Chapter Fifteen – The End
Monday, September 12th, 1962
That day, the day that Marion told me she was pregnant was most probably the happiest day of my life. At first it just came as such a surprise, that I couldn't speak for ages afterwards. I knew Marion had something to tell me, but I never dreamed it could be this. At first I didn't even want to believe her. I asked her if she was sure and she said she was positive, she had been to the doctor and they had told her. Then I asked a stupid question and asked if the child was mine. Of course she said it was, who else's could it be? At first I was actually completely insensitive.
Then afterwards, I didn't know how to react. How did I feel, did I feel happy, did I feel surprised (I know I definitely felt surprised), or did I feel confused, or even sad? I felt such a big sea of emotions at first that my mind had gone completely blank and I couldn't think anything. The idea of Marion being pregnant was too much to take in at first. Marion and me had never discussed it, not even once. The thought of having children never crossed my mind once, and especially with my kind of condition it was the last thing in the world I would have thought of, and I'm pretty sure it never crossed Marion's mind either. Imagine, someone like me having a child? This was so sudden, so out of the blue at that moment. We weren't even properly settled into our new house, I wasn't even completely emotionally stable yet, at least I thought so, and now we were already having a baby? How could I possibly be able to take care of it?
All those beliefs I had before, of Marion and me being so happy here together and not needing anything else in our lives, had all been changed now. I had made a lot of big steps before, but nothing had prepared me for the big step of being a father. After Marion said this, she held her breath and waiting for what I would say for hours. It was true, I didn't say anything for hours. At first I walked away and thought about it. And I thought about it a lot. The idea of having a baby scared me a lot at first. How could someone like me possibly be able to take care of one? I could barely take care of myself all this time. Children needed love and care and attention, and that was something that I hadn't got any of when I was younger. Could I possibly give something like that to someone else, especially to my own child? Would I be able to love it? I just didn't think I was ready for it, I didn't think I would ever be ready for it as a matter of fact.
But then as I carried on thinking, another thought came into my mind. Of course I would be able to love it. I was capable of loving. I knew I was, because I loved Marion. I loved her more than anything, and that proved that I could love our baby too. What had happened had happened now, and I had to find a way of accepting it. Marion seemed so happy when she told me she was pregnant. I could see it in her eyes. They were so bright and her face was practically glowing. She seemed to really want a baby, she seemed so happy when she had told me. And then I remembered what I had said before. I had said that whatever Marion and I did, we weren't doing it just for me to be happy. We had to do something for her to be happy too. And I knew that Marion would be a great mother. All this time, she had practically been like a mother to me.
That was the thought that stuck to my mind afterwards. That was the thought that I stayed with. The thought that I was more than capable of loving a child. And I would love it; I'd care about it as much as I cared about Marion. But still I did have doubts. Of course it was difficult not to. I had doubts only for the good of our child. That maybe I wasn't cut out to be a father. I thought of the way my mother had mistreated me and I wondered if I would do the same to my child. But then I thought no, how could I possibly do the same if I didn't want to? I would learn. I would adjust to this just as I had adjusted to everything else. It would just take a bit longer, that's all. I would learn to love our baby somehow.
So, after a lot of time thinking about this, I said this to Marion, who had thought that I would be really angry after I went out of the room and stayed there for hours. But how could I possibly be angry about something as wonderful as this? Before I mention anything else about this though, let's go back to that first talk I had with Marion, because I think that needs to be mentioned as well.
After I had got over the initial shock, I went back into the room slowly. Marion was still sitting in the same spot, and she seemed deep in thought, but she also seemed sad. I know she was thinking that maybe it was a mistake to tell me. She would obviously think I wouldn't want this child. At first I wasn't sure I wanted it either, like I mentioned before. But as I also said, that thought, the good thought that I could love a child stuck in my mind afterwards. But Marion was sitting with a very serious look on her face. I saw her sigh and look down at her belly anxiously, holding it almost protectively. When she saw that I came back into the room she quickly looked away and her cheeks reddened again and she shut her eyes tightly, thinking that I was going to shout at her. But it went differently than that. I went and sat down next to Marion with a blank expression on my face. Neither of us said anything but Marion started crying silently. I didn't say anything. I suppose that at first I had nothing to say. I simply took her in my arms and we just sat there and held each other for a long time, just like we had when we got together last time. When we finally spoke it seemed like hours afterwards. At first I had nothing much to say, and I just kept telling Marion that I loved her over and over again and didn't say anything else. I said it over and over again, just so she would be sure, that I would support her even if I wasn't ready.
