We quickly forgot the near-pregnancy experience. There was so much else to
think about. The first preliminary test before the final exam came in the
beginning of March and we had to spend more time, studying. It was judgement
day for Mark in particular. I had a fair idea about how his father had
persuaded the headmaster to let Mark stay, after he “copied” Annie’s English
paper, but I had no idea about how Mark managed to convince his father that
he was doing well in school. But he couldn’t hide the results of the test
and I guess his father got pretty upset.
It became the end of social life for Mark, at least until after the final
exams. His father hired a teacher to try and put some of the missing
knowledge into Mark’s thick head before final exams. Every afternoon, Mark
studied with his tutor and in the evening it was homework, closely followed
by his father. Mark was furious and somehow he felt it was Annie’s fault. He
hated her guts, but he couldn’t do much about it. The few times he tried to
ridicule Annie, she crucified him with her wits. So, of course, he still
Annie and I didn’t have a social life the same way Mark had, with friends
and such. But kissing and cuddling in the afternoon had to make way for
homework and extra studying. Sometimes, it was hard to concentrate on the
Napoleonic Wars or trigonometry, when Annie was sitting at the same table.
Her fragrance tried to lure me away from the books, tried to distract me.
Too often, it succeeded, but Annie was very determined to do well on the
final exams and she blankly refused to do anything but study together, until
we went to bed in the evening. But then she was as loving and wonderful as
Even though caution became had become very important, when we had real sex,
it was close a few times. We both badly wanted to let go. Unfortunately, we
didn’t have access to any form of contraceptives and neither of us dared to
ask our parents. The fantasy about using Annie’s other hole was still there
and excited us both, but so far, Annie hadn’t been up to it and I didn’t
want to push her, no matter how much I wished she would do it.
Spring was early and very warm that year. Late April was sunny with summer
temperatures. Sometimes, we could sit in the garden and study in the
afternoon. It made the studying feel less tedious and that was much needed.
Only one of our teachers had some kind of understanding about how stressful
it was to prepare for the exam. He was relatively young, at least compared
to the rest of the staff, who best could be described as museum pieces.
Maybe they weren’t that old, but they had been at the school since dinosaurs
walked the surface of the earth. A lot of them had been pupils at the school
and after they had finished their education, they had returned as teachers.
I guess it maintained the “spirit” of the school, keeping it as
old-fashioned as it had always been. We had reached an age where we suddenly
realised how ridiculous many of the rules and traditions of the school were.
One more year and we would probably have rebelled against it too.
But there was one young teacher, who hadn’t been a pupil in our school and
hadn’t been there long enough to assimilate the special “spirit” of the
school. He was very, very popular amongst the pupils and I assume he was
equally unpopular amongst his colleagues.
Anyway, this teacher seemed to understand the pressure. Maybe he was young
enough to remember. One day, at the beginning of May, just before the exams
began, he came into the classroom, looking very serious.
‘Class! We are approaching the final exam and you are all studying hard.
This lesson will be one of the most important lessons you will ever receive
from this school and I want you to pay special attention. I know how your
brains are close to overload, but I think it will be possible to cram in
another important piece of information.’
He sounded just like all the old teachers. It was typical of the way they
all started, when they wanted to give us the lecture on why it was their
particular subject that was the most important subject of all. However, it
wasn’t like him and, sure enough, he had something up his sleeve.
‘Throughout all your life, you will be facing situations where pressure and
stress will prevent you from thinking straight and prevent you from doing
the best you can. There is one and only one cure for this. Pay attention,
ladies and gents, this is important stuff. You have to learn to relax,
disconnect the brain, give it a rest. You need to learn to unwind completely
for a few minutes, for an hour, for as long as needed to let your brain
clear. This doesn’t mean sleeping. In your sleep, your brain is still busy,
dreaming and working on the same problems that you had before you went
asleep. No, you have to be awake and occupy yourself with something that
doesn’t require too much of your brain, but preferably something of your
body. That way, your brain can concentrate on your body mechanics and
nothing else. So . . .’ he open a large basket and took out a football, ‘we
are going to spent this lesson learning that. I suggest a game of soccer.’
A loud roar rose in the classroom. Everybody cheered, even those girls who
normally didn’t do any kind of physical exercise. The teacher hushed us.
‘Quiet now. We don’t want to attract too much attention. I’m not sure my
colleagues approve of my theory of education. Now, let’s all walk quietly to
the sports field.’
