This story is by R. Major and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Yesterday was the worst day of my life. I gave birth to my son. I didn’t even want to look at the baby. I didn’t want to know if it was a boy or girl because that would just make it harder. But I guess the doctor hadn’t been given that information. Because as soon as I pushed him out the doctor told me congrats and put the baby in my arms. I felt an instant rush of love as soon as I looked into his eyes. When his tiny fingers wrapped around my pinky a calm washed over me. Then my mother rushed in and took the baby out of my arms and handed him over to the nurse while whispering something in her ear. I am sure I can guess what it was. That I was giving the baby up for adoption. Not that I ever had any say in that matter anyways. Who cares if I am only 15? He is my son! I should have never let my parents bully me into making that decision. I should have stood my ground and told them that I was keeping the baby – even if that meant I had to live on the streets. But I didn’t know then that I would feel this way now. Now I am back home from the hospital and I don’t have my baby with me. My son. And there is nothing I can do to ever get him back.
“Wow! Tyler, come look at this” I say holding up Rebecca’s diary. He immediately comes over and starts flipping through the pages. Tyler and I were Rebecca’s neighbors and landlord. She rented out the studio above our garage. She passed away this morning. The poor woman was only thirty-three years old and lived by herself. We didn’t know a lot about her other than the fact that she mostly kept to herself. Thirty- three is such a young age to die. The paramedics didn’t seem too sure about what killed her but think it may have been suicide. Perhaps an overdose.
I look over at Tyler now, reading through the diary. I can’t be certain, but I think he may be crying. I probably shouldn’t have shown Tyler that diary entry. He seems to be intent on reading the entire thing. I’m sure reading about how Rebecca gave up that child for adoption and never seemed to be at peace about it is tearing Tyler up inside. Especially with everything that is happening with our son right now. Jacob has a serious heart condition and while the doctors haven’t given up hope yet it still makes me jump every time the phone rings. Especially with Jacob being gone in college now. He is in the second month of his freshman year. We are so proud of him for enrolling in college even with his future being so uncertain, but sometimes I wish he would have stayed home where I can relish every second with him. I make him call me every day and although I know that may be annoying for him, he still does it to help put me at ease. I am thankful that he puts up with his “helicopter mom”.
I walk over to the box where I found the first diary and see that there are about 10 more just like them. I flip through them looking for the most recent one but I can’t seem to find it. I give up and sit down on the bed to rest for a second. Then I suddenly remember that Tyler mentioned that the bed is where they found Rebecca’s body this morning. I jump up so fast that I hit my knee on the night stand. The jolting of the table makes the drawer open. I go to close it when I see it lying there. Her most recent diary. In the back I see a folded up piece of paper. When I open it, the scent of years old paper overwhelms my senses. The creases in the paper are so worn out and the ink is so faint that I have to squint read it.
There are some things you should know about me. The first and most important thing you should know is how much I love you. I have loved you since I first looked into your baby blue eyes and heard your sweet cry. It has been five years since I saw those eyes yet I still see them every time I close mine. Though I find mine are more often filled with tears than not. You should also know that it was not my decision to give you up. That was my mother’s decision. It is a decision that I will regret for the rest of my life. I hope that your new family is treating you well and that you are living a happy life filled with love. I want nothing but the best for you and would never tear you away from your new happy family – but how I long to find you. You must know that I never intended to abandon you and that I will never give up hope in finding you and showing you the truth. Because the truth is, you are my life and my reason for breathing – even if each breath hurts more than the last.
Happy birthday my love,
The lump that has been building in my throat while reading the letter grows until I finally let the tears escape my eyes. I look up at Tyler and hesitate for only a second before stuffing the folded letter into my pocket. It’s silly, but I think that maybe one day I could find Rebecca’s son and give him the letter. Her son should know how much she cared. If only she had talked to us about these things, maybe we could have helped somehow and prevented her tragic death.
I am so deep in these thoughts that I jump when the phone rings. I see that it is Jacob. I wipe the tears from my eyes with the back of my hand and answer the phone “Hey sweetie”
“Mom. Hi. Look I don’t have time to explain, but you need to get to the hospital right away. Don’t worry, I am okay but you and dad need to hurry.”
Tyler and I burst through the hospital doors, nearly tripping over ourselves as we do. We demand to see the doctor right way. I am a little confused when I see that he has a smile on his face. “Don’t worry. Jacob is fine. We found a match. It was sudden and time was running out so he is in surgery now. They are doing the transplant as we speak. In just a few hours, your son will have a new heart. Congratulations!”
I let out the breath that I had been holding since we first heard of Jacob’s condition 3 years ago. They found a match! “What? Who?” I can barely get the words out.
“A young lady died of a stroke this morning. It is uncommon to see in such a young age that at first the paramedics suspected a suicide. She was only Thirty-three you know? But luckily they still acted quickly when they saw she was an organ donor. They rushed the heart over right away and it was a sure match.”
“A sure match? I thought that was only possible from a family member.” Tyler asks, jolting me from my state of elation. I grab Tyler’s hand and can feel his pulse beating as fast as mine.
“You are right” the doctor says furrowing his bushy eyebrows. He grabs my other hand and looks me directly in the eyes and says, “I know you all had a closed adoption so you weren’t able to get any health records from Jacob’s biological family. So this may come as a shock to you but it seems that this young lady, Rebecca, was Jacob’s biological mother.”
“Wow” Tyler gasps as he lets go of my hand and brings it up to his head in disbelief. “What are the chances of that?”
“What are the chances?” I repeat to myself as my fingers caress the letter in my pocket and the tears pour down my cheek.