Laura sat down on the floor and tried recollecting the last few words Charles had said. But her head hurt so much that she had to hold it between her hands and shut her eyes tight. When she opened them, however, she looked around the basement with blurry vision and soon realized that the room was closing in on her. The walls were moving closer and closer and Laura’s heart beat so loudly, she could hear the sound echoing around the room that was growing smaller with every tick of the clock. The last thing she remembered was shutting her eyes to the darkness that was about to engulf her.
But when she opened her eyes a second later, she found herself lying in bed.
She sprang up, sitting upright and panting as though she had sprinted for half a mile. Looking around, she spent some time to take in her surroundings and she immediately realized she was in the studio apartment. The clock on the wall read half past eight. Wiping the sweat beads on her forehead, she peered out the window and saw a clear blue sky.
Laura heaved a long sigh of relief. A nightmare?
Thank God! It was only a dream…
Charles had been unable to fall asleep the previous night after the argument he had had with Laura at the hospital. She was being so selfish, and inhuman, he knew, but he hesitated saying anything to her after returning home that night especially because of the way she had reacted at the hospital. But the same thoughts kept bothering him the entire night and despite falling asleep only at three, he finally decided to get out of bed at five in the morning, and go for a jog to clear his head a bit.
As he strolled around the quiet neighborhood, he got a chance to reflect on his own actions and words he had attacked her with. He trembled for what seemed the millionth time on remembering the dreadful night he had physically abused her. There was simply no way he could justify his actions and he soon realized that he was being just as selfish in this matter as Laura was. If she had said she wasn’t ready or that she never would be, Charles ought to have respected her decision. Charles nodded realizing how foolish and stupid he had been acting all this while; forcing his opinions on her and convincing her to do what he wanted while completely giving a blind eye to her needs.
But what Laura wanted wasn’t right either, Charles argued. She was planning to kill their unborn child who frankly did not deserve death. What was the fault of their child that it had to die even before getting a chance to live? Charles shook his head in regret, I should’ve brought up the topic of adoption, why didn’t I think of this before! Even if we can’t be parents to this child, someone else can.
Would Charles really give up his baby? Would he give up being a father and his aspiration of a big happy family for Laura? Charles pondered over this question for a while then he nodded to himself, smiling pleasingly. How madly in love was he!
Climbing up the stairs to his apartment, he decided to suggest to Laura to opt for adoption. When he opened the door, however he saw Laura all dressed up and realized she was about to walk out.
Seeing him, she stepped back and stared intently at him as if waiting for him to ask where she was going. And as he entered in he asked solemnly,
Laura simply nodded, smiling cheekily.
“So you’ve finally decided to go for an abortion? Well let me tell you that I’m not happy with your decision.”
“Will you be happy if I tell you that I’ve decided to keep the baby?”
Laura only smiled widely and placed her hand on her belly.
“Are you serious, Laura!” Charles could not believe his ears. She was either joking, or she was drunk or he was probably dreaming. But neither of these turned out to be true when she nodded enthusiastically and said that she was telling the truth.
Charles’ face beamed, at first, a wide smile spreading across his face and his heart beat so fast he was certain it would leap out of his sweatshirt. But his smile disappeared instantly as he remembered how they’d been in a similar situation in the past, when Laura had asked him to get married then had refused instantly.
Her smile faded,
she cried out, then calming her tone down she continued, “Okay, I have to tell you this… I had dream last night. And in my dream, you were trying to convince me to keep the baby; you told me we could be loving parents to this child and then you went on to call me a murderer.”
“A murderer!” Charles gasped. “I would never call you that!”
…You told me that this child has done nothing to deserve death, and I have no right to kill it. And I agree, Charles.”
“No! This is my baby, I’m not gonna give it away to somebody. We’re in this together, Charles.” The hope in her eyes soon began to disappear, as she furrowed her brows with worry. “Wait…have you changed your mind about this?”
“No I haven’t. But I’m surprised to see that you have. I don’t think taking such a big decision based on a dream is the best thing to do. This is a huge deal, Laura. Once we decide to do this, we can’t back off, you know that, right?”
Laura rolled her eyes, “Of course I do! I won’t back off, I promise. Besides there’s something else I saw that made me realize my mistake. I didn’t want this baby because I had always been afraid that I’d be a terrible parent, right? Well what I saw in dream was a real eye opener.”
“And what’s that?”
Laura stopped abruptly, biting her tongue as she realized that she was about to reveal the secret of her dark past. She then continued conveniently hiding the fact that she had seen her parents. “I saw me, and you and our daughter.”
Charles chuckled at how adorable Laura’s dream was.
he asked playfully. Charles tried so hard to stop himself from laughing. He couldn’t bring himself to believe what Laura was telling him; she was being childish and immature for believing that things such as dreams had a deeper meaning to them.
Laura admitted, blushing embarrassingly, “but most of all we loved each other and we were happy, Charles; a happy family of three.” she paused as her eyes lit up and she gave him a wide optimistic smile.
Laura was doing that again, he reminded himself, acting abnormally high and optimistic. The euphoric world in her dream seemed too good to be true. It’s only a dream, he kept repeating to himself. She’s not–
But just then, Laura interrupted his thoughts as she said, “And you know what they say, you only dream about those things you think about subconsciously. That means, somewhere deep down my heart, I know for certain that I’m going to be a great mother. Maybe I had been lying to myself, saying that I hate children, that I’ll suck as a parent when in fact I’ve always subconsciously known that I won’t.”
Now that was enough to convince Charles that Laura was being realistic in this matter. After all he’d believed in the whole ‘the-universe-brought-us-together-for-a-reason’ thing. Even though what he had believed was absolutely irrational, he had believed it. How could he then, refuse to believe Laura? Maybe the meaning of her dream was inexplicable, but then there are some things in life that can’t be explained, maybe he had to believe it to see it for himself. And he would.
Charles was happy beyond words as he soon realized everything was falling into place and that he was soon going to be a father! He moved closer, taking her hands in his and said,
Laura’s lips curved into a bright smile and she leaned forward and kissed him.
she said pulling away, “and I want to thank you for everything; for making me realize my mistake, for showing me that there’s more to life than parties and drinks and dancing, for showing me how to value family, for believing in me and for being so supportive and-”
…After what I did at the nightclub two days back, I don’t even deserve your kind words. I’m so sorry for the way I treated you, humiliated you in front of your friends and you have every right to be mad at me.”
…If I would’ve talked to you about the abortion and my fear of parenthood right from the beginning, you wouldn’t have been mad at me. Of course you shouldn’t have attacked me the way you did; that was wrong. But I forgive you because I know you’ll never do that again.”
Charles leaned forward and kissed Laura while she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back…
After returning home from the hospital that evening, Laura was in awe. During the 11 week scan, she had seen an image of her growing baby. Her gynecologist had pointed at it’s little hands and feet, it’s head and belly. Laura remembered Charles’ words that she had heard in her dream the previous night. But the part of the ultrasound she enjoyed the most was hearing her baby’s heartbeat. She was moved as the beat of it’s tiny heart reminded her that she was in fact carrying another living being in her own body. She now felt ashamed to even think of the mistake she was going to make; the mistake she would’ve undoubtedly regretted her entire life. And she only had Charles to thank for stopping her from making this mistake and for saving their baby- the symbol of their love…