TLSJ Vol.1

“Birds and Babies”

Fiction. Based on a True Walk Down Malibu Beach. 5 minute read

Dr. Neustadter-Inspired

“It’s the path of the broken hearted, and it’s their way of having their own awakening…

Rumi says, the breaks in your heart are where the light comes in.” -Dr. Sarah Neustadter

by Mingjie Zhai

She felt the next wave of pain hit as she walked through the sunset paved sands, reflecting the color of the blood orange sky. A baby cries in the distance and she knows that a mother is somewhere comforting her with her motherly instincts. She thought about the two baby she had killed. What would they have looked like? They would have big brown eyes, loving smile, cute face, and tiny hands and feet filling in big shoes for their big imaginations. They would have loved snowboarding because she would have taught them. They would have loved surfing because she would have taught them as well. They would have loved storytelling and writing stories because she would have read to them every night before tucking them in bed with a kiss on the nose, two on the cheeks and one on the forehead, just to let them know that she loves them unconditionally–however, wherever and whoever they are.

But now they both are somewhere in the ether. Probably within her still. She thinks about them in her steps on the soft sand, and think about curled toes. She breathes in the ocean and exhales out tears. She whispers to the ether, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t even give you two a chance.”

She knows there is grace in those salty tears, now swallowed by the salty Pacific Ocean. At 23, she had pictured herself as a rockstar, famous, and somehow making a difference, when now at 32, she has about 20 dollars in her checking, relying on her parents for survival, and hearing a baby’s cry while she looks on in envy at the who mother nurtures and protects her young. Both men she had loved, one husband, one fiance, that she had given up to other women who carried their seed and created the most beautiful love story that she is now imitating in a startup company–she realizes that there is no comparison.

The realization hits her hard the way the waves hit the rocks a few yards ahead. A flock of seagulls sweeps across the fading sky. The whites of their wings remind her of doves released at weddings and funerals. The painful beauty of the scene could not have been more perfect in its duality. She realizes that all along, she was deceived for having those two abortions–all the promotions for abortion, the normalization, she thought she was doing the world a favor by helping the population control, so she denied life so she could live a more comfortable one. And now, from that painful realization,  she realized that she couldn’t have been more wrong. She knew that God was walking with her.

I am with you and I am for you.

She whispers into the air.

“God,” I pray that they are both in heaven. “I’m sorry, I only had fear. I was too selfish to take responsibility for another human life. I was stuck in some kind of perpetual childlike state. Doing whatever I feel like, and getting away with it.”

“I killed them both in the first trimester with an abortion at Planned Parenthood because I feared that I wouldn’t have been a good parent, but now I realize that through the love my parents have given me in my lowest, how grateful I am for the sacrifices they have made to make sure that I would not only survive, but thrive. God, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me and show me how I can make this right moving forward.”

She looks all around her and finds her breath. Life. Her parents have given her life. Her loving parents have given her life. God has given her life. The fresh air of the ocean blows through her hair and whispers, “Give life to other people’s children.”

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