A Question of Humanity: A Short Story On The Social Evil of Baby-Dumping.
The sight was a gruesome one. It will forever be imprinted on my mind. The stench of decay filled my nostrils. Even in solitude I could sometimes still smell faint traces of it. The image will always come back to haunt me for the years to come. There, sprawled on the grass in open space, with the face flat on the ground like a broken doll, was a rotting corpse of a new born baby. Flies buzzed around above where the body lay. Ants seemed to claim the body for their own.
It was heart-breaking. There was no proper burial; it was as if the baby was just chucked out like garbage on the side of the streets, thrown away without any feelings of love, or compassion, let alone respect or sense of humanity. Even garbage was disposed of in a more ‘dignified’ manner- properly wrapped in a garbage bag. I noticed that one of the arms was missing. The joint where the arm was supposed to be was just a hole. The flesh around the opening was jagged and in pieces. It was probably bitten off by an animal. Was this what human life has been reduced to? Garbage? Food for scavenging animals?
Blood was clotting, and stained the grass where the body lay black. Who could have done such a thing? It was a scary thought that this is the kind of society that we’re living in now: heartless and unappreciative of human life. I looked at the body for a long time. As I decided to make my move, my footsteps grew heavy. A dark shadow of dread hung over me and I’d felt like I carried a mountain on my back. My past deeds came back to me; a recollection I had pretended to be non-existent. This story of mine, I’d wished that it was nothing more than just waking up from a bad nightmare.
I guess it was a typical, almost clichéd story. After all, that’s what you commonly see in the media today: teenage pregnancy, baby-dumping, and all those horrific manifestations of a tarnished humanity. What started off as an easy solution, a way out for desperate teens, turned out to be the turning point that leaves us questioning ourselves how inhumane has humanity become.
Being young, I thought that I’d own the world. Hedonism is the new culture. The media is our bible. It dictates our principles. It tells us what’s in and what’s not. It is indeed a force to be reckoned with as it has the power to either build up or tear down a society, depending on the intention of whoever is controlling it. All the upbringing that I received from my parents seemed to fade away against the media influence. Music, friends, parties, booze, sex, I had it all. The media dictated that I must do things my parents told me not to do. I should already know the consequences of my actions, but I was overruled by curiosity and rebellion. I was blinded by the desire to be part of the so-called ‘in thing’; bewitched by young love and unguaranteed promises of forever. Once I embraced it, there was no way of getting out of it. I was completely intoxicated by it, until one day, God decided to give me a wake up call.
I thought everything was reversible, that if you messed up the first time around, there will always be a second chance. I never took things seriously, especially what my parents told me not to do, because I’d never thought that it’d actually happen. It shouldn’t have happened. I was a fool to give everything up for a boy who I was not certain of having a future with. Sometimes, when you’re just too obsessed with a person that you are plagued by insecurities of him leaving you if you don’t give him something more, and also due to the fact that everybody’s doing ‘it’ and you’re not, right and wrong doesn’t matter anymore, you just do ‘it’. All that’s ever in your head at that time is, “What’s it like? Is it fun?”
I didn’t even know that I was pregnant until it was three months into the pregnancy, when the bulge was getting obvious. That’s when panic struck me. I had to hide this from everyone’s knowledge, especially my parents and teachers. When I told The Boy about what happened, he wasn’t willing to be responsible for it. He even left me there, and treated me like we’d never even met. Before this, he had been swaggering in the hallways that he’d done ‘it’ with me, and suddenly when this happened, he didn’t want to claim the child his and be responsible for it? Now, who do I turn to?
Dejected and in despair, I grew more uneasy with having to keep this secret that became more obvious day by day. I had undergone a rollercoaster change in physique and emotions. It was too much for me to cope. One day, I just couldn’t hide it anymore, and my whole world seemed to fall apart.
“Who are you? I don’t know who you are anymore! Get out of this house! You are not my daughter!”
