she sipped her coffee and how she occasionally would fight back tears. She was trying to be a big girl.
I couldn’t help but reminisce on the wonderful memories I had. I would take care of her, and baby her. But it made her smile, so I couldn’t stop.
“Do you want to get out of here?” I asked.
Michelle nodded. I set my cup down and left some change for the coffees and we left.
“Let’s go to the house Shell. I want to see it.” I said.
Michelle smiled and we started down the street to our old house. Passing the preschool center and the market. We passed Miller’s old place and there it was, staring me in the face. I hadn’t had the courage to look at it since that day. And now, here I was. I grabbed Michelle’s hand and we walked to the house. She led me around back, where the sandbox and the swing welcomed me home. We walked up the back steps and into the back door.
I couldn’t help but cry when I saw everything left as it was so many years ago. I turned to Michelle and I threw my arms around her, “I missed you so much Shell.” I sobbed.
We embraced and cried for awhile before venturing on into the house. Each room bringing new emotions and more tears.
“Shell, can I help you fix it up?” I asked in hope.
Michelle turned to me, “I was hoping you would ask me.”
So we sat down and began the plan. What we wanted to do, where things would go, what colors and so on.
“How can we afford this?” I asked. Knowing that I didn’t make much and Michelle was unemployed moving here.
Michelle took out a piece of paper, it was Daddy’s will. This was new to me, why hadn’t I seen it? He had left us with more than enough money to fix up the house. It wasn’t a fortune, but he left it. And what a better way to invest. Daddy would be so happy.
“How did you get this?” I asked.
“It was here in this album at the very end.” Michelle said, sliding the album my way.
“Wow, I haven’t seen these pictures in so long.” I said, wiping a tear away. I paged through a few of the yellowed pages until I couldn’t look anymore.
Closing the book, I looked at Michelle. “Let’s get started.” I said. Michelle nodded and grinned.
Michelle walked to the living room and looked around. “Should we start here? We have a lot of things that need to be rid of in here.” She said.
“Ok.” I agreed.
“Paula, can I ask something?” Michelle said as she sat down in front of the bookshelf.
I nodded and sat down near her.
“Do I get to meet my niece or nephew?” She asked with a gleam in her eye.
I could feel my stomach tighten as my eyes began to burn. “No, I’m sorry Shell.”
She looked at me questioningly.
[i]It had been a few weeks after arriving at the center when I woke up one morning with terrible cramps. I rolled to my back and grasped my lower abdomen in pain. My roommate looked over at me asking me if I was alright, apparently I was white as a ghost and dripping in sweat.
I shook my head and rolled back to my side so I could curl up, hoping to lessen the excruciating pain. I began to feel the room spin and the last thing I remember is my room mate yelling for help. That’s when everything went black.
I woke up in a bed that was not familiar, I felt groggy and sore. The cramps were gone, in fact I had no feeling at all down there. I attempted to sit up when a nurse walked in and stopped me.
“Paula, you need to get your rest. Please just relax for now. I am Anne, your nurse for today.” She said.
“What’s going on? Why am I here?” I asked, confused and still out of sorts.
“You miscarried this morning. I’m sorry dear. The doctor will be in momentarily to talk to you.” She said as she fixed the drip in the IV and wrote something down on her clipboard. “Can I get you anything right now?”
I shook my head dumbfounded. “Miscarried? I lost my baby?” I asked. “Why?”
“That’s unknown right now. These things happen sweetheart. I know you probably don’t believe it quite yet. But when this information sinks in, we have an ER psychiatrist that is on call and ready to talk to you.” Anne explained. “For right now, just relax until Dr. Burns comes.”
Anne walked out and dimmed the lights. I just laid there, trying to make sense of what she said. I reached my hand down to find the bulky padding of dressings on my lower abdomen and shuddered.
A few minutes later, a woman walked in. “Hi Miss Lund, I am Dr. Burns. How are you feeling?”
I just shrugged. What was I supposed to be feeling?
