A Life So Changed
I took the title for this story from the Titanic soundtrack, though the Titanic has no other part in this story - I just thought it seemed applicable. This is intended to be a reasonably short little bit of fiction, written while I should have been studying. Oh, and it's my first attempt at non-regency fiction in a long time... ~ Erin =)
Why? Why? Why? WHY? That was the $64 000 question, which was perpetually arresting her thoughts. Why? Just yesterday, things were fine, but today things had gone awry. Yesterday, she had thought herself content and happy; today no such matter. Yesterday, she had felt safe and secure, she now felt that no longer. Yesterday, she had plans for the future, now they were gone - vanished. But then yesterday, she had not foreseen this tragedy.
If only. If only. If only! If only it had not happened. If only things had remained the way they were... and not climaxed in such a way as they had. If only it had turned out.... different.
Ella knew an irrevocable change had occurred. No one, not one, could bring it back. It was lost, gone, taken from her - it was dead. Never would she kiss, caress or even see that which she had so eagerly awaited. It was gone. Dead. Forever.
In the twinkling of an eye, her baby was lost. There was no history of miscarriages in her family that she was aware, but she had been cursed. And she felt she could not live. Who was there to support her during her weakest hour? Not Jamie, the baby's father.
He had disappeared soon after Ella told him about the pregnancy. They had been newlyweds at the time, and she believed he must have felt unable to cope with the pressure and responsibility. Her innocent mind could think of no other legible excuse, so she firmly believed the one her mind had formed.
Surprising as it might seem, Ella coped admirably without Jamie. They had married not for any excess of love on either part, but because Ella was firmly principled in her beliefs, and she would only lose her virtue after marriage. Jamie, discovering this at a time before that, in a rash drunken moment, proposed, and the bewildered Ella did not wish to hurt Jamie by refusing him, so she accepted, though her feelings for him were not strong. They were married quickly and quietly, and Ella hadn't got around to telling many people, in fact, she hadn't even told her mother yet. But now the marriage seemed over - it appeared a bit of a farce actually. Was it legal? Ella hated to think she was a lawbreaker, even if it was inadvertent.
And now she would not even have her darling baby. The pregnancy had been almost complication-free, but short-lived. Ella's baby did not clear the second trimester. Ella had been walking on air for almost three months, knowing she carried her own flesh and blood, taking care of herself and making plans for the future. Her little house had a spare room, in the process of being transformed into a nursery. A few clothes and pieces of equipment had been purchased, but they would not be used now. Perhaps not ever.
Ella's tears started afresh. She had been in deep mourning, and low in spirits since she tripped down the stairs this morning and later discovered she hemorrhaged. There was no way the baby could be saved.
Making a phone call to the hospital was one of the hardest things she had ever done. Someone had come to her, since she was not in a state to travel. Ella could hardly digest what was being said to her at all; her mind was in a daze. The word counselling popped out a few times into the blank world facing Ella, but it didn't register. Ella didn't even look at the faces of the nurse and doctor with enough clarity to 'see' them. She did not see their concern, she did not hear what they said - to her it was all muffled.
It just wasn't real. This could not have happened. This was the sort of thing you heard about, never dreaming it would happen to you.
Ella was in much the same mood when she woke up every day, as she had been since it happened. For the next fortnight she remained as listless and withdrawn. Nothing, she felt, could take away these feelings of pain, regret and utter hopelessness. Ella, on top of everything, felt a failure. She had always wanted to have a baby, but she couldn't. Would she miscarry if she became pregnant again? She didn't know.
The doctor called in twice a week, and rang more frequently, to check her progress. Ella had hardly stirred outside for weeks, and concerned neighbours called. Ella put on a brave face each time, but it wore her out, and after they left, imprinted on her face was an expression of extreme sorrow, and distorted pain - not a physical one, but a ravaging emotional and psychological pain.
This went on for weeks - the misery. Ella continually berated herself and asked why did it have to happen to her?
She could hold no 'funeral' for her baby, but kept a small teddy as a memorial for her Ashley. She called the baby Ashley, because it could be either a male or female name, and Ella had not known the sex of her unborn child.
Ella stopped for a tea break, in between the dusting of the house and the washing. She sat down wearily, sipping her tea, and began to listen to a song she heard on the radio.
Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again
Fly, fly, precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forever more
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet
Fly, fly, do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget
Fly, fly, little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light
('Fly' ~ Celine Dion)
Then, Ella saw. Ashley was in a far better place. All the while she had been mourning, when, even though heartbroken, she should have taken solace knowing Ashley was in paradise. Ella opened a bible, and read Ecclesiastes 3.
There is a time for everything...
The time for Ashley was short. Very, very short. But that was how it had been planned, from the beginning. Ella knew that God will not give you hardships more than you can bear, and so she knew she would conquer this. She had a conviction. She had to prove it to herself now, but she knew that with determination, she could.
Slowly, ever so slowly, but surely, Ella's depression decreased. She bought a copy of that song, so if ever she felt low, she could listen to it, and it would inevitably boost her spirits.
It was about this time that Ella went to the hospital, to thank the doctor and nurse for the help they had given her, though she had not really appreciated it at the time. The unprecedented concern of the doctor, each time he came, was an unlooked-for comfort, and Ella finally realised it enough to come and thank him.
Dr. Hamilton was polite and caring. He was quite a handsome figure, but this did not influence his job, or his opinion of other people. "It was my pleasure, ma'am. I was just doing my job. Speaking of jobs, your husband must work a very lot, as never once was he there when I was"
"Well, er, you see, it's rather an awkward situation. I.... I think... he left me. You... you see, he never told me, so I don't actually know..."