We calmed down as much as possible. I mean, it was a little like taking the
cap off a bottle of soda that you have shaken intensively and then try to
stop the flow. But we managed to get to the field without causing too much
The game was chaotic but fun. None of the girls were used to playing soccer
and just kicking the ball yielded very unpredictable results. Still, the
game served its purpose up the point where Mark’s team got a free kick.
Mark was to take the free kick. He was a brilliant player with fantastic
control over the ball. He would usually score on a free kick at that
distance. It was fairly close to the goal and some of the players on our
team formed a wall, but it would probably be useless, considering how good
Annie was standing a little bit away from the others, not in any way in a
spot where it would be expected that the ball would come. Mark stood for a
second, before he started his run. With the greatest precision and force he
could master, he sent the ball directly into Annie’s stomach. Considering
where Annie was and where the goal was, it was obvious that he had done it
The force of the ball knocked Annie over and she crumpled up in pain. I ran
to her, everybody did.
‘Got you, bitch!’ I heard Mark say, triumphantly. While a couple of the
girls tried to get Annie up and make her stretch out to ease the pain, I
turned towards Mark. I was furious and even though I had never engaged in
fighting, I was ready to smack him good. I was strong enough to beat the
hell out of him. He was a few feet away and I looked at him. He was
grinning, but suddenly, his face changed. He looked like he had seen a
ghost, pale and frightened. He was looking at the scene behind me and I
turned to see what was wrong.
Annie was standing between two of the girls. Small streams of blood were
running down her thighs. I think I heard somebody say they were going to get
an ambulance. If I was mad before, I was totally enraged now. I turned
towards Mark with the full intention of hurting him bad, but he was gone.
Then I looked down and there he was, unconscious on the ground.
Since I was too late to beat him up, I turned my attention to Annie. She was
crying, obviously in pain and it looked like she was seriously hurt. It took
ages for the ambulance to arrive. In all the confusion, nobody noticed that
Mark had passed out and when it was all over, he was gone.
Our teacher thought it best if it was one of the girls that went with her in
the ambulance. I was to contact my mother and then go to the hospital. When
I got there, mom was already there, sitting by Annie’s bed. My entrance in
the room seemed to be the cue she had waited for. She got up and said
something about getting back to work and that she would come around in the
I took a chair and sat down next to Annie. She didn’t look that bad.
‘So, are you OK?’ I asked.
‘Yes . . . I guess. Kind of. It still hurts a little, but they say it will
pass quickly,’ Annie replied.
‘When will you be sent home?’
‘They’ll keep me here tonight, just in case.’
‘In case of what? What was the blood? What had happened?’ I asked, trying
not to sound too worried.
‘I . . . was pregnant. The ball . . . I had a miscarriage,’ Annie said and
took a deep breath. ‘Don’t worry, it’s okay now. It was just . . . a bit of
‘You mean . . . but we haven’t . . . I mean, we have been so careful. What’s
mom going to say? Did you tell her? What . . .’
A million thoughts flew through my head. I was terrified but also relieved
in a strange way. What on earth would have happened if Mark hadn’t kicked
the ball, if Annie hadn’t aborted?
‘She was more concerned about why we were playing soccer, when we were
supposed to be studying for the final exams. All she said was that she
thought I’d better get on the pill. She didn’t even ask who the father was.’
Annie replied, sarcastically.
I was shocked. I think I wanted to say something, I just didn’t know what. I
didn’t know how to handle this. I was confused, frightened and still I knew
it was Annie that was in trouble, not really me. I mean, she was the one
that was, or rather had been, pregnant. I was supposed to help her, comfort
her, do something and I couldn’t. I was depending on her to be strong. She
was always the one that knew what to do. I guess I was too concerned about
her pregnancy to question mom’s reaction. I was kind of pleased about her
‘Don’t worry, it’s all right,’ Annie said, sensing my desperation. ‘The
problem is solved and nobody will ever know anything about it. If I get on
the pill, we won’t have to worry about that any more.’
‘Annie, I . . . I don’t know what I would do without you.’
‘You wouldn’t have got into this situation.’
‘It’s my fault too. But you . . . you can handle it. I . . .’
‘You could too, if you had to.’
‘I love you Annie.’
‘I love you too.’
I wanted to hug her, to kiss her and hold her really tight, but a nurse came
in to check on something. I held her hand and gave it a little extra
squeeze. Annie smiled. She was so strong.
