Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that. He always wore a cross around his neck. He kept up with his weekly chores around the house. He never missed a day of school. He actually enjoyed being an altar boy! Yet, there we all stood in the waiting room of the hospital contemplating boy or girl.
Alyssa Moore has had cleavage and a lack of morals since the sixth grade. She likes her nails painted red and knows how to seduce a man of any age with the simple toss of her hair. Teachers call her a “pistol” or a “go-getter” but only because the word slut is not commonly used in this town. You see, even she went to church. We all go to church.
You’ve probably driven through Planesville on your way up to a family ski trip. You probably thought, who lives here? What are the kids like? What do they do for fun? You probably called the one steeple church quaint and briefly thought about stopping in the general store to see if there’s any fresh maple products. Sure, things move a little slower around here. We hardly receive any cell service but, we are human and like any humans in any small town or big city in America or any other part of this world, we have our secrets.
Casey held on to one of my hands while I gripped a cold cup of coffee with the other.Only a few of us were left now, mostly there to support Joe. The past nine months really took a toll on this town, forcing everyone to question their own life choices. Was it worth it to leave this town, to pursue a dream only to fail and end up right back here? Was it better to just settle now, to forfeit all your dreams, to work at the barber shop and raise a couple of kids who will end up living the exact same life you did? Sure, some of us leave Planesville but not many and certainly nobody with a big dream. Some people leave to go work at the mountain or county police station but nobody leaves to go to New York City or even Hollywood for that matter. Joe and Alyssa had big dreams.
Just as I rested my head on Casey’s shoulder, Joe came out into the waiting room. The dark circles under his eyes aged him at least ten years. We sat in anticipation for him to speak. He looked at each one of us, took a deep breath, and said, “she didn’t make it.”
There in the middle of the air-conditioned, purified room Joe broke down. He dropped to his knees, threw his head into his hands, and sobbed. We stood there motionless, breathless until the doctor finally came out. He picked Joe up and took him into another room. We all stood there still afraid to neither speak nor move.
The doctor returned and explained to us that Alyssa’s petite seventeen year old body hadn’t made it through child birth; however, the baby had. Alyssa birthed a healthy baby boy. He has already been cleaned and taken to the nursery. The doctor understood that Alyssa’s parents disowned her and she has lived with Joe’s family for the past five months. The question now was whether Joe, the religious young scholar who impregnated the girl most willing just because he saw no bright light in his future, would keep the baby.