"And at such a time! That is callous, unthinkable, inhumane!" Dr. Hamilton was beginning to become quite worked up.
"Please sir, he is my husband... or at least, he was"
"Forgive me, Mrs. ....?"
"Davis. And of course you are forgiven, sir."
"Please, call me Robert, or Rob, or even Hamilton."
"It wouldn't feel right. I'm sorry. But Dr. Hamilton is suitable, isn't it?
"Certainly, my dear Mrs. Davis" he smiled, then frowned slightly.
"If you'll excuse me, I must go now." Ella said, shaken. She hadn't been called a dear anything in so very long, it felt.... unexplainable.
Ella tossed in her bed that night. Try as she might, sleep was unobtainable. All she could think about was... the doctor, and how he had called her his dear Mrs. Davis. But she hardly knew him! how could she be dear to him? Then it clicked. Of course. She wasn't dear to him. He was just being polite.
Ella had the shock of her life the next day when she received a wedding invitation. For the wedding of James Davis &...
Her husband...was remarrying...while she was still married to him!
Included with the invitation was a short letter.
Bit of a surprise, eh? Well, it's all legal, because our marriage wasn't. Were you not aware that you need a licence and a celebrant, not Frank the next door neighbour? Well hon, don't come if you don't wanna
Such a letter was not soon to be recovered from. She...was not married? she had become pregnant when she was not married? Those vows Jamie made were...false? He lied to her? He was marrying 'again' ? She was single?
Ella fainted, falling on the sofa. Next she knew, there she was, lying down, feet elevated of course, with the doctor sitting nearby.
"Are you alright? I can take you to the hospital if you wish."
"Oh, no, don't thank you. I...I just had the most extraordinary news in a letter, which shocked me so much I must have fainted"
"Was it bad? Would you like me to stay for a while until you are sure you are okay?"
"I don't know whether it is bad or not! But you are welcome to stay. Cup of tea or coffee?"
"Oh, don't trouble yourself for my sake, I'm fine." The doctor's voice was soothing, and Ella wanted to tell him her news - with him she felt comfortable"
"The note was an invitation to a wedding."
"And they make you faint?"
"Not regularly, but it does when it is my supposed husband that is the groom."
"Oh." The doctor seemed surprised, disbelieving. "Bigamous?"
"Well, actually, it turns out we were not legally married! He is free to marry."
"And that shocked you? You believed you really were married?"
"Of course I did!" Ella said with uncharacteristic sharpness. Her face was red. "I would not have been expecting a baby unless I was married, I assure you." A softer look entered her face, and she appeared distant "But now there will be no baby."
"I'm sorry. So, so sorry. I did not mean...I did not intend..."
"I understand. But yes, I was surprised. So I am unmarried."
"You never gave the appearance of a married woman, except for you wedding band."
"Which means nothing. But I will wear it no longer. I believe I will cast it away - toss it into the river. In fact, I'm going to do that now. Would you like to...Dr. Hamilton?"
"I would love to, Mrs., um, Miss..."
Ella didn't reply for a few moments, until the two were walking outside. "You don't have to call me Miss. It really is too proper."
"This, from you?"
"I know, turning the tables, but, well, I don't have to be so cautious now - I don't care what Jamie can say. My name's Ella."
"Ella. It suits you. Was your mother fond of jazz?"
"Not out of the common way, and in fact, my father detested it."
Dr. Hamilton laughed, and led Ella through the park. They didn't reach the bridge, which could be reached in twenty minutes if you had to, until almost dark, so engrossed were they in talking to each other. They shared their interests, laughed and told stories, and spoke of their histories.
Ella felt she was starting to know the doctor, and the more she knew, the more she liked him. He was everything a man should be, including handsome, and he was interesting. By the time Ella and the Doctor reached the bridge, they walked closer together, but not touching. Ella's eyes looked shyly at the ground before her, and she had not even the most remote idea about where her companion was looking.
Ella stepped up to the wall of the bridge, and stood beside Dr. Hamilton. She felt her tiny hand become encased in his, and a surge of electricity passed through her, and she felt warm. She looked down at the hands, a small, feminine, delicate hand, and a strong, masculine, firm one. Her eyes made their way up to the doctor's face, and its' look made her turn away, she could not believe she was the recipient - Jamie had never looked like that - not ever!
"Are you ready?"
And with that, the ring was thrown by the other hand, and descended down, culminating with a small splash as it hit the surface.
Gone now was Jamie. Totally. It wasn't a terribly difficult thing to banish him from her memory - Ella realised she had never loved him.
She had never experienced love.
But she had an inkling that might be about to change. Ella looked up at her doctor's face. A look unable to be put into words. A pounding heart within her. A powerful sensation filling herself, and taking hold of her feelings. Just like it was catapulting them into the sky, where she could do nothing to change them.
He pressed her hand.
An unspoken question. Are you ready?
A spoken reply "I'm ready, Robert."
And ready Ella was, when she found her lips against his.
Just like it was meant to be.
Fly, fly, little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light
And she had, with him.
2 years later...
"Come on darling, one more push. You can do it, you've gone so far!"
Ella screamed "Robert!!!!"
And then she heard it. A baby's wail.
She had done it.
"It's a boy!"
There. So you see Ella was not left in the lurch...
© 2000 Copyright held by the author.
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