Annie came home the next day, but she stayed at home a few days, before she
returned to school. I was a little surprised at how easily she got over it.
Mark somehow managed to avoid being expelled from school. I guess his father
had a way of convincing the headmaster. Personally, I think Mark would have
preferred to stay away. The headmaster gave him a public scolding the next
day and really humiliated Mark. In class, he was left out, socially.
Everybody ignored him. Still, the final exam was a fortnight away.
Annie got over the whole thing very quickly, but she became more moody.
Maybe it was the pill that did it. She was sometimes depressed and she
developed a temper she hadn’t had before.
We had a wonderful summer together. We didn’t have to worry about pregnancy
anymore and we had the whole of each weekday to ourselves. We could indulge
in each other for hours, physically and mentally, just the two of us. Most
of the time, Annie was as happy as I was, but sometimes she would get
depressed. I tried to find out why, but she wouldn’t tell me. She said she
didn’t know why, it just happened. It was probably the pill, but she didn’t
want to stop taking them and have to worry about pregnancy again.
When summer holidays were over, we started at high school. After our summer
together, it was hard to go back to the old ways of having to hide our love
all day. But we still didn’t dare to show our love publicly. Actually, it
was me that didn’t dare. Annie didn’t care that much, but then again, my
parents weren’t her parents. But apart from that it was great. School was
closer to home and we could actually begin to see some of our classmates
after school. It meant that we saw less of each other during the afternoon
and evening, but that didn’t matter too much. We still had each other at
Troubles began when we were at our first school party. It was very different
from the few school parties in elementary school. We could buy beer, there
was a band playing and the teachers participated, instead of acting as moral
policemen if a boy and a girl were dancing too close. Here, people danced as
close as they wanted to. Compared to what we were used to, this was either
Sodom and Gomorra or heaven, depending on which way you looked at it. To us
it was heaven.
Annie loved parties and dancing and she danced a lot, particularly with one
boy from her class. I danced a little, but I didn’t really want to. I wanted
to dance with Annie. Seeing her dance close together with Anton made me
I was angry and sad when we walked home. Annie was beaming, talking about
how wonderful the party had been. It took a long time before she noticed my
‘What’s the matter? Didn’t you have a good time?’ she asked.
‘Anton did, I’m sure,’ I answered, gloomy.
‘Come on. We just danced. I am allowed to enjoy myself, am I not?’ Annie
replied, slightly offended.
‘Sure, go ahead and enjoy yourself.’
‘You don’t own me and since you won’t dance with me, I have to dance with
‘Go ahead then. What do I care!’
I cared, a lot. But I was so jealous and angry. I felt that Annie had let me
down. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I knew she was right, but
that didn’t make it easier.
‘Come on. I didn’t mean it like that,’ Annie said, trying to make up.
But I was too jealous.
‘I think we should take a break and start seeing other people, if that’s
what you want.’
‘I don’t, I just want to have a little fun.’
‘Sure. Then I can sit and wait for you, while you have your fun.’
I knew it was a mean thing to say. I wished I hadn’t.
‘OK, if that’s the way you want it,’ Annie answered, angrily.
That night the door between our rooms was locked for the first time.
The next day we both felt bad about what had happened and we made up. But we
also agreed that it would be good for both of us to see other people. Deep
down inside, I didn’t want to see anybody but Annie apparently had a need to
try something different.
I accepted it. I accepted that she saw more and more of Anton. I accepted it
because I didn’t’ want to lose her. Our life continued. Not much changed.
Gradually, I learned to live with the idea of Anton. I still had Annie in
the evening and that was better than nothing.
At the next party, Annie was with Anton all evening. I spent most of the
evening with the boys from my class, listening to the music and drinking
beer. It wasn’t too bad. A girl from my class, Camilla, came and asked me to
dance a couple of times, but I really didn’t feel like dancing at all. Well,
I guess I did, but I wanted to dance with Annie. I was still jealous.
About a week later, something happened that suddenly made Anton and parties
unimportant, at least for a while. Dad came unexpectedly home from work at 3
in the afternoon, looking very worried.
‘Annie, I’ve just got a call from your mom. You father is ill. He collapsed
yesterday at work and was taken to a hospital. They have transferred him to
another hospital, in Hong Kong. They are still examining him to determine
what is wrong.’
Dad took a deep breath.
