Tess of the D'Urbervilles; Alternate Ending
She struggles on the bed, face twisted in agony, and all I can do is grip her hand, reach out and try to soothe her.
I can't help but wonder that maybe, if I had made the right decisions, it would be another woman that I was comforting here, a different woman bearing my child.
My thoughts are soon interrupted though, as my wife lets loose another rally of shrieks, the very sound chilling me to the bone.
After countless moments, the room is silent but for our short breaths, and the faint crying of another. The end, or perhaps a new beginning, is finally in sight.
As the beautiful creature is lifted into my arms, I feel a heavy weight pass from my shoulders, giving me newfound strength and eagerness for the future.
"Have you chosen a name for her yet?" the midwife asked from her place beside the bed, sweeping the hair away from Eliza's now beaming face.
I looked down at the baby in my arms, barely able to contain the tremendous joy and love I felt at the moment – two things I feared I would never feel again, although I do think differently now. In my opinion, all sins from the past have been accounted for and forgiven, and we have both been gifted with a new chance at life.
My feelings are proven as I look into her shining blue eyes, seeing not only the child before me, but the beautiful, strong woman that I fell in love with seemingly centuries ago, but I know it only to be a few years.
"Yes," I paused, only to kiss her soft head, "Tess."