This is a true story of me meeting my unborn daughter. A true ghost story, if you will.
The Never Born
By Christopher Michael Carter
I’m no stranger to weird and spooky occurrences. I know plenty of people who don’t believe in the supernatural at all; the only ghost they believe in is the Holy Ghost. For me, I’ve had too many encounters to write them off as fakes, hoaxes, or coincidences. For instance, my sister and her family lived next door to what used to be a mortuary and my baby nephew would frequently talk to the staircase; often having long gibberish fueled conversations in that direction. At our house there was a night I was playing cards with my mom in the dining room while my dad watched the baseball game just right in the living room. It was a good game and everything was going fine when I felt a hand firmly planted on my shoulder. Naturally I thought it was my father but quickly realized that I could still hear him in the other room. With the hand’s feeling still on my shoulder I turned and there was no one there. I freaked out, jumping up from my seat. My mom was confused and concerned as asked what was wrong and I told her. My parents were told that the old woman that used to live there ran the bar right behind the house and suggested it was probably her.
Another time in the same house, I was home sick from school. I was alone watching TV on the couch when I heard my father’s voice from outside, “Son, c’mon out here.” I stopped my show and looked outside thinking my dad had come home from work early but he wasn’t out there. ‘Maybe it was on the TV.’ I thought. I went back to watching TV when I heard him call my name and asked me to come outside again. I got up and went outside. Not only was my father nowhere around but there was absolutely no one outside as far as I could see down either side of the street. This house and several others my family and I would hear noises and movement throughout the house that my parents always wrote off as “the house settling” but I remained skeptical. I know I’ve misheard things before, such as thinking I was hearing my parents having sex night after night when it would turn out to be pigeons cooing in the attic, but once you deal with haunting related incidents you tend to question even the most common sounds.
With that said you can probably understand a bit more the story I’m about to tell you…
It was a cold January and seems even colder down in that basement I was sleeping in. I’d just recently left my wife of four years (a relationship of eight, total) and had pretty much rendered myself homeless and my friends were gracious enough to let me stay there. They had set me up with a mattress and a space heater. The heater was the type to exude heat upwards but not out and around, though it was so cold that I could literally see the heat freeze at just about a foot above the machine. I had the mattress, the “heater”, my luggage, and my guitar. I know people thought it was strange and/or stupid that I let her have the house, seeing as I was the only one working at the time. The truth is I absolutely hated that house and was quite open about my disdain for it.
It was a three bedroom, one car garage home with the outside covered in red cedar shake. I hated that house from the moment we had the walk through but she cried and sobbed and I caved against my better judgment. I can’t blame the house; it was ultimately my decision to live there. I couldn’t explain the feeling that house gave me; not accurately anyway. When I’d see the house I’d get frustrated and I saw it all too often as it was a fixer-upper that we’d been repairing ourselves, again, against my better judgment. Every day I’d wake up in that house with the horrible realization that I was indeed still there. Whenever I was in the house I felt a crippling weight and when I’d leave I’d feel relief. So, needless to say, when I told her of my leave I was more than happy giving her the house; one she would often refer to as the house of her dreams. When I had left the house for the last time a tremendous weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
The house wasn’t the only issue of course; the crumbling of any relationship never comes down to just one thing. Curious changes were coming about the year before we had gotten married. Her mood and attitude towards everything was changing; not growing or regressing but just changing. I thought it was just stress and thought it would go back to normal after the wedding. It didn’t. Everything just kept getting stranger. Her behavior was becoming more erratic and she would quickly and easily become offended by things that would be no bother to her at all just days prior. She just wasn’t the same anymore. I guess I wasn’t either. It’s natural that people change and grow but sometimes they grow apart without marital cohesion. She wasn’t the sweet, happy person she once was; no, she’d become sour and overly jealous and resentful of everyone around her.
When we started dating, there was that cohesion between us; a synergy. She dreamed of being an artist, a painter; while I dreamed of being a writer and musician among other things. We had a unified goal to be in the world of art which was one of the biggest things we bonded over. We talked about children for awhile, both agreeing to wanting a daughter. I had even named her, Lola Paige, as her first and middle name. I’d imagined her looking adorable and having features of both of her parents and couldn’t wait to meet her. As said, things took a different route and with the changes between us I was finding it less and less likely we’d be seeing a child. At one point she had what we knew was a miscarriage but didn’t say it and we wouldn’t talk about it for some time; when we did finally speak on the topic we discussed how that might have been Lola. It haunted us for some time.
My wife’s transition, or transformation, wasn’t really gradual and didn’t spawn from any specific incident; it just happened to merge from what I had fallen in love with to someone new, a stranger as if it were an alternate personality. I would propose that the miscarriage changed her if she hadn’t already been starting to act peculiar before that. Perhaps I didn’t know her at all and the first few years she was putting on a front; after all, we didn’t really know each other all too well before we started seeing each other. Any artistic aspirations she had fell by the wayside. She constantly complained of her job and said she couldn’t work and work towards her dreams simultaneously so with that said it sparked an idea in me. I crunched the numbers and realized we could make it on my check alone so we decided she should quit her draining job and focus on her painting. Just maybe, I thought, she could get back to her old happier self.
Throughout the time off, however, she didn’t do anything of the sort. She grew more into this other personality and in turn I grew more distant. I couldn’t take it anymore but didn’t have the balls to leave her. She had become so ultra sensitive, emotional, and erratic (as previously stated) that I’d worried about how she’d take it and what she would do to herself if I ever left. I tried to make it work but I couldn’t stand being married to a stranger anymore and Lola, who was once the diamond in this rough, a beautiful and hopeful image, was a distant memory. My wife would beg and beg for a child but she wasn’t seeing what I was seeing and I simply didn’t see it a safe idea.