‘I’ve book a ticket for you. I think you should pack and then I’ll drive you
to the airport. The plane for Frankfurt leaves in two hours,’ he added,
Annie still hadn’t forgiven her mother, but uncle Paul called her on a
regular basis. In the beginning, she refused to talk to him, but after a few
months, she gave in. I think she missed him.
‘Is it . . . serious?’ Annie asked, fighting to hold back the tears.
‘I don’t know, Annie. You mother didn’t know. I tried to call the hospital,
but they couldn’t say anything either. I think you should go. It might be
nothing, but if you stay here and it turns out to be serious, you will
‘I’ll go pack,’ Annie said and rushed out of the room.
‘I’ll help you,’ I said, running after her.
I caught up with Annie in her room and hugged her while she cried. After a
couple of minutes, she had calmed down and was able to speak again.
‘He . . . he better be well when I get there,’ Annie said, smiling weakly.
‘If not, I’ll kill him.’
‘He’ll probably be picking you up in the airport, when you arrive,’ I said,
trying to sound optimistic.
‘I hope so,’ Annie replied, quietly.
We packed a suitcase for Annie. She didn’t know how long she was going to
stay and just to make sure she had enough clothes, she packed what looked
like the entire content of her wardrobe. When we had finished, she couldn’t
lift the suitcase and we had to go through it all one more time and take a
few expendable things out. It was still heavy, but at least she could handle
The packing gave Annie a little break and a chance to gather her thoughts.
She wasn’t happy, when we drove off to the airport with dad, but she wasn’t
completely devastated either. We helped her check in and said goodbye. I
hugged her. We were both on the brink of tears, but managed to hold them
It was a long trip, almost 20 hours, including the change of planes in
Frankfurt and the stop in Singapore. It felt equally long for me, waiting to
hear from her. She had promised to call as soon after she had landed as
possible. While I waited, I began thinking about the trip. I would have been
terrified, if it had been me. I mean, changing planes in Frankfurt, all
alone. I had heard dad tell her what to do with the luggage. How to get it
in Frankfurt and check it in again for the plane to Hong Kong. Just the
thought of all the things that could go wrong scared me, but Annie could
handle everything. Nothing seemed to bother her.
Finally, almost 24 hours later, Annie called. Mom talked to her first and
then I got the chance. It was a short conversation, but uncle Paul wasn’t
terminally ill. It was a bleeding stomach ulcer. He had been operated on and
was, everything considered, in great condition.
Annie only stayed 3 days, but with the time spent travelling, she was gone
almost 5 days. I was out the second time she called, so I didn’t get a
chance to talk to her again, before she returned. She arrived back in the
morning, after I had gone to school. I had tried to convince dad that it
would be a good idea, if I went with him to the airport to picked up Annie,
but he said Annie would be tired and that I just wanted an excuse for
skipping school that day.
He was right about Annie being tired. She had gone straight to bed and was
still sleeping, when I came home from school. Mom woke her up for dinner,
but even then she was very tired and very quiet. We all wanted to know how
the trip had been, how uncle Paul was doing, in short: everything. Annie
answered with little detail, but I assumed it was because she was so tired
after the long trip. Still, I feared that her visit hadn’t been all that
She stayed up until ten, when we both went to bed. I had expected that she
would be too tired to make love, but I was wrong. Annie didn’t shower,
because she had showered just before we ate dinner. When I came out from my
shower, she had arranged our duvets on the floor and was lying on them,
waiting for me. I was surprised, pleasantly surprised. I had missed her
immensely. Not just making love to her. I mean, we couldn’t make love, when
she had her period, but it was the physical closeness. Even when she had her
period, we would cuddle and caress each other and that was what I had missed
the most. I guess that’s the difference between loving and making love to
We didn’t talk at all. With a growing intensity, we caressed each other.
Annie was more passionate than usual, almost craving my caresses. She
pressed my head against her pussy and my hands against her breasts. When the
time came for me to penetrate her, she pushed me over and straddled me,
sliding down over my stomach. She left a wet trail, a little like a snail. I
thought I could feel her clitoris against my skin, but it was probably my
imagination. She was very aroused. Reaching behind herself, she guided me
into her cave. In one long motion, I filled her completely.
Even though Annie moved very slowly, it was so intense. She ground herself
against me, sitting upright. I kneaded her breasts and she rotated her hips
faster and faster until she reached her climax and began bouncing up and
down. I was already on the verge of exploding. I pulled her down to me. I
wanted her close to me, wanted to hug her so tight. At a maddening pace, I
trusted into her until I couldn’t hold it back any longer. It was really
Afterwards, we lay in silence for a long time. It was then, Annie began to
talk about her trip.
