She leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes. Oh, this couldn't be. Not now, not yet. She was too young for a baby - far too young. Only 17. And a 17-year-old can't mother a child.
There was only one thing to do. She called an abortion clinic and made an appointment. And that was that. Everything was taken care of. In a few weeks, it would all be over, and no one would ever have to know.
She drove herself to the clinic. A short car trip, and a plain white building rose up before her, its sign proclaiming "Women's Center" in bright but faded letters.
She pulled in, parked her car, and walked through the door. But it wasn't an abortion clinic, the lady inside said - the lady with the gentle voice and soft sad smile. It wasn't an abortion clinic, but they could help her. Would she let them?
When she walked out of the center, a new hope had blossomed in her heart. She would not have an abortion; though she was sure of nothing else, she was sure of that. And though she could not give the baby a home herself, perhaps someone else could...
It was a difficult decision to make, but she made it. A beautiful baby boy was born, a soft pink angel with big blue eyes; and, so soon it seemed a moment had scarcely begun, she entrusted that angel, her darling, to new and loving arms. The tears of joy that shone in his new parents' eyes checked the tears of sorrow in her own. She let go of him, let go with love; and they held him close with infinite tenderness. Alexander Hark, they named him - and Alexander Hark, Alexander Hark, Alexander Hark she repeated to herself, for the next thirty years.
She leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes. Oh, this couldn't be. Not now, not yet. She was too young to have cancer - far too young. Only 47. And a 47-year-old can't die.
It was going to be alright, the nurse told her - the nurse with the gentle hands and sweet girlish smile. It was going to be alright, because a young doctor of the city had just discovered a way to treat this cancer before it went too far, and already several lives had been saved by his surgery.
This young doctor's name was Alexander Hark.
There was only one thing to do. She made the appointment with a hard-pounding heart. Of course, she told herself, of course there may be many Alexander Harks in the world. There may be dozens. This surely wasn't her Alexander Hark.
But when he walked into the room to shake her hand and say hello, his large blue eyes left no room for doubt. This was her Alexander Hark, her soft pink angel whom she'd given up for love. She couldn't help it; she broke down in tears. And when he expressed in halting sympathy that it was alright, that she need not fear the surgery, she shook her head and wiped her eyes and explained as best she could. It was a strange question, she knew - a ridiculous question - but was he the same Alexander Hark who had been adopted by childless Mr. and Mrs. Hark, thirty years ago?
She broke down again then, and he broke down; and for a moment no words were said. Then he took her in his arms and held her close, as she had held him close so many years ago; and he whispered in her ear,
"You gave me my life - now I will save yours!"