I had emotionally left long before I did in body. Things were becoming more grim and I was feeling tethered down and out of reach of a happy life. The year was coming to a close and we had a couple of good days but I knew they’d be the last and instead of continuing back down the slope again I decided I had had enough. It was New Year’s Eve and we were set to go to our friends’ house; the very same friends whose basement I would be staying in soon. She came out of the bathroom from getting ready.
“You look pretty.” I said.
“Thank you.” She said with a certain surprise in her voice.
“Look, we need to talk…” I started.
She panicked, “What? What’s wrong?”
I proceeded to tell her everything I had been feeling and that this was it and I was indeed leaving. She cried, of course, and pleaded with me to stay and reconsider. I had made up my mind. She collapsed in tears on our bedroom floor. But then something rather curious to me came next, she said in her crying fit, “Who’s going to love me now!?” It struck me as odd and then it dawned on me that this wasn’t about me, or us. I was just filling a void and I assume Lola would do the same with her life. My decision was solidified. What sense would it make for me to stick around and growing to be a pain myself treating her worse and worse? It was the best decision for both of us.
That night I went over to my friends’ house only without her to which they were confused. I sat them down and explained the situation and they were struck wholly. I asked if I could stay there for a bit until I got back on my feet to which they agreed. I stayed up on the couch for awhile before they hooked me up with the mattress and heater in the basement.
Again, it was freezing and I lied in bed thinking of my choices, making sure I had made the right one. I cried through several nights with my tears feeling like someone dropped ice water down my face. I was alone down there in the cold and had plenty of time to think about everything. Despite knowing good and well I had made the right decision for everyone, I still had crying fits thinking about everything; the good and the bad. As I lied there on the mattress in deep thought in the darkened basement I heard a voice, “Daddy…” It sounded like a little girl. It startled me, even frightened me.
I jolted up to see a little girl standing in this dark room with me. She didn’t announce herself but I could tell just by looking at her that it was my Lola, looking to be anywhere from five to seven years old. She looked exactly how I’d always imagined her, but I couldn’t have been imagining her then; it felt too real.
“Why, Daddy…?” She asked me in her sweet innocent voice. I was shocked and stunned and had no answer but stuttering noises that may have been syllables had they ever fully materialized.
“Why did you let me die, Daddy?”
“But I… I…” I was lost beyond words.
“Why did you kill me…?” She said disappointingly. Lola looked at me with those puppy dog eyes welled up with tears and stood still asking me horrible questions I had no answer to. I rubbed my watery eyes and when I had looked back to her to comfort her, or at least try to make sense of the situation, she was gone. I was alone in the dark and cold basement; all alone. The situation gave me plenty pause and I ended up crying myself to sleep that night thinking about her visit.
The following day I had thought about it whenever I’d have a moment free to think. ‘What did she mean?’ I thought. The following night I waited for her before going to sleep but she didn’t come. I worked nights so I’d only be sleeping at night on the weekends and she’d never visit me during the day. The next weekend had come and I had thought she was done with me…but I was wrong. I was asleep this time when she came, “Daddy…”
I woke up and looked over to see her, the same as I had prior. “Daddy, why…?”
I still had no answer as I didn’t fully understand the question. She spoke again in her angelic however worried voice, “Daddy, why? Why did you leave us? Why did you leave me?”
“I didn’t want to leave you, honey. It hurts that I don’t have you.” I told her in all earnestness.
“Didn’t you want me? Why don’t you love me, Daddy?” Her question broke my heart.
“I did want you and I do love you.” I told her. She vanished before my eyes. Another night I spent crying myself to sleep only this time repeating “I love you; I do” over and over as I drifted into unconsciousness.
The next day, when my ex and I talked over the phone discussing the upcoming divorce, I had decided to bring it up to her as I felt if anyone could’ve understood it would’ve been her. She blew it off saying it was probably my conscious. Of course, why would the woman I’d just recently left care if I’m being visited by our unborn child? I never spoke to anyone else about it; it was hard enough to mention it to the girl’s would-be-mother. I still tried to piece it all together and tried just talking to the darkness in hopes that she would appear and I could speak with her however I just ended up talking to myself in an empty room. I sound crazy, huh?
I went to sleep and was awoken by a soft familiar voice, “Daddy…” I turned over and saw Lola standing at the usual place at the foot of the mattress.
“Why did you kill me, Daddy? Why did you let me die? I thought you loved me…?” It had finally dawned on me what she was asking me; what she was implicating: that my leaving my wife eliminated the possibility of this little girl being born and that, in essence, I’d killed her. All of this hit me while being questioned by the spirit of my unborn daughter.
“Sweetie, I do love you; I do. It’s hard to explain for you to understand. I had to leave. I was drowning. I was miserable. If we’d had you, there’d never be happiness and you’d grow up resenting me or both of us. I wanted you to be happy and in a safe environment. You wouldn’t want to grow up with a mean, grumpy, and bitter father. I never wanted to hurt you; I always wanted to protect you. Leaving was for the best… I know it’s hard for you to understand right now but just know that I love you and you’ll always be in my heart.”
“I love you, Daddy…” She sniffled and disappeared. After explaining myself to a child that was never born, I felt vindicated. I fell asleep peacefully with ease for the first time in awhile.
I never saw or heard from Lola again…