‘Mom was supposed to pick me up at the airport, but she wasn’t there. I had
to find my way to the hotel myself. Your father had arranged for me to stay
at the same hotel. When I got there, I tried to phone her room, but she
wasn’t there. I was worried sick that dad’s situation had turn worse and I
rushed to the hospital.’
She sounded as if it was hard for her to tell me this, so I didn’t interrupt
her, just listened.
‘Dad was OK and it looked like he was happy to see me. Mom wasn’t at the
hospital either. It was so awkward, because I didn’t dare ask him where mom
was and he didn’t dare say, but we both knew she was out drinking. I don’t
know why, we just knew it. I mean, I told dad I had rushed from the airport
to the hotel and then to the hospital and he didn’t ask if I had seen mom.’
Annie shifted, laying her head on my chest.
‘Dad . . . we talked about him and me and he kept telling me how good it was
that I was living here. I mean, he was happy to see me and all, but
sometimes it sounded as if it was better I hadn’t visited him. Anyway, I met
mom back at the hotel. I tried her room again, but she wasn’t there. I was
going out to take a look at the city and get something to eat and for some
reason, I went into the hotel bar. There was mom.’
Annie took a deep breath.
‘She looked so . . . old. She looked like someone who had scrubbed floors
for 40 years. She looked worn out. Her eyes had no life at all. She was so
thin.’ Annie sounded weak and distressed. ‘She was drunk and began whining
about how happy she was to see me. It didn’t take long though. Then she went
on about how terrible it was that I was living here and how much she missed
me and that she had to drink to stand it. The next second she claimed she
was sober and had just had a single drink, before she was going to see dad
at the hospital. I . . . I didn’t say anything. I mean, I knew we would
start fighting if I did. Mom didn’t care. She just babbled about herself.
She was so . . . God, she was a sorry sight. She wasn’t my mom. She was . .
. she was some drunk woman in a hotel bar. She didn’t even look like my
mother used to. I don’t think she noticed it, when I left.’
Annie sniffled, but she didn’t really cry.
‘I . . . didn’t visit the hotel bar again and I didn’t see her again. I
couldn’t . . . stand the thought of her, looking like she did.’ Annie paused
and added, bitterly: ‘She was much too busy feeling sorry for herself,
Annie needed a break. I hugged her and we lay in silence for a minute or
‘I told dad about it the next day. He didn’t say much. It was like he didn’t
want to talk about it. He more or less suggested that I go back right away.
I didn’t want to. I wanted to see him and talk to him. So I stayed. I
visited him a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the
afternoon. In the evening, I just walked around. They have some great
markets there. It was good walking around and looking at all the stuff they
were selling. I didn’t get back to the hotel until midnight.’
‘You walked around all alone in the middle of the night?’ I asked, probably
‘It’s not dangerous at all. I think it is the safest place to be in the
world. I don’t’ know why, it’s just safe. Nothing happens. And it’s really
funny. There’s so much to look at. The restaurants have all kinds of live
fish and shellfish and all sort of things in buckets and containers out in
front. You can choose what you want to eat and then they prepare it for
Annie suddenly sounded much happier.
‘And the markets are so interesting. You can buy anything: watches, designer
clothing, electronics, everything and it’s really cheap.’ Annie got up.
‘Hang on a sec. I got something for you.’
When she got up, her pussy began to leak and she had to go to the toilet
first to clean up a bit. Then she went to her room and shuffled around in
her still unpacked suitcase. She came back with a little box.
‘Here. This is for you,’ she said and handed me the box.
I opened it and it was a watch. A Rolex. Here, it would cost a fortune.
‘God Annie, thanks. I . . . How could you afford that?’ I asked,
‘Don’t get too excited. It’s a copy. Everything they sell in these markets
is a copy. They’re really good at it. It’s almost impossible to tell. I
looked in some of the real shops and it looks exactly like the real thing.’
Annie said, giggling excited at my reaction.
‘Thanks Annie. It’s really great.’ I said and gave her a kiss.
We cuddled up really close again. It was so wonderful to have her back
again. I’d forgotten all about Anton. It was just us, but only until the
next day, when we were back in school. Then we were back to normal.
