She was lying half-dead in the alley behind the bar. Only moments earlier she had shot up. Her earlier fix was beginning to wear off. She could hear a noise from behind her but her body did not want to move.
A bag of cement felt lighter than she did. Her eyes closed, needle laying in her hand. Soft rain falling on her bare legs the soft cry continued. God help me or kill me. I don’t want to end up dead like the others were her thoughts.
Less than an hour ago a stranger had taken her to this alley and stuffed some bills in her hand. He pleasured himself at her expense and then left her there. The only way she knew how to rid the guilt and shame was to forget it through a drug.
Sara had been kicked out by her mom a year ago. Her mom was an alcoholic. Sara couldn’t even begin to count how many men went in and out of her mom’s bedroom door. All it took was one guy, one jack-ass to say they could have more fun if they could just have the house to themselves; and out on the streets she went.
She was too young to get enough pay to have a roof over her head. All she knew how to do was be a stupid waitress. The pay was squat. Through customers she had met another young girl like herself. They got to talking and in no time at all Sara moved in with her.
What the new friend omitted from the conversations was that she was a hooker. Through learning how to dress and apply her make-up it took very little time and Sara was out hooking also.
She still had very little money turning her profits over to her John. But she did manage to have enough money to pay her half of the rent and put a little food in her gut. Now she was here lying in the dark left to die.
Oh please dear God hear my cry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I never wanted to be my mother. Please help me Lord. I know I don’t usually talk to you, but right this minute I am dead serious.
She floated in and out of sleep. Her body healing once again. The drug having kicked in she was a little more stable. When her eyes did open she could faintly hear the cry in the background.
Where is that coming from? It sounds like a baby? She somehow managed to pull herself together and sit in an upright position. She was leaning against the big rusty dumpster. She heard the cry again. Help me Lord. Someone needs my help, please Lord help me do this.
She stood on wobbly legs and saw the syringe in her hand. She looked at it and then threw it as hard as she could down the alley. I don’t want to do this anymore God. I need you right now.
The dumpster was about two feet taller than her. She found some old plastic milk crates and stacked two of them and climbed on top and peered down into the trash. Oh my god, there is a baby laying there. She leaned over as far as she could but she couldn’t touch the baby.
She went and got two more crates and standing on them she was able to grab the baby. She pulled it up and out and hugged it to her chest. She had no idea how long the baby had been there but the little one was cold.
Sara had nothing to put on the baby. She laid it down on and dug through the trash. She found a few newspapers that were cleaner than the others and wrapped the baby up and as she hugged him she kept muttering, it’s going to be ok baby. It’s going to be ok. Hush my little baby don’t say a word. I won’t let anything happen to you like it did with me.
Sara didn’t really think anymore. She took the baby and went to her apartment. It was quiet. Her room-mate must be out on a job. She ran some warm water in the kitchen sink. She got one of their clean dish towels and one of her own tank tops.
Gently she lowered the baby into the warm water. Singing Rock-A-Bye-Baby she took great care to make sure the baby was clean all over. She found two bobby pins and used these to keep the home-made diaper on. She carefully placed the shirt on. Then she got a bath towel and wrapped the baby up.
The two of them laid on the bed and then both drifted into sleep. Soon the front door opened and her roommate came in. She stood in the bedroom door way with mouth gaped open.
“What in the hell is this? Who’s baby is that? Did you take up baby sitting now?” the roommate asked.
“I found him in the alley. He was crying. I had to help him.”
“You can’t keep no baby here. What are you going to do with him? What are you going to do take him along with you on your job?” the girl asked with laughter.
” I’m going home. I don’t want this life anymore. I am done with drugs. I am sick of men. I never asked for this life. You forced it on me”.
” What, you think you’re going to keep that thing? You, a mom? Don’t make me puke!”