With those words from my father, I was disowned, left to fend for myself on the streets. What reason did he have to keep me? I was a disgrace to the family. I will wear this sin forever, wherever I go, and people will talk. I broke down. Suddenly suicide seemed like an appealing option, rather than to have to live in this shame and suffering.
I thought about abortion. Yes, it was a good idea. If what I had in me was gone, everything will go back to normal, like nothing ever happened. Of course, the doctors refused to carry out the procedure, it was illegal. I was at a loss for ideas. I needed a way out-fast.
Surviving on my own wasn’t easy. I had slept in odd places like a homeless person. All of a sudden, I had gone from a carefree, joyful life to a life full of loneliness, misery and hardship. I’d sneak in a few times into my own house to get clothes. If I were lucky, I’d sleep in my own bed for a few hours, and by dawn, I’d already slip away. All my friends suddenly turned against me. They were disgusted by what I did and were as ashamed as my parents would have been if they had kept me. I felt useless and unloved. I hated myself and what I did. I hated was what in me. I regarded it with vehemence. It was a mistake, and it ruined my life. I kept wishing that it would all go away. Up to this point, I had lost all love in my life. What I had created was not out of love, and therefore, does it have value?
Little did I know, I was turning into a monster. The idea I had was pure evil. In fact, I had not even thought about it that way until now. I’d simply get rid of it. Easy come, easy go. Once it’s gone, everything will be fine, like nothing ever happened. I can get my life back.
On the day I came into labour, the sound of agonized screams reverberating against the walls amplified the pain that I was going through. Other than the sound of the screams, there was a silence so deafening that it seemed to crush me with the realization that I was going through it alone. I felt like I had died and had gone to hell. There was blood, torn flesh, pain, hate, life, and death. I had given life, but my heart was already dead.
The baby girl was born alive. Somewhere in the world, a mother would have been happy celebrating her firstborn’s birth with her loving husband, friends and family. In this little corner of the world, I was alone and I was far from celebrating the birth. Instead, it brought more questions. How could I possibly sustain another life if I can’t even sustain my own? More than anything, I’d had wanted to get rid of it. This is nothing more than a consequence of my stupid mistake. What do you do if you made a mistake on your answer sheet? You erase it with an eraser, right? Nobody even knew you made that mistake in the first place because in the end you did choose the right answer and make the grade. That was what I had to do, I decided.
I held the baby against my chest briefly. It was warm. I felt the warmth slip away as I carefully wrapped the baby in cloth and left her on the steps of a nearby mosque. Someone’s going to find her eventually. I didn’t care to name her, let alone stop to think whether the baby would die of hunger or cold if no one had found her in time, or worse, being carried off by an animal. I didn’t think of all of that. All that I ever was at that moment was a happy girl. I’d got it off my back. The baby’s cries still rung in my ears, but I walked away, pretending that I was deaf.
I had thought that everything was over, but I was wrong. I was still out on the streets. I still didn’t get my life back. People still talked. It was worse because of my act of abandoning the child. It was too inhumane, but then again, even if I did keep her, what were her chances of survival? I had no means of getting any help anyway. Even so, if she did survive, she’d spend the rest of her life being brought up with the notion that she was a ‘mistake’ that shouldn’t have happened. Who could live like that? I was unwanted, the baby was unwanted and I was furious. Life was unfair.
Well, now, at this very moment, all the resentment that I had on people around me, and the baby, was turned inward on me when I saw the ugliness of the consequences of my action. The remorse did not hit me until today. I had seen the evil that I had done. The image of rotting flesh and mangled body will remain fresh in my mind until the end of time. My baby could have ended up like that. It was unthinkable. I broke down there and then as I walked away. The heavy feeling in my heart wouldn’t go away. I don’t know if it ever would. What had I done?
There was no way to turn back time and undo what I had done. The sin will always be with me for eternity, a social evil that threatens to destroy the very essence that makes us all human.
Word Count: 1823