BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN

The hospital was in a rundown section of the city. Streets wore litter like a torn overcoat – all tatters and held together by spit and chewing gum. The sum of all parts was still another negative, no matter what rule of mathematics you choose to ignore.

Louisa had spirited herself on-board the No. 13 bus heading up William St. She was worn and abused by her boyfriend. (She did her share of self-abuse as well). Her jacket was clutched to her breasts, doing a poor job of hiding the bump that protruded through the broken zipper. Louisa was cold and high and very pregnant.

So pregnant in fact was the reason she had boarded the bus at all. The Michigan Avenue stop would put her a block away from the Memorial Hospital. Ninety steps to decide if she was willing to go through with her responsibility.

The ride was bumpy. The upper end of William had been neglected and the potholes that remained from winter’s salty tirade gave the impression of riding through downtown Beirut.
Bloodshot eyes stared vacantly, flinching slightly as her labor pains intensified in strength and duration. Louisa’s bus was nearing her station.

The other riders, oblivious to her plight were absorbed in their self-importance to care that another crack whore was going to give birth to another addicted baby. The clinic could only do so much for the dark haired girl; she needed to step up and pay the price of motherhood.

Motherhood in the hood. Too many hoods to see straight. Mindlessly, Louisa disembarked the metro liner, shuffling feet in the direction of sanctuary, albeit for a brief moment. She stopped clutching her mid-drift. Doubled over in agony. She couldn’t do this.

Her scream pierced the moist night air as she plodded slowly toward the double glass doors. Passers-by paid no heed. A gruff nurse dragging on her cigarette turned her back to the wind and Louisa, shielding herself from both. The rickety doors slid closed behind her.

Louisa found a seat in the waiting area, in the corner of the room out of view. Sweat poured down her brow and the wince of child birth graced her face. Reaching between her legs, she clutched as her daughter came into the world in the waiting area, in the corner of the room out of view.

Nurses rushed to the weakened sound of a newborn’s first cry. They found her laying in the rack of the local newspapers, under the banner “Take one – FREE!” She had a slim chance to make it past midnight.

Louisa’s lifeless body was found at the end of a trail of blood where she had waited for the return bus in the shadow of a “DEAD END” sign.

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