If you search for tenderness
It isn't hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give
The name ran through her head as it was called, and repeated itself over and over again. Abby Lockhart, Abby Lockhart, Abby Lockhart. She hated that name, no one could ever like that name. The voice that called it was so emotionless, so uncaring.
But then again, she was uncaring. If she were caring, she wouldn’t be sitting where she was. She would be at home, in their apartment, cooking a special meal, lighting candles. She would be eager to share her news; ready to surprise Luka with news she knew he longed to hear.
Instead she sat alone. Surrounded in a sea of chairs and magazines, she was completely alone. Nobody knew where she was, or what she was about to do. Nobody was there to lend her a shoulder to cry on, a shoulder she so badly needed at that moment.
She knew Luka couldn’t find out. If he did, not only would she break his heart, she would lose the one person who loved her for who she was, not who she pretended to be. He had lost so much during his lifetime, and could do nothing to stop it. He was about to lose something just as precious, only this time he would have lost it on purpose.
It was called again, only bringing her to a deeper realization of what she was about to do. She was about to do the most horrible thing that could ever be done, again. Something that could and would possibly ruin her relationship.
Looking up from the newly cleaned tiles on the floor, her gaze turned to that of the nurse standing in the doorway. Her eyes scanned the faces of the few other women who sat around her, many themselves staring intently at the floor. Looking down again, her eyes caught hold of the engagement ring that sat on her finger. The diamond that gleamed in the light and she wanted to let out a sob, knowing that he had given her the ring, and she was about to take something of his even more important away.
Lifting her bag onto her shoulder, she got to her feet. Her legs felt as if they were numb, and her knees shook fiercely, leaving her with the feeling she would tumble to the floor. The pit in her stomach was getting deeper and deeper as she made her way to the doorway, tripping over her own feet as she did.
Looking to the nurse that now stood in front of her, she felt sick enough to begin vomiting. The nurse wore dark blue scrubs, and her lips were pursed and held firmly in a straight line, her eyes hollow and cold. Looking up from the chart, she only nodded and turned around, guiding her down a hallway to a small room. Opening the door, she stepped in and quickly handed her a gown, dumping the chart on a nearby counter.
“Take everything off and put this on.” She instructed, pointing toward a small bathroom.
Her hand shook violently as she took the gown into her hand and entered the small bathroom. As she pulled her turtleneck over her head, she wanted to drop to the floor and hide herself in the corner, shielding the all too bright light from her eyes.
Luka again entered her mind as she emerged from the bathroom, holding the gown closed behind her. He was at work at that very moment; she knew what he was doing. Treating sick and injured people. All were special to someone, some were brothers, some were sisters. Lots of them were mothers, all either worrying about their children who were sick, or worrying about getting home to their children, not caring how sick they themselves were. She was worried about how to get rid of hers.
The room was so dark and cold, a place she knew she didn’t want to be. The walls were white and bare, aside from one poster of a pregnant woman, smiling brightly as she held her hand against her stomach. Sitting on the exam table, the coldness of the fabric penetrated through her gown, reaching her skin like a shock.
“When was your last period?” the nurse asked, her back turned.
The sound of that question made her heart sink, only bringing her to a better realization that this was in fact true, and not just an awful nightmare. She wanted to wake up. She hoped as she sat there that she was only sleeping, that Luka would kiss her forehead, or get up to go to the bathroom, causing her to wake.
“February 23.” She replied in a hushed tone, pressing her hands into her eyes.
Over the next few minutes, she answered more questions, each one causing her to sink more and more into a dream, causing her to feel like she were floating. How could she do this again? How did this happen? Each question she asked herself hurt her more. She was already a murderer, murderers belonged in jail, now she was murdering again. She wanted to go to jail; that was where she belonged.
She was left alone in the room, alone to stare at the machines that surrounded her, to think more of what she was about to do. She was about to kill someone, suck a life right out of her. A life she had created, that Luka had helped her create. Luka. She knew his children had died so many years ago, died unintentional deaths. He was about to lose another child that he didn’t even know existed. Only this child wasn’t being killed by soldiers at war, it was being killed by someone he loved, that carried it in her womb.
A doctor entered the room with an emotionless look on his face. No one in the office showed any emotion, none of them cared. She looked up at him, staring at the man that would aid in helping her commit murder, again. Watching as he moved around, the tears began welding in her eyes, a heat building deep within her as the minutes ticked away.
Closing her eyes, she saw Luka’s face. The way he grinned as he laughed, and his eyes gleamed when he watched her. She could hear his voice in her head, echoing as he spoke, words he whispered to her every night. I love you Abby. How could she do this?
Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honest is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you
“Abby, start an IV in two.”
