Out of Reach

This is a story of a teenage romance which blossoms into something beyond beautiful. It has twists and turns, where a young couple fall in and out of love with each other and other people. How do their lives pan out in the end though?


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29. A hard goodbye before the hello

 

“Dylan.” I hear a shaky voice coming from the bed room.     

   “What’s up darling?” I ask, rushing into our room with shaving foam all over my face. I pause with my shaver in mid-air when I see Megan stood over a puddle, dressed in a damp nightdress.     

   “My waters broken.” She says, and then pulls her nightdress over her head, scrabbling for another in the draws.     

   “Okay, stay calm; I’ll be right with you.” I say, running into the bathroom and running the tap to wash my face, “just sit on the bed a minute and ring the hospital to let them know we’re on our way.” It’s the 1st of November. The baby is almost 2 weeks early.     

   “Daisy, are you dressed yet?” I shout.    

   “Nearly.” She replies.    

   “Well hurry up, the babies coming.” I run into her bedroom to see her trying to get her tights on in a rush. I help her, and then say, “I’m going to have to drop you off at granddad’s house and he will take you to school. We need to be quick so get your school bag and then get in the car. I’ll unlock it now.” I walk to the window and unlock the car with my car keys which I handily left in my work trousers last night.     

   “What about breakfast?” She asks, pulling her rucksack onto her back and fastening her shoes.    

   “You can have it at granddads.” Then I rush into my room, “Have your contractions started yet?”    

   “No, thank god.” She says calmly, like she did this yesterday.    

   “Right, get yourself in the car - it’s unlocked - and I’ll get your bag and everything else.”    

   “Okay.” She eases off the bed and I hear her creak down the stairs.     

   I frantically make a grab for all the essentials, and pick up some of Daisy’s old cream baby grows she wore when she first came out of the hospital. We haven’t gone shopping for new stuff yet, we were going to do that over the weekend. It’s Thursday. Stupid of us really.     

   Megan and Daisy are sat waiting in my car for me. A baby car seat is already sat in the back, it’s been there for a few months actually.     “You know when the baby’s born, will all our family come and see it?” Daisy asks sweetly.    

   “Yes, I’m sure they will.” Megan answers.    

   “Even Rylie and Charlotte?” Charlotte is Karen’s little girl; she’s 6 now.    

   “Yeah, they’ll pop in once they finish school, and so will you.” Megan replies again.    

   “And Mama, Gramps and Granddad?”     

   “Yes, and Grandma Kayleigh and Granddad Ben.” Megan puts in. She always makes sure that my parents are a big part in Daisy’s life.    

   “Well, this is exciting!” She exclaims. I laugh at her, because she’s so funny.    

   I make my way down Chestnut Avenue. Our village is strange; the estates named my metals, and the streets named my woods and woodland. Trees line it, big oak ones, with broad trunks and roots that crack the pavement. They have twinkly lights in them, and they’re still turned on even though it’s 5 minutes past 7. The street has a low buzz about it, people are waking up, and more cars are driving along the road. People are on bikes and waiting at the little bus stop. A bunch of secondary school children walk past our car, and they’re all laughing and rushing round each other’s feet, full of so much energy that I remember having back then.     

   I take a look at my hands. They still look young to me. Then I look at Megan’s beside me, and see that hers don’t look quite as smooth as I used to remember them.    

   I reach Megan’s family’s house, and see Jack walking up to the house. Karen is sat in her car on the drive, with Rylie and Charlotte in the back. Jack still works with Steve.     

   “Come on then kiddo. Say goodbye and good luck to mum.” I say to Daisy as I get out the car.    

   “Bye mum, good luck!”    

   “I love you sweetheart.” Megan beams.    

   “I love you too.” She shouts behind her as she runs up to the front porch, just on time to wrap her arms round Jack.    

   I give a reassuring smile to Megan and then walk up to the house.    

   “Hey Steve.” I say walking into the hall.    

   “How is she?” He asks.    

   “She’s nervous.” I say, “We must dash, thank you for taking care of Daisy, I’ll see you later.”    

   “Yep, bye.” Then I go and get back in the car.  

   “Megan, baby is struggling to breath, so we need to get him out really fast. I think you can do it in the next push, but I’m just going to give you a little help, because I’m worried he may suffocate. Okay, so you may feel like baby’s going back inside you now, I’m just gripping onto his head, and now in the next contraction-“ Megan yelps and cries. She’s been in labour for 21 hours now and I can see how tired she is.    

   “Push, push, push. That’s lovely.” I hear Megan make a sigh of relief as baby comes into the world, but I don’t hear any crying.    “Quickly now, clean him up and resuscitate him.” Yasmin says to one of the nurses. My heart drops, and I see Megan’s face contort into a crying scream. I grab her hand.    

   “It’s okay Megs, don’t worry. He’ll be fine.” We have a baby boy. I don’t believe myself, but hope that Megan does, because I’ll fall apart if she does.    

   “We are just going to take your baby boy into a different unit because his lungs aren’t working properly.” A nurse tells us, and then leaves with our baby on a tray.  

   “Megan, Dylan.” A voice appears around the door of the hospital room. It’s Yasmin, and she’s carrying our baby. My heart races; he must’ve made it. But as Yasmin steps a bit closer to us, our child looks very still in her arms.    