I hadn’t really noticed Camilla before. She was the quiet kind in school and
in between classes, she was always with two of the other girls in class. But
all of a sudden, she seemed to be wherever I was, all the time. We began to
talk a little, at first out of politeness . . . until I realised that it
wasn’t sheer coincidence that she always happened to be there.
She was a pretty girl and as time passed, I began to find her more and more
attractive. She wasn’t Annie, but maybe Annie did have a point about seeing
At the next party, I danced with her. I forgot to look for Annie and Anton
all the time. It was good. A lot better than it had been for a long time. We
danced close and kissed. Camilla was only the second girl I had ever kissed.
It wasn’t like kissing Annie, but I couldn’t say that it was better or
worse, just different. Her fragrance was different and she felt different.
I hardly noticed when I saw Anton out of the corner of my eye, walking
towards the door, hand in hand with a girl. I remember that I wondered who
it was. It wasn’t Annie.
I didn’t see Annie before we were going to leave. I had kissed Camilla
goodbye and there was Annie, alone. I suddenly remembered seeing Anton
leaving. Annie didn’t look happy at all. We began to walk home in silence.
It was November and a cold wind sweet through the streets.
‘So, what happened,’ I finally said.
‘What do you care? You were all entangled in Camilla all evening,’ Annie
‘Sorry. You know I care.’
‘Anton . . . He got tired of waiting,’ she said.
‘What do you mean, waiting?’ I asked, puzzled.
‘He wanted to have sex with me and I . . . didn’t. And then you and that . .
. Camilla are suddenly all over each other. I thought you loved me,’ Annie
I put my arms around her but she pushed me away.
‘But we didn’t . . .’ I started but Annie cut me off.
‘You would have, wouldn’t you. Your hands were all over her.’
I hadn’t realised that Annie had watched us so closely.
‘Annie, we just . . .’
‘You just kissed and groped all evening.’
I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand what I had done wrong. I mean,
she and Anton had danced and kissed. I thought they had been together
sexually too, but I was obviously wrong. Still, I hadn’t done anything with
Annie was very upset and unhappy and I assumed it was over Anton leaving her
more than me kissing Camilla. We walked the rest of the way home and went to
bed in silence.
Saturday morning, Annie slept late. I was going over to one of my classmates
to do some homework and mom was going to work for a few hours. Dad was out
playing golf with some customer and wouldn’t be home until late afternoon,
but mom and I agreed to be home around noon.
I got home at half past twelve. I didn’t pay any attention to the ambulance
as I came down our street. It wasn’t until I got into the house that I felt
that something was wrong. The silence.
I found the note from mom on the console in the hall.
‘Taking Annie to the hospital. Mom’
I can’t remember if I closed the door behind me, but I think I did. The
first taxi stopped and picked me up. I would have gotten to the hospital
whether he had stopped or not, because I stepped out in front of him. I
think the driver could feel the urgency. We speeded towards the hospital and
got there in no time at all, even though it felt like we were driving in
heavy traffic on a dead end street all the time.
She hadn’t been registered when I arrived, but the receptionist sent me to
the emergency room. I found mom in the waiting room. Her eyes were red from
crying and she looked very shaken.
‘What’s happened? Where’s Annie? Is she okay?’ I asked, frightened.
I can’t really recall the conversation we had. It’s all kind of blurred in
‘She’s . . . She cut her wrists.’
‘She . . . tried to commit suicide,’ mom whispered.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
‘What? She . . .’ I gasped, unable to believe I had heard her right.
‘She drank some vodka and cut her wrists.’
‘Is she . . .?’ I almost couldn’t say the words. It couldn’t be true. It
‘She was conscious when we got here. I don’t know how much blood . . .’ mom
wept and had to take a deep breath. ‘She . . . said that nobody loved her
anyway. Oh God, I was never good at being a mother. I should have spent more
time with the two of you. I’m . . .’
‘You’re okay mom. It’s not your fault. Anton . . . broke up with her last
night,’ I said, trying to comfort her.
‘I should have been there for her to talk instead of going to work. I could
feel she was unhappy this morning. I should have talked to her . . .’
‘I . . . I think I’m to blame too,’ I said, not really wanting to.
Mom looked up at me, puzzled. For a few seconds, she looked questionably at
me. Then it came to her.
‘Oh my god. Annie’s miscarriage. You . . . but Anton?’
‘He was just . . . I mean, even though we are just cousins and it is okay
to, you know . . . I didn’t want to . . . I didn’t dare . . . to show . . .’