We looked at each other for a long time. Finally I sighed and managed to speak, "So you're pregnant?" I said simply to Marion. Right then it was still the only thing I could say. I hadn't completely got over the shock.
"Mm-hmm," Marion nodded quietly and looked at me sadly.
"Are you sure?" I continued simply again.
Marion nodded again. "I'm certain. I'm so sorry, Norman. But the truth is I'm pregnant."
I was so surprised with Marion telling me she was sorry. What did she have to be sorry about? "Don't be sorry, Marion," I continued. "You have nothing to be sorry about. I just…I just can't believe this."
"Me neither," Marion said quietly. "I can't believe it either."
"Are you absolutely sure?" I asked again. "Isn't it possible you could have made a mistake, or…"
"Norman, I've been to the doctor. It's definite. We're going to have a baby," Marion said quietly again. I was starting to get over the shock now, but before I could say anything else, Marion spoke again. "I didn't know what to think when I found out either, Norman," she said simply. "I definitely didn't know what you'd think, but I…but I just wanted you to know that I want this baby so much. I know it'll be different, but we'll manage, Norman. I know we will. We'll love this child. I mean…I don't know what you think but I know I will."
I looked at Marion for a long time before I spoke again. "Marion, you should know that…that right now I think that I am capable of loving a child, even if…even if I'm not ready for one yet. The truth is I don't know if I'll ever be ready. This was something I never thought about, ever, about me having a child. But I'm willing to give it a try. For you, I will try. You have to believe that."
Marion gave a tiny smile from the corner of her mouth, but I could tell that she seemed very relieved when I told her that. "Of course I believe you," she started off. Then she paused and sighed. "Sometimes in life you have to take a few chances, Norman," Marion said. "I mean, I know it's not what either of us were expecting right now. The truth is I was completely surprised as well when I found out. We never…we never planned this, we've never mentioned it, not even once. But the truth is I had suspected I was pregnant for a few days now. I was going to tell you last week. But I never mentioned it to you, just because I thought it would be too much of a shock. It was a shock for me too. But like you said, Norman, you are able to love, and I know you can do this. I know it. We can make this work."
I looked at her and didn't say anything else. I tried to open my mouth to say something, but no words came out. Marion sighed and spoke again after a few minutes. "I know you're scared," she said quietly. "I'm scared too. I'm not ready to be a mother either. I'm especially scared about how we can manage to take care of a child. But I want to believe that we can manage. I know this will change our lives, but maybe it will change them for the better."
I still didn't speak, but I nodded silently. "Norman, please say something," Marion said slowly. Her lip was trembling and I could tell she was trying not to cry again.
"There's not really much to say," I said and sighed again. "Except that…well, we can't change what's happened now, and we'll find a way to deal with this too. But I mean…we never talked about it, not even once, I mean this is so sudden and…I just don't know if someone like me would make a very good father. I mean, I keep thinking of…of what a bad mother I had and…"
"Don't think of that," Marion said, shaking her head. "Just forget all about that, please. As long as we both love this child we'll be able to look after it. And…I don't want to go through this whole pregnancy thing on my own. I want you to be there for me, to support me. I hope I'm not asking too much, and please don't tell me that it's my body and you'll respect my decision because that doesn't mean it's only my child, it's our child. It's just as much yours as it is mine," Marion sighed and continued. "But, I just need to ask you something, just so we can get it straight. Do you want this child?"
I thought about this question for a long time before I gave an answer to Marion. And you can obviously imagine that my answer was yes. I did want a child, I knew it would change my life even more, and it would make it even better. That's what Marion had said before and now I trusted her more than anything. "How could you possibly think I don't?" I said after a while. Then for the first time in hours I gave her a big smile. Then I almost laughed and cried at the same time. "It's my child, isn't it? It's our baby. I'll love it as much as I love you. You have to believe me about that, my love."
