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Don't Go Lydia“Come on,” I beckoned, “The only way out is up.”
I reached out to open the giant metal door. Just when I was about to push-
I spun around at the urgent sound of Miraak’s voice. My heart dropped instantly. Lydia, who had fallen behind, was doubling over into a kneeling position out of agony. Without hesitation, I sprinted over to help. But I never reached her. When I was only a few feet away, Miraak had grabbed me by my shoulders and pulled me back.
“Vahl! No! Wait!” he demanded.
I didn’t listen. I squirmed and tugged as hard as I could, but with no effect. He was stronger than I was and continued to pull me backward. My eyes never left he horrendous sight of Lydia. She was on the ground now, struggling to push herself to her feet. The sound of her coughing was gut wrenching. For a brief moment she looked up and made eye contact with me. It was only then that I noticed my vision was becoming blurry from tears.
Teenage TaoismGiving birth is the closest I’d ever felt to dying.
Before that, my near death experiences had consisted only of my silent announcement of pregnancy—silent, being that my social media accounts were all deleted almost simultaneously and I never returned to school in the fall, saying without really saying that I had caught the malicious disease of “teenage pregnancy”. I’m sure the whisper spread in the hallways like the Bubonic Plague. That September, sitting at home on what would have been the first day of my senior year, I imagined friends I’d never talk to again saying “she was only seventeen, and so full of life!” at my absence in the cafeteria tables, as if they were attending my funeral instead of talking about me behind my back.
"Full of life," I had snorted then, folding a never ending stream of what had once been my own baby clothes. "Literally."
I walked around like a zombie for the months of my pregnancy, deciding t
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