The Traps of Illusion
- Oh Lord, what is this? - touching between her legs a fallen out leg of her fetus Anna exclaimed. –This I have never seen before. Three children I have brought into this world the way it’s supposed to be, but this is something else.
- Won't you look after my kids? – Anna asked her neighbor. –It’s time to give birth. The child might be dead, since this is so abnormal. I have to rush to the hospital. When the husband returns from work, please notify him that I am in the hospital and tell him to care for the kids.
- The sooner this would be over. I am already so exhausted from all the problems.- cried Anna as she was riding in the bus, holding on to the fetus’ leg. Somehow she reached the hospital. The pain did not allow her to think much.
The doctor and the nurses worked for many hours to come. They tried to push the leg back in, to pull out the other one. The delivery was the most painful and difficult from all the four. The whole process took a long period of time. Finally, a relief came…
- A girl; very beautiful and fair girl. Thank goodness that she is alive. The umbilical cord was twice twisted around the baby’s neck. It’s good that we saved her. –somewhere from far away echoed the voice of a nurse. Exhausted from suffering, the mother sadly glanced at the newborn.
- A girl… My husband so much wanted to have a son… Oh, you poor thing. Another one came for hardship and torment. – She wanted to get her rest, to sleep. Anna knew that additional child is another problem in the family. And those problems, problems... they are already overwhelming her.
While lying in the hospital ward, her thoughts began wandering. She began to remember her life. Anna was waiting for the nurse to bring the baby in for nursing. The little lump, with her tinny lips, gently sucked into her breast. She was feeding on her mother’s milk, as her mother was deeply lost somewhere else, in her past. Anna was recalling her oldest daughter’s birthday ninth months ago and how much fun it was. It was a cold January day, but the mood was good, because all the troubles have been drowned out by the laughter and company of close friends. And her husband, that evening was very romantic, warm and gentle.
- Why did I have to give in to the moment of weakness?!- Anna was asking herself. – There would be no child.
She was washing the dishes. The festivities were over. All the three children were in bed asleep by now. Joe so gently leaned next to her. It seemed that love and passion were burning in his eyes. Her cheeks, already being warm from the vine, blushed even more. That moment she forgot everything. She felt nice. The body was warm, she wanted to disappear in it, to submerge into the endless ocean on bliss and swim, swim in it.
- You are so beautiful. It seems that I love you more than ever before - Joe cuddled next to his wife. They both fell asleep.
The morning after was difficult.
- God, why did I need to give in to the embraces, to that intimacy? Another child can be born again. Worries, there are already so many of them. It’s already so difficult to live. Too many unfulfilled hopes and dreams. Three kids asking for food, besides, we are building a house. Joe is such an unpractical person, willing to give up anything for anyone else. There is a food shortage, abortions are forbidden. Oh, God! How can I get rid of the child, if I did get pregnant?
Weeks passed as worries continued to grow. Chaos in the head, pain in the heart, and worries, worries, worries. While eating dinner one day, she felt nauseous. Next day, the exact same thing occurred.
– Pregnant! Oh, God, I am pregnant. What to do now? I have to get rid of this child somehow. How?
She recalled how she was carrying bags of cement at the building site, brinks, she was taking hot baths. Nothing seemed to help. The belly was growing bigger and bigger. She was ashamed. She was afraid. Afraid of the criticism from others, of her husbands lack of concern and misunderstanding. Anna needed her mother’s support now. Yet, her mother was no longer there. She had died, when Anna was barely 5 years old.
Thoughts continued to stir in her head.
– Well, I guess I have to accept the fact, that another mouth will be added to the family.
As on purpose, when her belly got to be noticeably big, Anna heard a spiteful comment coming from an arrogant, well dressed woman:
– Like a hen… Already had three, still needs another one.
Anna was ashamed of being pregnant. She felt unclean and miserable. Her body curves, of which she used to be so proud of, were taken away from her. During pregnancy, she used to gain up to 55 lbs. Perhaps, that was a pay back for the shame that she felt while being pregnant. She was ashamed of herself, began hating her own body and cursed herself and all the other women for their weakness in giving into the passion and gentle touch with the man. Nobody lovingly pat her or encouraged her as a child. She was just a babysitter for her own younger brothers and sisters, whom she got from her father new wife, her stepmother. The stepmother was a nice and goodhearted woman, yet her own children were much dearer to her, than her husband’s previous wife.
Anna’s baby, a newly born human in the earth, pleasantly mumbled while sucking on her breast. And she further went back to her thoughts. She pondered over her fate and how difficult it was for her. She recalled her sister, who was killed during a bombing in Germany during the WWII. Anna even cut off her sister’s long beautiful braids, just to stop her from going to Germany to be with her love – German’s army officer. The stepmother, however, encouraged her to go. Julia died in Hamburg during a bombing, and to Anna up to this day it seemed that the stepmother just wanted to get rid of additional mouth in the family.
Other memories came. She recalled when the stepmother took away the only thing that Anna’s real mother had left for her – a medallion with rubies, and gave it to her own daughter. It was difficult for Anna to put up with this, yet she was too afraid to ask her stepmother, where her mother’s relic went. She was walking all this time with bitterness in her heart. Anna recalled her dreams about a bright and joyous future, about love’s dreams. But everything changed: the war, Soviet occupation, her knee injury just when she and her husband had decided to flee toward the west. Joe was a very well educated, interesting, intelligent man. However, he was 14 years older than her, but that was alright. It was interesting to live with him. In the beginning, that is. When their first born, a daughter was born, she recalled how furious Joe was. He destroyed all the religious images and crosses in the house. He desired to have a son, and it was a daughter.
Anna recalled when their son was born.
– Alexander will be his name. - Joe said. - He will attack the gates of Moscow, as our old mighty dukes did.
Like out of his mind, he grabbed all the blankets from the house and came to pick them up from the hospital. There was practically no space left in the taxi.
Anna smiled. It was nice for her to remember the pleasant moments in life. The nursing newborn daughter, with her toothless mouth also began smiling.
– Strange… – Anna thought to herself. – It’s as if she’s reading my mind.
She further back went into her world of reflection. Sadness once more was tainting her mood.
– Interesting, what will Joe say when he finds out that another girl is born? He is not very stable.