Sara ignored her as her fingers played softly with the baby’s fingers. She got up off of the bed and took her suitcase out of the closet. Anything she could stuff in it, she did. Her roomy threw her arms up in the air saying, ” Girl you are a lost cause. Don’t try running back here when you sink out there. I gave you a chance and now you are blowing it.” She turned and left the room.
Sara grabbed the baby. Threw her purse over her shoulder and with the other hand grabbed her bag and the two left the apartment never to look back.
Actually Sara was not going home. She was not welcome and she didn’t want this innocent baby thrust into that atmosphere. She walked for blocks. Her legs were becoming weak. The drug had worn off, but she didn’t care. She was done with it all. This baby needs me. I need this baby.
It was getting very late and the chill of the night was going straight for her bones. She drew the towel closer around the baby. She had walked about another block when a police car pulled up to them.
” May I help you?’ he asked after he rolled his window down. At first Sara ignored him. After all he was a pig. Pigs were bad. Pigs put you in jail. The cop snailed along beside her. She kept walking.
She heard his car door. He was getting out. Then he was standing right in front of her. ” What’s going on here Miss? Are you in trouble? Look I can help just tell me what the problem is.”
Sara looked in to the officer’s eyes. She knew that she had no where else to turn. She spoke softly, ” I found this baby. I took him home with me and gave him a bath. I dressed him. He needs me and I need him. I am going to take care of him. Can you help us?’
The officer’s heart melted. He recognized the woman as a hooker. He had arrested her many months ago. He hadn’t seen her on the streets for so long he figured she had gotten her act together.
He led the two back to the car. He radioed in that he had a female with him and he was going to a homeless shelter to drop her off. He started the car and they went to the home. Before letting her out he told her, “It is late lady. I will be back tomorrow afternoon. We will then take the baby to the hospital to have it checked out. I will go back to the station and see if I can find any info out on him.”
Sara nodded and got out of the car. The officer carried her bag and let the two in the front door. He explained to the woman behind the desk that these two needed a safe haven for the night and he would be back tomorrow to pick them up. Then he said, “good nite, see you tomorrow”.
Was this cop for real? He didn’t even take me in to the cop shop? Who was this guy? I am not going to stay here and delay the obvious fact that he will take my baby tomorrow. I must leave now.
It was as if someone had a hold of her shoulders keeping her in place. Her mind wanted to flee but her feet stood their ground. The lady led them to a small room. It had a twin bed and one shabby dresser with paint chipped off. There was a portable closet where she put her bag.
The lady left them and Sara laid on the bed putting the baby on her stomach. She could feel the grumbling of the baby’s tummy. Food, oh my god, this baby is probably starving. How long has it been since he has eaten? What does he eat?
She looked at him trying to guess his age. She looked in his mouth but saw no teeth. She got up and took the baby back to the front desk. She explained to the woman, ” We had to leave in such a hurry I forgot to pack the baby’s bottles and food. Is there any way you can help us?”
The lady said,”just a moment, let me go check. We have a pantry back here where people drop off donations”. A few minutes later the woman came back with two jars of baby food and three pre-filled bottles. She handed them to Sara with a smile, ” I hope this helps.”
Sara thanked her and returned to her room. She was looking at the baby food jars when a knock at the door sounded. When she opened it there was the woman with a baby spoon, some baby clothes and a box of diapers.
Tears welled in Sara’s eyes. She had only known this baby a few hours and yet she loved him more than life. Grateful for the items she took them and thanked her.
She opened the one jar of applesauce and fumbled the first few tries of feeding the baby. It was if she could not get the food in that sweet little mouth fast enough. Afterwards she opened up one of the bottles and the baby drank until it was empty.
Sara took the towel and the tank top off. She put a clean diaper on and dressed him. Her heart fell to her knees as she picked him up and he smiled at her. She placed him next to her heart and whispered, ” I love you baby. I am going to name you Joseph. I learned about him when I would go to that church when I was a kid. Joseph, yes it fits you perfect.”