Looking up from the chart in her hands, she let out a large sigh and took hold of her stethoscope. Each time she heard that name, she wanted to hurt herself. She hated it. Abby, Abby, Abby. It was horrible, the way it rolled off everyone’s tongue, they way it sounded; the sense that she knew it was her name. It only reminded her more of why she hated herself.
Staring into the trauma rooms as she passed, the guiltiness of her secret left her feeling nauseous, like it had every other time she saw him. Watching his face, the dedication and sheer determination as he pumped on the patients chest. The way his expression changed as he checked the monitor again, knowing they were losing yet another life. Losing a life, something you have no control over if it is your own.
Entering the exam room, she found a teenage boy sitting in the bed, flipping through a magazine as she reached for a fresh IV bag, tapping on his skin to find a vein. Gripping the needle, she watched as it slid through his skin, and taped it down firmly, adjusting the speed of the flow. Hanging it from the pole, she nodded at him, and turned quickly, jumping in surprise.
“Are you ok?” he asked, smiling down at her.
An uncomfortable silence followed, like it had for over two weeks now. Only shifting her feet and nodding, she mumbled an incoherent yes and tried to push past him, heading back for the hallway. Avoidance was all she felt she could do for now; that and act like everything was perfect, nothing had ever made her go to the clinic she found herself in.
He followed her down the hallway to the drug lock up, watching as she began stocking the shelves, discarding of empty bottles and boxes. She never spoke, only ignored him as he watched, waiting for her to turn, to look at him.
The days passed like each the one before. They would wake up; she would disappear into the bathroom and shower. They would go to work; she would ignore him until they left. When they got home, she would cook dinner, serve it to him. They’d eat in silence and when they were done, he would make an attempt to take her out, or watch a movie. Most nights she would say no and disappear upstairs where he would find her curled up on their bed, sobbing into a pillow.
The first night he’d found her, his heart fell to his feet. He had opened the bedroom door, and heard a sob. Walking to the bed, he found her curled in a tight ball, her head resting on his pillow. Tears were falling from her eyes, and her face had been a deep color of red. When he had asked what was wrong, he’d gotten no reply, just an order to go away, that she needed time to think. It had been so long since she had told him to go away, years since she had done that; it had been like a slap in the face.
“Abby, what’s wrong?” he asked, watching as she pulled another box open and began stocking the lower shelf, pulling bottles of medication into her hands. “Talk to me.”
“Nothing’s wrong.” She replied, keeping her head down. She wanted to crawl in a hole and bury herself. Allow the dirt to fall on top of her body and suffocate.
She heard the sigh as it escaped his body, causing goose bumps to form up and down her arms and neck. Rearranging a section of the shelf, he continued to watch, waiting for her to look up at him, if only for a short second. There were too many things for it to be nothing, too many things happening.
The depression, the crying, the silence, and the headaches he’d heard her telling Dr. Weaver about earlier in the week. The countless time he had found her awake during the night, standing by their bedroom window, or reading from a book she kept on the night table next to her. He knew deep down there was something bothering her.
As she stood up, he entered the small room, moving close to her. Pushing his hand to her shoulder, he felt her body jolt from him, as her gaze met his and he smiled again.
“Talk to me.” He whispered, brushing a strand of hair from her face.
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
Grabbing her left hand, he pulled it up, unfolding her fingers. Pressing on the ring that sat on it, he moved back slightly, as she closed her eyes, as an unnerving feeling washed over her, as her face grew warm and her skin clammy. His voice was so gentle and caring, he had no idea what kind of a person she actually was.
“I gave you this ring because I love you. I want you to be able to talk to me Abby.” He whispered, ignoring Haleh as she walked by and looked nosily into the closet. “You can trust me.”
She hated him for being so caring. She didn’t deserve him. She deserved what she used to have, a husband who didn’t care. That cheated on her and whacked her when he was drunk. She knew she was a horrible person. She was horrible for keeping secrets, for even going to that clinic. She’d been horrible for years, since she had killed her first child, there wasn’t a day she didn’t think about that. She deserved to live as horrible as she felt; she didn’t deserve the life Luka gave her.
“Nothing’s wrong.” She repeated as she made a move to leave.
The guilt and sadness in her eyes was obvious to Luka, and he stepped in her path. Looking down at her, watching her face as her eyes closed again, it was something he saw so many times. Only it was something he saw at work, and suddenly the pieces suddenly fit together in his head, causing him to fight for his breath.
“Abby, are you pregnant?” he asked all too fast, wanting to grab the words and shove them back into his throat. He watched her face after he spoke, and he now wanted to hide. He knew her fear of getting pregnant, that it was something that scared her more than possibly anything else in the world.
