"I didn't mean to sleep so long auntie, but I can help you with supper," Sydney offered running into the kitchen at her aunt's house in the large city.
"Oh my, that's not necessary. It's ready now so sit down and let's eat. It's only scrambled eggs and fresh bread."
After the two women had eaten and washed and dried the dishes, Aunt Rose said kindly, "Lets go and visit now. Tell me about yourself, Sydney."
Rose carried the kerosene burning lamp into the living room amd motioned Sydney to a soft chair. Rose sat down and tucked her feet under, and her hair which she wore swept up in a loose knot tumbleded crookedly. Tendrils brushed her face. Her elegant red satin robe glowed in the shaded lamp light, as she settled back and smiled at her young neice.
"Now don't worry about anything sweetie, you safe here with me. Your ma said you're expecting." Her aunt's face softened now as she continued, "I'll help you, but, what about the baby's father? Didn't he want to get married?"
Sydney sat huddled in the corner of the chair. Her faded dress wrinkled and tight over the small bulge at her waistline. She started to cry and said softly, "I'm so sorry to burden you Aunt Rose, but I wrote to him many times, but he didn't come over. I guess he didn't care." She said tearfully, feeling ashamed and bewildered. "Dad went to find him, but he had left. His family didn't know where though." Wiping her eyes on her sleeve she said bravely, "I want to keep my baby, and raise it somehow."
Rose got up and came over and put an arm around Syd's shoulder. "Well Sydney, I've been thinking and I have a plan. You can live with me and help me in my shop. I sew for people and my business is growing."
She took a lace hankie and reached over and wiped Syd's eyes and then her own. "I've never married and I get lonely at times. We can work this out."
Sydney sat up straight and pushed her damp hair out of her eyes and smiled for the first time in months. Now the sixteen year old finally saw a way.
The weeks and months passed swiftly, and Syd was busier than ever in her life. She had learned to sew from her mother and her stiches were fine and accurate and her fingers flew. She had grown used to the lights, smells and noise of the city by now, and thrilled to the bigness of everything.
Aunt Rose was like a mother hen to her, affectionately clucking over her to eat more and rest. Her cheeks grew rosy and the wonder of the baby growing in her stomach made her eyes shine. And the hurt and loneliness was lessening.
One day as they were sitting gathering stitches on a ball-gown, Sydney sat up suddenly with a start. Her hands flew to her stomach and her work rolled to the floor.
Jumping out of her chair, Aunt Rose exclaimed in alarm, "Syd, what is it?"
"I don't know for sure, but I think the baby is coming!" She wailed.
"Oh no, it's too soon! Just sit quietly and we'll see," Aunt Rose whispered.