Less Children

Chapter 8

Another day. For once, the day was not pretty or rainy, or cold, or in any other way. Nature seemed to not have been able to make up its mind as to what the weather would be like that day. A neutral Saturday, one could say.

Saturdays were always rather pleasant for Sophia. She could linger in her room, doing whatever pleased her spirit. Of late, it pleased her spirit to type away on her laptop things that made her smile and sigh, and hope and worry. She just wrote. But all good things come to an end, as usual. Calls for ready meals from below, visits and other obligations stopped her newly discovered passion. Of course, no one intended to interrupt her especially for the very reason of interrupting her, but, by all means, she was a pregnant young woman (well, girl gone woman) so care and attention were required.
This time, her rather pleasurable activity was interrupted by her mother’s entrance.

“Hi, darling. Are you doing okay? Do you need anything? Maybe a little snack?”
“No, thanks, mom,” Sophia answered, distracted from her activity.
“I think you should get out of the house for a little bit. Take a little walk, darling. You’ve been here all day; soon it’s going to be dark. Why don’t you go take some air, maybe visit your friends, Sage and… Jamie?” her mother tried to persuade her.
“Sage and Jamie aren’t home. They’re at a family reunion, at their aunt’s house.”
“Oh. Well then are you sure you don’t wanna visit anybody else?” Monica kept on.
As she had gotten a little bit weary with typing, Sophia thought it over and resolved with a contented sigh: “I’ll just pay Mark a visit. I have a book to return. He has asked me over to his place numerous times, well, me, and Sage and Jamie, but I doubt he’ll have anything against hanging out for a little while.”
“There you go!” exclaimed her mother, rather enthusiastic.

Sophia raised her left eyebrow, quite bewildered with her mother’s persuasion of her leaving the house, and also with her latter enthusiasm. She let it go, though, and soon left the house, cozy in her maternity jeans, humongous wool sweater and winter coat. Though there had been no trace of snow yet, winter had taken out its pointy fangs, biting in flesh with its terribly low temperatures. The walk, not too long, to Mark’s home proved enlivening, and brought color into Sophia’s white cheeks. A knock on the big, red door revealed a usual Mark, though happy to see his best friend of the last months. He instantly welcomed her in, dragging her away from what he called, laughing, “ass-biting cold” and introduced her to his parents, who, she found out, were nice people. Mark’s father, a doctor, whispered her congratulations for having the baby, as he secretly knew about her case from a fellow doctor, Sophia’s. Mark’s mother complimented Sophia on her “natural beauty and maternal glow” and whisked the two teens into Mark’s room, with promises of tea and cookies, in her Finnish-accent English.

The two entered the room. Sophia was pleasantly surprised to see a very artsy, interesting room. A little piece of work drew her attention in particular. On a nicely trimmed board, pictures of her, Sage, Jamie and Mark had been pinned with colorful pins, together with magazine cut-outs that made the cutest quotes and inside jokes. Sophia’s admiration made the cold Mark blush up to his ears, and he subsequently hurried to move forward to a different topic.

“So how’re you doing, dude? Baby ready to come and meet the world?”
“Not quite. I think. Mom insisted I should take a walk. She was weird, if I think about it.”
“Ha ha. Really. How much longer do you think it’ll be?”
“Ahhh… I’m not that sure… the end of December, according to the doctors, but, given my age, it could happen anytime. So such walks kinda bring the moment closer.”
“Do you want it to be closer?”
“Honestly? Yes! I can’t wait. I feel as if, right now, nothing bad has ever happened. I’ve gotten over it. I don’t care how my baby was conceived. It’s my darling baby, and, wow, I’m so anxious and enthusiastic to hold him or her in my arms.”
Mark smiled, displaying, again, his American easy-nature and his cold, gracious, edgy, Finnish blood. “It’s nice to hear that, Soph. So you still don’t know the sex?”
“What about the name? Any ideas?”
“Not really… I’ve been searching my brain for a name that I would love to say over and over again, but I can’t seem to find it. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, but still I’d like to have some ideas. Maybe a unisex name…”
“Oooh that would be nice. Are you looking for a really original name?”
“Well, I wouldn’t go as far as really original; I mean it’s not going to be “Tomato” or “Broccoli” by all means.”
Mark laughed out loud at this one and proceeded to his computer, where he kept silent, typing and clicking for a good thirty seconds. He turned in his chair with a grin spread across his face and motioned Sophia over, and practically sat her down by force in his chair.
“Here. We can search names by meaning, origin, letter or length,” he said, proud of his marvelous discovery of a name web site while scrolling down the page.
“Meaning? I don’t think I know what I want it to mean. I’m not quite sure I want it to mean anything…”
“Well. Think of what the arrival of the baby makes you feel. Name that feeling.”
“Umm… I’ve already told you I’m very happy, very anxious… very enthusiastic!”
“Enthusiasm, huh? Okay, let’s see,” he quickly typed that very word and waited for the result. A boy’s name came up, and Mark exclaimed “Rhys!” with a little laugh.
“Wow. I… love it. But what if it’s a girl?”
“Who’s going to have anything to say if you name a girl a boy’s name? Rhys. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It’s Welsh, apparently.”
“Huh. I love it. I think this is it, dude!” she squealed and received the warm hug the boy had planned. Soon Minna, Mark’s mom came with the snacks, and the kids went on watching a movie. It was truly blissful, and calm, and nothing seemed able to touch them.

Three and a half hours after she left, Sophia arrived back home, where she found yet another surprise. She finally got the reason why her mother had insisted so much on her leaving for a couple of hours. In the hours she was gone, there had been a door placed between her room and the guest bedroom, which, she discovered, had been previously, secretly decorated for the baby. The walls, painted a cream shade, sported all kinds of pretty decorations, while the crib, complete with its white silken comforter, had been placed near the extra-large window. A changing table, a dresser, a soft armchair and a comfy loveseat had also been arranged in the room, which had obviously been turned into a baby’s room, and linked to her very own bedroom.
The surprise was truly breathtaking, as she had no idea that her parents had been redecorating that guest bedroom, and they had also made an arch door for easy access to and fro the baby’s room. Jack and Monica had been very careful to arrange the room in unisex colors, and had done a beautiful job, taking advantage of their professions as interior designers.

Later that night, after her parents had gone to bed, Sophia snuck into the room joined to hers, soon to be her baby’s room, and sat on the welcoming loveseat, which had close to a dozen pillows stylishly placed on it. She lay in it, in the faint, barely-there moonlight that gazed into the room, stroking her belly. Though it was deep, inside, a feeling had been lurking around: guilt. Hadn’t she done a mistake, forcing a baby to come into the world, as a social misfit? The baby of 16-year-old girl. Wasn’t it utterly wrong that she kept that child, when, with its damned conception, perhaps it had its way clearly drawn?

She opened her eyes, and her gaze fell on the wooden crib, and the bunny set on the top of it. How could it be wrong? Her baby was her baby, no matter who had miserably fathered it. With that feeling in her heart, Sophia could go to bed, tranquil, and yet more enthusiastic.

What the young woman didn’t realize, though, was, that through all that happened after the dreadful incident, she managed to surpass her condition as a victim. The Earth is filled with victims. Billions of victims roam the planet, every night and every day, as afraid victims of one or another fateful happening. But she, a 16-year-old, surpassed her condition as a victim by a most beautiful sacrifice, which, she was just realizing, would turn out to be a great thing. Having her own baby might just be the cutest way to grow up.
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