“Paula, can I call you Paula?” She asked.
“Paula, I’m sorry about your loss. I know you were just informed of the situation. You fainted this morning and were rushed here. You lost a considerable amount of blood with the miscarriage. We had to surgically remove the fetus to prevent infection. Normally we would just tell one to wait for it to pass. But with the condition you were in this morning, we could take no chances.” Dr. Burns said.
I looked out the window, hoping I would wake up from the dream soon.
“Paula, once the anesthetics wear off you will be able to get up. But you will have to be cautious so the stitches do not rip. I would say in a few hours you will be able to feel again, you’ll have some pain. I have a prescription for some pain medication and antibiotics. Would you like to talk to the ER psychiatrist?” She asked.
I shook my head. I wanted to be alone.
“Why don’t you get some rest, I will have Anne come in and remove your IV and get you something to eat. I think we will admit you tonight, but tomorrow you are free to go home.” She told me.
“Home? I don’t have a home! I don’t want to be anywhere right now! I wish I could just die!” I shouted.
“These emotions and feelings are normal after a miscarriage, Paula. That is why there is someone to talk to available to you. I would highly recommend it.” Dr. Burns explained.
“What good is that going to do? It won’t bring back my father, it won’t bring back Michelle, and it won’t bring back my baby! It won’t do a goddamned thing to make anything better! You wouldn’t even understand!” I shouted through my tears.
“Paula, I am not sure what all you are saying. I think I will make it mandatory you see Katherine before you can be discharged. I just want to be safe. And you can talk to me as well about anything. I know you don’t know me, but it is safe here.”
“Please, can I just be alone right now?” I whimpered.
Dr. Burns replied, “Sure. Just hit the call button if you need anything sweetheart.”
With that, the doctor left the room.
I hated the way I felt, I hated that I was so completely helpless to everything. Maybe I should die, maybe I would be better off, I thought. I pulled open the blankets and considered tearing the bandages away and ripping out the stitches. Maybe the pain of that would take away the pain of having a hole in my heart. I thought about pulling the IV needle out and stabbing myself, although it would do no good. I couldn’t take the emotional pain building inside. It began to anger me that I felt so sad.
I felt my fists ball up, the needle in my hand caused a throbbing sensation. It hurt so good. I squeezed my fist tighter until the throb became unbearable and I grabbed the tube and ripped it from my hand.
I wailed at the pain, but I couldn’t help it. I just wanted the hurt to go away. I reached down to my bandages and ran my hands along, looking for a place to latch onto. Finding a place for my finger to slip in, I began to slowly tear the bandage back. Wincing at the pain it caused as it ripped from my skin and stitches.
I looked down at the incision and lost it. I just began to cry helplessly.
“Paula? What’s going on? Are you ok?”
I looked up to the nurse, who looked concernedly at my hand and stomach.
“What did you do?” Anne asked as she rushed over to the bed. She removed my hand from my stomach and pulled the bandage back over the incision.
I couldn’t get the words out to answer. I just gave up and let go. “I just need to hurt somewhere else right now.” I cried.
Anne grabbed a roll of gauze and began to wrap my hand. She hit the call button on the side of the bed.
Within seconds another nurse appeared. “Is everything ok?” The woman asked.
Anne shook her head, “Go get Dr. Burns please… Right away.”
The nurse nodded once and rushed off.
Anne retrieved the tubing that hug from the saline and rolled it away from the bed. She walked towards the door and stood there waiting.
I knew that I said or did something wrong by the concern in her voice and face.
I heard her talking softly to someone outside the door, she poked her head in a few times and looked at me. A few minutes later, Dr. Burns walked in with another woman.
“Paula, this is Katherine. She is here to talk to you.” Dr. Burns explained.
“Turn the monitors on Anne.” Dr. Burns said softly as she looked up at the little boxes in the corners of the room. I watched as they both began to blink red lights.
“Hi Paula. I’m Katherine.” The woman said.