Losing all eye contact with him, she never replied. Her stomach just felt more like it were knotted and her head began pounding. She knew she needed to tell him now; she couldn’t keep it a secret anymore. It wasn’t fair to him, he was the father, and it was his right to know. He helped create the life that had caused all this pain, a life that didn’t deserve everything it was being blamed for.
Pushing quickly past him, she hurried away, leaving him standing in the hallway, watching as she disappeared around a corner. Now he felt horrible. How could he have asked that, knowing the pain it caused her each time it had been mentioned in the past? The many discussions they’d had about the topic over the years, each ending with her in tears, wrapped in his arms. Each conversation containing fragments of how he wanted a child, her child. How she wanted a child, but couldn’t have one. Her fear of bringing a sick baby into the world, being the cause of that child’s illness.
What had he done?
I can find a lover
I can find a friend
I can have security
Until the bitter end
Anyone can comfort me
With promises again
I know, I know
Abby are you pregnant? Abby are you pregnant?
Now she wanted to die. How did she deserve to continue living, after causing so much pain over the years? Her name, she wanted to hurt herself more and more each time she heard it. A name that had caused her so much pain and torture over the years, now only caused pain later in life.
Staring out into the chilly Chicago night, she looked out over the Chicago skyline, listening to the sounds of the cars and buses below. Tugging her jacket tightly around her, she let out a puff and watched her breath as it disappeared into the air as her hair blew in the wind as her knees shook again, remembering what had taken place only moments earlier.
What was she doing? She knew she was slowly killing the one relationship that had ever meant anything to her. Luka cared, he always had. He’d taken care of her and stood by her during her mothers many episodes, he’d all but told her to be with Carter if it would make her happy. He whispered the three words she cherished most when she said she would never be happy with Carter. He’d held her when she cried, and cried with her at some times. Now she was keeping secrets, secrets that were killing her.
There he was again. She felt his arms as he wrapped them snugly around her waist, resting his chin on her head, pulling his body close to hers. The way she felt protected while in his arms, like no one could ever hurt her, though deep inside, she felt she deserved to be hurt. The love he showed her, the compassion, it wasn’t fair.
“I am.” She whispered softly as she gazed straight ahead, watching the moon in the distance as the wind blew harder, sending a colder chill throughout her body. She felt his grip loosen as she spoke, and felt him catch his breath, as he swallowed.
The words shot through him as they passed through her lips; causing his heart to leap and his breath catch in his throat. She was, she was. He felt like he was trapped in a dream, a dream he’d had so many times in the past few months.
He was always sitting in their apartment, working on old charts and paperwork. He would hear her call his name, and enter the bedroom, wearing the same pale blue shirt every time. She would walk over, and hand him a small white stick, and kiss his forehead. Then she would step back, and watch, as he’d look down into his hands, staring in amazement at what he saw. He always turned to look up at her, and she would only nod, before he would leap from his chair, dropping tons of paper to the floor, and scoop her into his arms, laughing and holding her tight.
This wasn’t how he had ever imagined it. But even when he had imagined it, he never dreamt it would happen. She was always so afraid, so terrified of making the baby, or herself sick.
“You are?” he asked, making sure he heard her right.
He felt her nod beneath him and let out a gasp, allowing his grip to loosen and unwrapped his arms, turning her around. Once he had, he looked at her face, and saw the tears as they escaped her eyes, and his happiness turned to a feeling of sadness and confusion as he brushed them away with his thumbs.
“It will be ok.” He assured her, as she sniffled, and shook her head, wiping her face with the sleeve of her jacket.
“No, it won’t.” she mumbled, peering again over the roof of the hospital to the ground below.
“Yes it will.” He whispered. “Abby, we made a baby.”
She only shook her head and turned her attention to the ground, staring intently at the dark color of his shoes. Abby. That frekin name, she wanted to die more than ever at that moment. She hated herself; she hated the person she had become.
“I didn’t want it.” She sobbed, shaking her head back at forth. “I went to a clinic.’ She sobbed.
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. She was pregnant, having his baby, but was ready to get rid of it? His stomach sunk and his face froze as he watched her, covering her face with her hands as her hair blew wildly about. She wanted to kill their baby.
“You had an abortion?” he whispered, as the anger began building.
“No.” she sobbed. “I couldn’t do it.” She cried, muffling her words behind her hands. “I was there, and the doctor came in and I saw you. I couldn’t do it, I didn’t want to.” She sobbed as the words kept coming, feeling unable to stop.
“You wanted to have an abortion? You didn’t want the baby?” he asked, as his voice grew louder and his hands clenched in his pockets. “Abby!”
“Luka I was scared! I am scared.” She choked. “I took the test and when it was positive…”
“You just thought killing our baby would be easier?”
“No!” she sobbed.