   “I’m afraid your baby didn’t make it.” She says solemnly.     

   My body collapses. I didn’t hear those words, but then it’s all I can hear, pinging round the walls like they’re nothing. I shut my eyes tightly until coloured shapes float round in my vision, and I grip my chest, struggling to get air. Then I’m angry at everything. It never lived, never breathed; never saw a life beyond a womb. I hear myself let out an almighty scream, a cry for somebody to change it all, for something to come crashing down on the hospital and kill us all.     

   I pull myself together to see Megan helplessly crying, curled up and defenceless. I curl up around her, holding her tight, and she pulls herself into me. Yasmin then pipes up.    

   “I know this is hard for you, but would you like to hold him?” We sit up together, and Megan nods. She holds his tiny body tight up to her chest and kisses him all over, still crying.     

   “We have taken a picture of him for you; it was taken when he was still breathing.” Her voice is steady and slow, cold and smooth, she’s done this before.     

   “Thank you-“Megan wheezes.   

 

One of the hardest parts was the car journey home, and the empty car seat we had to travel with.   “Mum’s just going to stay at Mama and Gramps” house for a little while because she isn’t very well.” I explain to Daisy, “I can’t look after her anymore, not when I have you to look after. It’s what’s best.” Her eyes fill up. She looks so young, but so grown up. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I look at her with sad eyes.    

   “Come on, sit down next to me.” I pat the sofa beside me, and she climbs on, fitting under my arm like the spare part of a jigsaw puzzle. I rock her backwards and forwards whilst she cries into my shirt. Life’s been sad since the news of baby Oliver 2 months ago. It’s all anybody thinks about. Megan is the worst though.    

   Megan has the scars of the pregnancy, the fading stretch marks, the unnecessary breast milk and the depression. She was diagnosed with it a week after Oliver was born. She isn’t the same anymore. She never sleeps; she’s constantly tired which makes her rattier. In the night I used to sit up with her and hold her whilst she cried on me. We can never have a normal conversation about what she’d like for breakfast, because it would be too normal, and she’d just cry again. She held Oliver’s body all day after the birth, and screamed at the nurse when she tried to take him away. I had to tell Megan that I wanted to hold him for a while so that I could pass him on to the nurses. She wouldn’t talk to me for two days after that.    

   “Will she ever get better?” Daisy asks me in a small voice.    

   “Of course she will. She’ll be home, don’t you worry.” I say, but I’m not so certain. This has knocked Megan off the edge.    

   “Will she be the same as before?”    

   “What do you mean before?”    

   “Will she be happy again?” She looks up at me, her eyes swollen and red.    

   “I’ll make sure of it.” And this is my vow to our daughter; I am going to make her mum happy again.  

   

“She’s not eaten anything today, but hasn’t cried that much.” Karen says. She’s taken time off work to be with her. It’s a hard time for everyone, we’re not just thinking about Oliver, but also Lucy and the child that killed her.    

   “It’s a start.” I sigh, rubbing my forehead, “Shall I go and see her?”    

   “Yeah, I think she’d like that. We need to introduce as much normality as possible, because although it’ll hurt her much more now, it will start the heeling process quicker.”    

   “Hmm, I agree. We can’t have this; Daisy’s in bits.” I shake my head.    

   “Exactly, and she’s main priority.” I walk into Megan’s bedroom, the one we played in when we were 5, the one we watched films in when we were 12, the one she told me she was pregnant in.   

   “How’re you feeling Megs?” The councillor told us we needed to talk to her a lot about feelings, because it’s better that she gets it out.    

   “Fine.” She says shortly.    

   “Budge up.” I say, squeezing into the bed with her, “Is this Bambi?”    

   “Yeah.”    

   “Why are you watching this?” I ask softly, hoping for an answer to do with emotion.    

   “I don’t know, I just fancied it.” Dead answer. This is all there is, dead space, dead conversation, dead Megan.     

   “I find it really sad when Bambi's mum dies.” I say, wanting to trigger something.    

   “Hmm.” I wrap my arms round her and she tenses up.    

   “What’s your favourite part?”    

   “The bit when thumper tries to teach Bambi to talk.” She opens up to me a bit, and I feel her muscles relax slightly.    

   “Why’s that?” One way pointless talking.    

   “It makes me laugh.” She smiles sadly to herself, but it’s a smile, and an emotion other than total sadness.    

   “Is that because it’s funny?”    

   “Yeah.” Digging so deep into everything reminds me of when Daisy was learning to talk, and I had to get her to say as much as possible.    

   “Which bit’s the funniest?”    

   “When Bambi tries to say bird.” Her face stays expressionless, cold.    

   “I like that bit too.” This is so she feels like somebody else relates to her, and that she isn’t on her own.     

   We don’t talk anymore, just sit and watch the film. Megan relaxes in my arms and eventually falls asleep, the first time for a while. I lie as still as possible and listen to her heartbeat. I like the sound, it’s steady and alive.     

   She turns in towards me and curls up, making her body seem small and fragile. Her bones are thin and her skin pulls tightly over them due to the lack of food she’s been eating.     

   I breathe in and smell Lucy’s perfume; she’s been wearing it all this time. I think of all the days we’ve spent together throughout our lives, memories flooding over me in a wave like a tsunami, and I rest my eyes indulging on them, until I’m sleeping.  

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