I looked out the windows, and intended to ignore her, hoping she would go away.
“I just want to ask you a few questions, is that ok?” She asked.
I sniffled and shook my head. “I want to be alone right now.” I said coldly.
“I’m afraid that right now that is not an option. Anne has expressed concern that you may hurt yourself. I am here to make sure that you are safe. Do you feel like hurting yourself, or anyone else?” She asked.
I shook my head again lying.
“What happened with your IV?” She prodded.
I shrugged and kept refusing to look at her. I could hear her scribbling notes on her tablet.
“Paula, Anne notified Dr. Burns and I of a statement you had made about wanting to hurt yourself. Did you say that?” She asked.
I didn’t reply, I just continued to stare out the window.
“Can you please talk to me Paula?” She asked.
I shook my head, “I told you I want to alone! Don’t you understand that?” I screamed. I turned my head and glared at her. “Are you people stupid?”
She looked down and wrote some more.
I just wanted to scream, I felt so much anger inside.
"Can you tell me why you feel so mad? She asked.
I shook my head.
“Paula, do you understand that I am worried about your safety right now? And the more you refuse to talk, the more I am convinced that you are a threat to yourself.” She said.
“So what if I am? What are you going to do about it? Once I can move again, you can’t stop me from anything.” I replied coldly.
“Well by law, I can place you on a 72 hour hold if I feel it’s necessary.” She explained.
“Like that’s any different from the hell I am already staying in!” I retorted. “Besides, 72 hours is only a few days, then what? Nothing! You still can’t stop me!”
“Not true. If after 72 hours, we still don’t feel you are safe, we can bring your case before a judge and have you civilly committed. That would place you in the state’s care for up to 6 months and can be appealed every 3 months on for further commitment.” She said.
“You bitch! You can’t do that to me! I will be eighteen soon. Then I am on my own and nobody can tell me what to do!” I screamed.
“Age has no effect on the law sweetheart. If you cooperate with me, we can get you the help you need.” She said softly.
“Why won’t you people just leave me alone! What did I do to deserve this!” I cried.
“Paula, we are not trying to torment you. We just want to be sure you are safe. You are very upset right now, and that is understandable under the circumstances. Loss is a very painful thing.” Katherine said trying to console.
“You have no idea! You don’t know what I am feeling!” I told her.
“That’s why I am here to talk to you. I want to know what you are feeling. I am only here to help.” She said.
“No! I don’t need your help!” I turned my head away and began to cry. “I just need my family back.”
“Well as soon as you are feeling better they can come see you.” She said.
I looked at her in surprise. “No they cant! My parents are dead and my sister is somewhere where nobody will tell me!”
“Why don’t you tell me about it?” She asked.
I gave in and told her about daddy dying and how Michelle and I were separated.
“It’s not fair!” I cried.
“Well, it may not seem fair, but there are reasons for social services doing what they do. It may be the best thing right now. I don’t think that it is permanent. Like you said, you are almost eighteen. You are almost free to leave the center and begin your own life. Why interfere with that now?” She asked.
I shrugged, “I am just so mad!”
“Shell, I lost the baby a few weeks after daddy passed.” I said as I wiped a tear away.
Michelle’s eyes got watery and she looked down, trying to hide her tears.
“It’s ok to cry, I did, and it was the best thing for me! It saved me from a whole new mess with the system.” I said as I shuddered at the fact of almost getting committed.
Michelle leaned in and wrapped her arms around me, “I’m so sorry Paula.”
I felt a whole new whirlwind of emotion striking. “It’s ok, the baby is in a better place. With mommy and daddy… I mean, Grandma and Grandpa.”
Michelle sniffled and nodded into my chest. I missed this closeness that we used to share.
“Shell, let’s take a little break from the living room. Let’s check out our old room and see if we can’t find some happy memories to reminisce instead.” I said as I stood up and held out my hand.
Michelle nodded and grabbed my hand so I could pull her up.