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Rating – R. Due to the subject.
Summary – Joey’s guilt tears her apart at the seams.
Author’s Note – The person helping most with this story knows who she is. Her knowledge and honesty make this a better story. Thank you.
‘Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song, a melody of extemporanea; and love is a thing that can never go wrong; and I am Marie of Romania.’ - Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967 Capeside, June 7th, 2001
‘Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song, a melody of extemporanea; and love is a thing that can never go wrong; and I am Marie of Romania.’
- Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967
Capeside, June 7th, 2001
Dawson imagined a thousand scenarios in his head as he was driven to the hospital. He didn’t know what was wrong, but Pacey’s tone had told him it was serious. Please don’t let her be dead, he thought. He remembered the stricken look on her face after their argument. Had she gone and done something stupid? No, Joey would never do something like that, he assured himself. But then another voice argued that the old Joey wouldn’t even contemplate suicide. The old Joey would never consider an abortion of Dawson’s child. Oh shit! The baby… He’d almost forgotten. What if it was the baby? Had she gone and had the abortion after all? Despite the fears that linked to this, he already knew that his primary concern was for Joey. He loved her more than anything. He had to know she was all right before he would be able to worry about anything else.
As soon as the car stopped in the car park, he jumped out and ran towards the emergency entrance. He found himself in a large room full of chairs and people waiting for news. There was a reception ahead of him, but he saw Pacey, Jack, Jen and Jen’s grandmother.
"What’s happened?" he demanded. Jen had been crying, and Jack and Pacey exchanged uncomfortable glances. Pacey stepped forward, and placed a hand on Dawson's shoulder.
"Joey’s Ok," he said calmly. Dawson let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.
"Thank God. You had me imagining the worst cases," Dawson admitted. Jen let out a sob, and rested her head on her grandmother’s shoulder. Dawson noticed the old lady’s eyes were filled with compassion and understanding. "What?"
"D man, she miscarried. The baby’s gone," Pacey said quietly. The colour drained from Dawson’s face.
"What?" he said, his voice strained.
"She was at my place, and she got cramps. We called Jen’s grandmother over, and she told us to get to the hospital. The doctor came out a few minutes ago and told us she had a miscarriage." Dawson’s hand flew to his mouth, and he felt a hand rest on his shoulder. He turned and saw it was his mom’s. He hadn’t realised that she’d caught up with him.
"Bessie?" he asked, his mind not quite grasping what had happened.
"She came just before the doctor came out. She’s in with Joey at the moment. Look, man. I’m sorry," Pacey said, knowing words couldn’t express his concern. Luckily, he didn’t have to search his vocabulary banks, because Bessie walked up to them. She gave a half-smile of support to Dawson.
"How is she?" Dawson asked.
"Physically, she’s fine. The doctors want to keep her in overnight, to make sure there are no complications. But she’ll be discharged tomorrow morning. Emotionally… she doesn’t want to talk about it. When I pushed, she asked me to leave. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. For the past couple of months… she’s changed completely. I don’t know what to do. You must have seen the change in her… especially you, Dawson. It’s like she’s been distancing herself from us all. And I’m scared of what might happen if we can’t reach her." Bessie sat down, and put her head in her hands. Gail sat beside her, and hugged her, trying to give her comfort.
Capeside, June 9th, 2001
Joey tried not to notice the stares that she received as she walked down the hallway at Capeside High.
"Isn’t she the one that’s pregnant?" one freshman whispered to her friend.
"I heard she had a miscarriage," her friend replied.
"Do you know about her father?" another girl said.
"Of course. Like there’s anyone who doesn’t know her history."
"I used to look up to her – I mean look at her, perfect boyfriend, she’s pretty, she’s gonna be valedictorian… but now? My parents say she’s just like her sister…" Joey fought against the hot tears that formed in her eyes, determined to stop the flow. Finally, she reached her destination. She tapped at the door, and a voice told her to enter. She was in the principal’s office. Principal Markey signalled for her to sit down, so Joey obeyed.
"Joey," Joey corrected absently.
"Joey," the principal acknowledged. "I asked you here today to discuss our course of action. You have been absent from school now for a number of days. I’ve heard about the tragic events of a few days ago."
"I’d rather not discuss that," Joey inserted.
"Fine. That’s understandable. But I have to ask if you will be returning to classes before graduation. As you know, you are your class’ valedictorian, and I am concerned about your missed classes. Believe it or not, but this last few weeks before you finish high school is incredibly important. And not just academically. Socially. Surely you’ll miss seeing your friends when you go to university? This is your last chance to see people you like on a daily basis. Once at the work place, you’ll have to put up with people you can’t stand. Here, you can be with your friends."
"My friends? As I was walking here, I heard about a dozen conversations about me. Most of them exaggerated, but they hurt. My years here have been filled with this, and I can’t wait to get away."
"That may be, Joey. But the question remains – will you be attending classes?"
"Yes. I will."
"Good. It’s the right decision. And don’t let the gossip get to you. You’re stronger than that. Now…I believe you offered to sing for us at the graduation ceremony. Is that offer still current?" Joey nodded. She’d started music classes in her junior year, and regularly sung at school functions. "Thank you. I think we’ll have you perform after your speech as valedictorian, if that suits you?" Again, Joey nodded. "Thank you Joey. I think that’s all. I would like to see you back at school on Monday, if that’s not too soon after…"
"That will be fine," Joey answered, avoiding the m word at all costs. "Goodbye." She walked out of the room, happy to be leaving the school for a few more days.