I think I began to cry too.
It took a little while before I was able to speak again.
‘She is going to be okay?’ I asked, anxiously.
‘She is. She has to be.’
A very tired looking doctor came out of a room and headed towards us. It
felt as if my heart stopped. He looked so tired and sad.
‘Annie Hansen’s mother?’ he asked.
‘Is she okay?’ we both asked.
‘She’s fine. She’s a little drunk still, but she’s fine. She didn’t cut deep
enough to do any damage. I don’t think she meant to kill herself. It was
more like a cry for help. Young people often do that. She’ll be fine.’ The
doctor took a deep breath. ‘She claims she wants to go home. Unless you want
to commit her to psychiatric care, we can’t keep her. We gave her something
to calm her down and, if you decide to take her home with you, I would
recommend that she see a psychiatrist.’
‘We will take care of her. Can we see her?’ mom suddenly sounded so strong
‘She’s in there,’ the doctor pointed to the door he had just come out of.
We rushed into the room. Annie looked pale and drowsy. I don’t know if it
was the medication or the vodka. She looked up at us, seeing our tear-filled
eyes. Later I realised that it was the first time Annie had seen me cry.
‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered and began to cry too.
I was the fastest. I leaned over her and hugged her. We cried together for a
long time, just holding each other. Even if I had known what to say, I
wouldn’t have been able to speak. I was so shocked that she had tried to
take her own life and so relieved that she was all right.
When I let go of her, mom, who was standing next to me, leaned over and
hugged Annie. It took a while before any of us was ready to speak. The word
“why” was never said out loud, but Annie began to explain.
‘I . . . felt lonely. Nobody cared any more,’ she sobbed.
‘But we do care. We all care,’ mom interrupted.
‘When you . . . when I had the miscarriage, you were . . . so indifferent.
You just said that I should go on the pill. You never asked . . . about
anything. . . I needed to talk but . . .’
‘I’m so sorry . . . I just . . . I mean, I felt so sorry for you, with your
mother and all you have been through. I didn’t want to make you feel
uncomfortable . . . I just wanted to make it easy for you. I thought you
would ask if . . .’ mom’s eyes flooded again. ‘I’m a sorry excuse for a
‘It just felt so . . . like you didn’t care . . .’
‘I guess I’ve become too good at hiding my feelings,’ mom said and tried to
smile. ‘But I really do care.’
Dad suddenly came through the door.
‘Thank God you’re ok!!’ He burst out.
There was a lot of talk, a lot of tears and regrets. In the end, we all went
home. Annie was tired and drugged and she was put to bed. I sat next to her
bed all afternoon. She woke a few times, but she was too tired to really
wake up. She just looked and me and smiled weakly, before she fell asleep
again. I ate my supper in the room and moved my mattress into Annie’s room
to sleep next to her. I didn’t want her to wake up alone.
It gave me time to think. Everything that happened in the hospital was so
confusing and I hadn’t had time to think. I still can’t remember much about
what really happened, from when I saw mom’s note until we were back from the
hospital. But sitting there next to Annie’s bed gave me time to think about
I suddenly realised that she couldn’t handle everything. She had looked so
fragile, lying in the hospital bed. I knew I had to be there to help her
now. I didn’t know how, but I felt as if I was growing. I had to be strong.
I had to, because Annie needed me. I woke several times during the night. I
woke with a fear that Annie was dead and, each time, I had to touch her to
make sure she was really alive.
I wanted to tell Annie how much I loved her. I did, the few times she woke
up and I promised myself to tell her every day from now on. I don’t know why
it had been so hard to say before. Maybe it hadn’t been; maybe I just hadn’t
thought about how much it meant to Annie. I mean, we all love her and I
guess we all thought she knew that. I would hold hands with her in school, I
would kiss her. I would show everybody that I loved her. She was never again
going to doubt that she was loved, ever.
I knew it was going to take some time to get her back on her feet again. I
tried not to think about it that way. Sitting there next to her, I imagine
that she would wake up and be her old self, like she had always been, but
deep down inside I knew she couldn’t just go back to the old ways. Too much
had happened. We would have to start over again, not from the beginning,
but some things would have to be rebuilt.
However, that was tomorrow. As the night fell, I was so content just sitting
next to her, just being there, in case she woke up and needed me. Everything
else could wait until morning. It was going to be better. I wouldn’t have it
any other way!