*Mary Is Dead* (1)  

You need a laparoscopic operation, said Dr. Merrick.
Julia carefully re-arranged her skirt and looked up. What is it, please?
A minor surgery. We must make sure everything is all right; there might be some internal blockage that prevents you from getting pregnant.
Julia nodded. She felt something was out of order, and the surgery sounded right.
She thought she knew where she had that internal blockage, if not in the ovaries or the tubes. In the head. Several months passed since she had decided to have a baby and raise it on her own, but she did not have a father for it yet. She had tried to turn to some of her male friends she trusted, asking them to help her with artificial insemination, but they all refused. The stumbling block was that the men she trusted were all too good to let their baby grow away from them, not even knowing who its father was. And they all were already engaged.
Well, there was a man, Pearl by name... Strictly speaking, it was his nickname. Well, he was a pearl. A gem. A good and loyal friend who once had been interested in Julia, and at the moment was pining for Kelly Capwell. Unfortunately the girl was hiding as she was accused of the first degree murder, and Pearl could do nothing about it. Even the omnipotent Capwells failed. Even Kellys brother Mason Capwell who was the D.A. could not help her. So Pearl was just pining away not that anyone noticed. He was a hoot.
Julia had discussed her problem with Pearl, not once, and finally he said he could help her with this intimate issue. To have him undergo the humiliating process of collecting the sperm was oh well, it was a tragicomedy, no, a tragifarce. Every time Pearl swore he would never ever do that again but he had already done it three times. All to no effect.
A surgery sounded just correct.
Julia felt with the friends she had she had no right to complain, but still, she felt oh so lonely and so much on her own in this matter of life and death!
Julia? asked Dr. Merrick.
She smiled with her lips trembling.
Ok. I am ready.
He wrote out a list of tests she had to take before, and appointed the surgery. Late December. Just a few weeks ahead.
Itll be ok, he assured her. General anaesthetic, youll feel nothing.
And what if if I cannot conceive, Bill?
The surgery is not only a diagnostic measure, Julia. Sometimes we need to fix the minor problems there can be with the tubes, or the ovaries, or the uterus, you know. Dont worry. Trust me, it will be all right.
Thank you, Bill, said Julia pulling on her best look of control. Im sure it will if youre in charge.
She left the room and walked a few steps along the corridor, distracted.

Strange sounds made her stop.
No, no, no, it cant be, she made out. Then there were open sobs. It sounded as if someones heart was breaking.
Shes gone, son, shes gone.
This soothing voice was familiar. She just could not remember --
No, she cannot be. Let us fly the best obstetricians in, dad, please, will you just phone Dr.
Son, shes gone. Please, Mason
Mason? It did not sound like Mason at all. Always cool and collected, so reserved, ironic and haughty what was up?
Julia turned round the corner to see CC Capwell hugging his first-born. Masons face was distorted. He was sobbing and clutching at CC like a child.
A mis-take, Dad, there must be a mistake. Let me see her let me talk to her Why oh why gone
Julia felt tears coming up. Hed mentioned an obstetrician, and yes, this was the obstetrics floor; it could mean only one thing. Mary Duvall Capwell, Masons wife, she must have died in labor.
Oh, Julia thought, was it a sign for her maybe she should not seek to have a child, after all, maybe she was not destined to
How could she be so selfish!
She ran to CC and Mason.
What is is it Mary? she asked.
No heed.
Mr. Capwell, said a nurse who hurried out of the ward. Do you want to see your son?
Now Mason did raise his head. He slowly turned on to the nurse, and she shrank back.
The piece of flesh that tore my wife to pieces? Her murderer? Do I want to see it?
The nurse stepped back, obviously terrified by the vehement reaction.
I do not want to see it never, I want to have nothing to do with it! You hear, I do not want to
His voice broke. Julia stared, dumbfounded. She did not even feel the tears streaming down her face.
Id trade its life for Marys any moment. Id trade anyones life for hers everybodys if I needed to I she--
The almighty CC Capwell looked helpless.
Mason fell down onto a bench and hid his face in his hands.
Never had Julia seen him lose it like this. Never had she suspected he was even capable of such sincere and frantic emotion.
Julia knew she was a complete stranger in this superhuman grief but for some reason she felt she could not just walk away and draw a curtain on this picture.


Chapter 2
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