Capeside, June 18th, 2001
‘Leaves are falling,
And something is calling me here.
The state of depression that I’m walking in,
Got the impression that I won’t stay here long.
I know I am like this,
But still I don’t know what to do.
The sky is darkening,
I can feel it in the air.
My heart is sinking.
I know winter’s on its way.
I know I am like this,
But still I don’t know what to do.
I know I am like this.
Oh sister, show me what to do
I know there’s a way to get this another day.
When will I know if there’s a way for me?
I want to lie in the sand and have the sun shine on me.
Is that way too much to ask?’
I won’t stay here long – Sixpence None The Richer
Joey was sat in her room at Mrs Ryan’s house in complete darkness. Despite the bright sunlight that danced outside, celebrating the first really hot day of the summer, Joey had drawn the blinds, and was lying on her bed. Mrs Ryan was concerned for her. Despite, or maybe due to, her family’s actions, Joey was a vulnerable girl. She was intelligent, loving and caring, but now she was distant. Joey had cut herself off from the outside world. She had been attending school for a week, but Jennifer had told her grandmother that Joey refused to speak in class, sat by herself in the cafeteria, left school as soon the last bell went, and could often be found with her eyes shut. Mrs Ryan had seen this herself. Joey would sit with her eyes screwed shut for half an hour at a time, as if deep in thought. The older woman just hoped that someone would be able to break through the shield Joey had constructed. And she doubted it would be Dawson. The boy seemed wrapped in his own grief, as well as confused by Joey’s feelings. Mrs Ryan sensed that if Joey couldn’t be reached, she would be forever lost in this depression. So Mrs Ryan decided to introduce Joey to the one stable thing in her own life – the teachings of Jesus.
Capeside, June 20th, 2001
Joey sat on the pew, eyes screwed shut, palms facing each other. The silence of the church enabled her to feel safe. It was strange - after her mother’s death, Joey hadn’t liked silence. Now she found solace in darkness and isolation. Joey told herself that she didn’t deserve company. The guilt that she felt tore her apart inside, but Joey knew it was her punishment. She hadn’t been content with what she had already received. It was her greed that caused her so much pain now. She had come to believe that she was self-destructive. Feelings of responsibility she had buried after her mother died resurfaced. Although she knew it wasn’t her fault her mother had died, part of her still blamed herself for it. And it was her fault her father went to prison – he had been struggling to provide for the family, and that was what had forced him to commit the felony. And Joey knew that if she hadn’t have been born, her parents would have been able to provide for the three of them. It was the second child, the unplanned one, which had put the extra strain on her parents’ finances.
And now the child that she had lost weighed heavily on Joey’s guilty conscience. That had been her fault, too. If she had cared for the baby, instead of deciding to get rid of it, maybe she would still be pregnant. She had been selfish, putting her own desires in front of the baby’s welfare. She had deserved to loose it. But Dawson hadn’t deserved to loose his child. And the baby had done nothing wrong – so why did it deserve to die? It was her fault. She had smoked, knowing she was pregnant. She had even made, although she had not gone, an appointment to have an abortion. She had never wanted the baby. Not until she had lost it. As soon as she felt cramps, deep inside her, she had known what was going on. The technical terms the doctors had used when she was brought into the emergency room hadn’t consoled her. She knew she was losing the baby. But she wanted to keep it. In that moment, she had wanted the baby so badly. But she had been bad, so she had been punished. And she didn’t blame God for that. He was trying to make her a better person. From now on, she wouldn’t be selfish. She would put others before herself.
In the church, Joey knelt down, and muttered a prayer to the God she knew existed. She didn’t believe the viewpoint that if God was all caring, why did pain exist? She knew the truth. That God made people more perfect by correcting their faults. And the pain that she felt was her fault. Unfortunately, she had caused pain for those around her.
"God, please save others from me. Please take care of my mother, and my baby. Please enable me to become self-dependent. Stop me from harming others. Thank you for your punishments." She got up off the floor, and swept a tear from her eye.
‘I’m falling deeper than the ocean,
I am lost in this emotion.’
Capeside, June 22nd , 2001
Dawson watched Joey. It was Monday afternoon, seventh period. On Wednesday, they finished high school. They would each be going to universities, starting a new phase of their lives. Dawson had known that he and Joey would have to say goodbye, but they had both chosen colleges in the same state. At least they would be able to visit each other. But now… Dawson didn’t know her. She had shut herself off, and it hurt Dawson so much. He saw her walking around the school lifelessly. Ever since the miscarriage, it was as if she had given up the will to live. Her hair hung round her face, dull and messy. She never wore makeup. She wore baggy jumpers and sloppy jeans that covered her wonderful figure. There was a time Dawson had been jealous of every guy who looked at his girlfriend. Even when they were friends, he had been aware of how attractive she was, even if she denied it. The first time they had made love… God, she was perfect. And she had been so surprised and proud of the way he wanted her. But no longer... Joey walked around the school like a zombie. If she said the word, he would take her back instantly. But she didn’t want him anymore. And he never got to say that tearful goodbye.
Ok, so it’s short, I know. But it’s taken a life of its own. I had the parts planned out, but they’re not going to fit exactly anymore. I hope that this part hasn’t disappointed you. Holly, thanks for your words of encouragement. Please feel free to read the discussion on this series. Please send feedback, but not abuse.
24th August 1999
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