Marion smiled too and she almost fell into my arms after I told her that. She was almost crying. I didn't find that strange at all. I was almost crying too, because I suddenly felt almost overwhelmingly happy after that, after we had talked about it. Marion slowly let go of me after a very long time, again it seemed like hours. She laughed gently again and smiled happily. After a few minutes of looking at each other silently, I slowly put my hand on Marion's belly and looked at it for a minute. Marion's look softened even more. She took my hand and held it there for a long time. Then she looked where I was looking too and smiled again. "We love you," she whispered to the baby that was inside. And it was true. We did love it, we always would. After Marion said that she almost cried as well. "I can't believe it, I'm actually pregnant!" she said happily. "Norman, I'm pregnant!" she laughed. Then we both laughed and hugged again. "Yes," I added. "We're actually having a baby."
Afterwards we talked about it for ages, about what life with a baby would be like. We would both adjust to it. Marion said that she needed to adjust to it too, she had no experience either. But after all, this was a big thing to adjust to, a huge thing.
Anyway, to skip all the rest of the talks that we had, I'm just going to say that I loved watching Marion's belly grow as time went by. I knew that inside was the thing that I would love more than anything from now on. We were so happy throughout the rest of her pregnancy. We couldn't wait to become parents. Once or twice I even put my hand on Marion's bump and felt the baby kicking. And the feeling I got from that was the most wonderful feeling in the world. I knew that this was my baby. The baby that I would love and care for. Our baby. One evening when Marion was about five months pregnant we were sitting on the sofa together and I put my head right next to Marion's belly and felt the baby moving. Marion stroked my hair and whispered, "That's our baby, my love," she said. "Our beautiful baby," she added softly. I kept my head there and whispered back, "Yes," softly. "The baby we'll love."
"What are we going to name it?" Marion asked.
I didn't care what we were going to name it, or even if it was a boy or a girl. It was just going to be our baby, and that's all I wanted. "Let's leave that for later," I said to Marion. "Let's just enjoy our beautiful baby first."
So, as time passed, I'm just going to get straight to say that afterwards Marion and me had a girl. Born on June the 7th 1962, at 12pm. That was the information that I would remember for the rest of my life. As soon as I saw our daughter, I realised how much I loved her. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life in my eyes, I'm sure both Marion and me thought so. Of course she was. She was our daughter. I could barely believe it when I saw her. I thought, "Wow. I helped create such a beautiful child and bring it into the world. This is what I created. My daughter." I was practically mesmerised. I was actually a dad.
"Our daughter," Marion said when we first saw her. She had tears in her eyes. There were tears in my eyes too. When I first looked at my beautiful baby, no, correction, our beautiful baby, I felt an overwhelming happiness that I can never describe in words. It was just bliss. And when I first held her in my arms I immediately knew how much I loved her. Our daughter had my dark eyes, but her lovely blonde hair was clearly Marion's.
Again, I'm not going to lie and I will admit that in the first few weeks when we took our daughter home I wasn't quite sure how to react to our new baby. I wasn't used to this at all. But as I said, as soon as I saw our daughter I knew that I loved her. I loved her more than anything in the world. And that made me confident, and I was able to look after her. Apart from not being used to it, I thought our baby was the most beautiful sight in the world. Anyway, after I had started to get used to this, I had pretty much stopped being worried about not being able to look after a child properly. All the love and care that I had not been given when I was young, I felt that I was able to give to our daughter. I loved her more than anything. I helped rock her and sing her to sleep and when I held her in my arms I felt just like when I first saw her. Overwhelmingly happy.
Surprisingly, Marion and I did get used to something like this as well. I'm sure that we both loved being a family. It just took a bit longer than we had taken to get used to other things, because this was a bigger subject, a much bigger subject. But we both loved our baby, and that was what mattered. There was nothing in the world that was more powerful than love, and I think I can safely say that our daughter will have no problems growing up. Since we both loved her so much, looking after her was almost…almost easy. It was just one of those things that came naturally, let's say. In fact, I can also say that we looked after her more than the average parent would. So, finally, we all got our happy ending too. Just me, Marion, and our daughter, who, we finally decided to name Janet. She's now one year and three months old. She's so beautiful and full of life.
And about my mother, you might be wondering? Well, she's in the past now. She's something out of the distant past that I will never remember again, something that I can look back on and just laugh. I have my own family now. I feel that I am able to take love my family just as much as I was able to get over all the other things that happened to me. That means that I can get better. I can be well. All the thoughts that I used to have about not being able to get better, have all gone. Because now I realised after all this had happened, that I had got better, I had gone through so many things but I had survived. I had ended up happy, so that meant that with just a bit of love and determination, I could pretty much do anything.