The two laid back down and sleep came easily. The next morning the woman appeared at her door with new bottles and two more jars of baby food. She had also brought Sara a tray with some boxed cereal and a cup of milk. One cake doughnut was there also. Sara smiled at the woman. ” I will never forget you mam. You have done more for my baby and me than my own mom.”
” I know life can be tough. I have had my share of sorrows in life too. You two just rest until the officer comes back.”
The baby napped and Sara got her bag out of the closet. She took some clean clothes and went into the bathroom and washed up as good as she could with what she had. She came back out to check on Joseph. She thought back to how her own mom had kicked her out so easily. Was a man’s attention so powerful that it overtook your own children? I would never do that to you little one. No matter what happens in life I will never do that to you.
Lunch time came and a sandwich and chips and a carton of milk were given to her. After she ate the door sounded and when she opened it there stood the officer. She let him in and he stood gazing out the one window. It was if he was trying to figure out the correct wording he wanted to say.
He turned to Sara and said, ” I have checked the files. There is no report of any lost or stolen baby. The hospital has no records of anyone coming through the ER for maternity care. I have a feeling this baby was plain not wanted. It is a darn shame when things like this happen. I think some kind of miracle happened here. What do you think?”
Sara looked at him and then lowered her eyes. She wasn’t sure where he was going with this conversation. She went to the bed and picked up baby Joseph and rocked him in her arms.
The officer could see that this woman cared for this baby. He tapped his fingers to his lips and then said, ” I have an idea. Do you want to hear it?” Sara nodded. ” I know of a place about five miles from here. It is a home where girls go to have their babies. Now this place is a little different. The people there teach you how to properly care for a baby. They exam the baby and make sure he is alright and they make certain medical care is provided. They set you up with counselors and help you get a job. The state comes in after paper work has been approved and pays for your transportation and baby care. What do you think about going there?”
Sara had fat tears streaming down her cheeks. She quickly thought back to the alley. The alley where she had almost killed herself. The blackened space where she cried out to God for help. There must be a God. There has to be a God. This should not be going this way. Oh God you have answered me. You have heard my cries.
She told the officer,”Yes, I will go there. I need all the help I can get to be the best mommy ever to Joseph.”
“Joseph? You named him already? Now I want to remind you of something very important young lady. This is not a permanent situation. The search will continue to find who this baby belongs to. When we find the mother, you will have to give um Joseph up. Do you understand?”
Sara nodded but for the first time in her life she felt confident that she was going to be Joseph’s mother for the rest of her life.
The officer waited for her to gather her things together. After helping her get everything in the car they drove the silent drive to their new home. A large white house with black shutters adorning each sparkling window. A huge wrap-a-round porch with a porch swing and several rockers spaced around.
They were led into the house by the house manager and shown to their new room. She gasped as she saw the pretty pink bedspread with ruffles all around the edges. Pink matching curtains stood surrounding the window. In one corner was a rocking chair. Beside the rocker was a crib. In the crib was a stuffed animal and a quilt for the baby.
There were not one but two dressers for their clothes and a closet you could walk into. Sara laid down little Joseph in the crib and walked over to the house parent and gave her a big hug. With tears rolling down her face she said, ” thank you so much for helping us Marge. Thank- you God for hearing my prayers”. The manager glanced over at the policeman and saw watery eyes.
It just so happened that this officer was not only a policeman protecting the city, he was also a teacher for high-school students at a church near by. The policeman bid his farewells and are you surprised to know that they never found that baby’s mother? Are you shocked at the miracle that has been performed by our almighty father in heaven?
God works in mysterious ways. His ways are not our ways. His reasons are not our reasons. But when he knows we are sincere and we are ready to make a change for the positive he can move mountains.
There was a rumor about a year later that one of the ladies at the homeless shelter was starting her first year in college. Her baby was walking and had quite a vocabulary at such a young age.I sure hope it was Sara and Joseph, the officer thought to himself.