He watched as she continued to cry, as she backed up against the nearby wall and slowly dropped to the floor, wrapping her body up in her arms as she cried. She had wanted to kill his baby, take a life he hadn’t even known about.
“Were you planning to tell me after you had the abortion? Or were you never going to tell me I had another child?’ he asked angrily.
She couldn’t look at him; she knew what she’d done. Why was she so stupid? She knew why. Because she was Abby Lockhart, a person she hated more than life itself. Rocking back and forth with her eyes closed, she didn’t feel the cold or the wind anymore. She couldn’t feel anything except the anger that Luka felt, anger she had caused.
“Why did you do that? Abby, how could you want to kill our baby? How?”
“I didn’t want to!” she yelled back, allowing herself to again look at him. “I never wanted to get rid of it!”
“Then why? Am I missing something vital to this conversation? Why would you go to have an abortion if you did not want one?”
He watched as she cried, as she choked on her own saliva and fought for the words to reply. The way she rocked, the way she cried, he was angrier than he had ever been with her, but he couldn’t help feeling horrible at the same time. He knew her terror, the guilt she still felt for that first abortion. How scared she was of making a child sick. But he couldn’t understand killing it; there were ways to keep the baby healthy.
“How could you want to kill an innocent baby? There are thousands of children who die everyday that can’t be saved. They have diseases or accidents and they die. How could you want to pull that baby from inside of you and kill it before it even gets to live!?”
Staring up at him, she couldn’t reply but only continue to cry. Her head was pounding and she wanted to smash it up against the wall, allow it to crack into millions of pieces. She hated herself, she hated what she wanted to do, she hated herself for allowing Luka to love her, for wanting to marry her. She never did anything in her life but hurt others, she had now succeeded in hurting him.
“I was scared.” She whispered, brushing away more tears. “I was never meant to have a baby, all I’ll do is hurt it.” She sobbed. “I’d make it sick and hurt it.”
The words stung him as she cried. He knew she had been scared, afraid of making it sick. But he never knew she was this scared. He knew of her abortion years away, but he never dreamed that she would try to have another one. She had tried to kill his child this time, afraid of hurting it.
He melted as he watched her sobs grow harder as she rocked, pulling herself tighter and tighter into ball. The way she cried, the way she was talking, he knew it was the talk of pure terror. She had wanted the baby, just never wanted to make it sick. Knowing she would have caused the illness had drawn her to abortion, knowing she couldn’t live with herself if the baby was sick.
“Abby.” He whispered, moving in toward her as a gust of wind blew across his face. Pulling himself to the floor of the roof, he crawled over to her and took her into his arms, as she buried her head in his chest, sobbing harder than before. “Abby.”
“I’m sorry.” She sobbed, pressing her head into his chest as his arms held her tight.
How could he forgive her? She had all but decided to get rid of their baby without telling him and he was still there, rocking her in his arms. Why did he do this, she didn’t deserve it. She’d hurt so many people, him included, why was he still there?
“I know.” He mumbled, rubbing his hand up and down her back. “Abby, you need to stop worrying.” He whispered. “There is a risk with any pregnancy, you know that.”
“I know.” He whispered assuringly. “I will be here, no matter what.” He assured her. “But we made this baby Abby. Both of us. And we will take care of it, and we will love it, no matter what happens.”
She hated him for being so caring and understanding. She hated herself for being so uncaring. He would be there no matter what, for anything that happened. It was their baby, they made it. It all started crashing in; knocking her from the world she had been living in for so many years.
“I’m sorry.” She sobbed again, looking up to him. “Luka, I was scared, I am scared.”
“I know.” He whispered again. “Stop being scared. I said I will be here, I promise I will. Abby, I love you too much to ever leave you. I gave you that ring because I want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. And I will spend the rest of my life with you, and with our baby.”
“If I make it sick..”
“We will love it as much as we would if it were healthy. It will be ours, and we will love it.”
Looking up at him, she only nodded and again buried her face into his chest, pushing herself closer to him. He waited and watched as she did, waiting as her sobs lessened and she grew quieter, listening to the honking and screaming from the streets below. He would be a father again, Abby would be a mother. He couldn’t stay angry, as horrible as the events he had learned about only minutes earlier continued to set in. She hadn’t had the abortion; their baby was still alive, still growing.
He sat with her on the roof of the hospital for over an hour, continuing to rock her as she cried until she grew quiet, resting against his body as the wind continued to blow. He wasn’t leaving, he wanted the baby, sick or not. He had forgiven her when she felt no one ever would, he said he would always be there for her.
They both knew what they had done, only know they both accepted it.
When I'm deep inside of me
Don't be too concerned
I won't as for nothing while I'm gone
But when I want sincerity
Tell me where else can I turn
Because you're the one I depend upon