The girl’s eyes were red and her cheeks were still wet from all of the crying she had done.

        “You don’t understand!” Birgitte cried out as she clenched her growing belly. At sixteen years old, she had become a statistic. Nine months pregnant, her parents constantly bitched at her, shoving it in her face about how she had ruined her life. The pregnancy had been a shock to the blond teenager. She and her African boyfriend had always made sure to pull out before he climaxed. When she’d told him she was pregnant, he had expressed his displeasure in spades, instantly leaving her instead of staying by her side. As a result, they’d had little contact. It was her against her world, or at least just her parents. Birgitte was told she’d have to give the child up, but in her heart, she didn’t want to do that. Still…she didn’t have a lot of choices, because she had no help.

 

“Leave me alone!” Birgitte cried in her native German. She sprung to her feet as quickly as she could, wiping her tear stained cheeks with her hand.

She was set to have her baby any day, and the stress from the situation, as well as her parents, was too much for her. Walking as fast as she could go, she grabbed her heavy wool coat with the hood and gloved up. As quickly as her awkwardly shaped body would carry her, she rushed past the straw goat, symbolically placed near the Christmas tree to guard it.

“Where are you going?” her mother asked, anxiously drying her hands on an apron.

“Away from you!”

“The weather is horrible, Birgitte, you can’t go anywhere right now!”

“Try and stop me!” she yelled as she stormed out of the house.

“Birgitte!” Her mother’s voice could be heard from the doorway as she made her way down the steps.

        The cold wind felt like razor sharp needles on her face as it knocked relentlessly against Birgitte, who struggled to walk in the thick snow. As she trudged along, she grappled with turning back around and returning to the warm house, but her stubborn will kept her moving forward.

“Where the hell am I going?” she asked aloud. She had little money—only a few francs; she had no plan. All she held in her hand was the keys to the old car and her purse. That was reality and her frosted words hung in the air, her breathing, quick and sharp. Finally reaching the barn, she opened the door and spotted the old car. Yanking open the door, she shivered as she settled in on the cold vinyl seat, which creaked in retaliation. Throwing her purse on the seat next to her, she shoved the key into the ignition.

“Come on,” Birgitte urged, turning the key, and pumping the gas. It had been a while since she had been in the car, so she expected that it might not start up right away. But right now, she needed it to behave and get her the hell out of there. She kept trying until she heard the familiar sputter, followed by the hum of the engine.

Pulling out of the barn, she didn’t even close the door behind her. She veered off down the driveway and onto the road, which was in rough condition, like it was every winter. She knew the road like the back of her hand and she understood that navigating the car in this weather would take some skill. Hopefully she had it.

      As she rounded a corner a sharp pain shot through her. “Ahh!” Birgitte gasped. She applied the brakes a little too hard and the car went into a tailspin on the ice. Holding onto the steering wheel she turned round and round until it made a hard stop against a tree.