At the age of nineteen years, beautiful, vivacious, Heather Brown came to London. Her parents had died in a vehicular accident. An only child, she sold their assets and obtained enough money to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. She enrolled in a nursing school and got a job working at night at a pub in Soho. Heather became popular with the patrons, especially University students, who visited the pub on weekends. They often tried to date her, but she laughed off their attentions. One evening, three of them waited as she left the pub. They were intoxicated. They offered to escort her home, but she politely refused the offer.
“Come on Heather, be our friend.” They chanted, following her.
Worried, she quickened her pace and they also quickened their steps. The deserted road shone from a brief shower of rain. She pulled her grey coat tighter around her, for the night chilly. The sound of the footsteps behind her, echoed in the quiet night, coming near her. She started to run, but they caught her by a dark ally, held her, and dragged her into it. The faint smell of garbage permeated the air as though complementing the dastardly act being carried out on the young woman. One put his hand over her mouth muffling her screams, and the third pulled her clothes off. She feebly tried to push him away.
“Please don’t” she kept mouthing.
His two friends called to him when he finished, “Come on, Roger, it’s time to go.”
He contemptuously threw a ten pound note on the ground.
“Take that bitch, you’re worth much less.”
Sobbing, she made her way home to her rented room. The next morning she returned to the ally, picked up the ten pound note, folded it and put it into her purse.
Heather no longer smiled and the students no longer visited. The pub owner couldn’t understand what had happened, but though a worried man, for his sales were down, he kept his employees on.
In a deep state of depression, she stopped going to classes and blamed herself for what had happened, she had been too friendly. It took a tremendous effort on her part to go to work in the evenings. Six weeks later she discovered that she was pregnant.
She found out the name of the student who had assaulted her- Roger Heap. She called the University and asked to speak to Mr Heap.
He came on the line, “Heap here.”
“This is Heather from the ‘River Pub’
“Who are you? What are you talking about?”
“You raped me!”
The line went dead.
Heather struggled through her pregnancy. It was hard, extremely hard. She tried as best as she could to hide her condition, but eventually her pregnancy became evident. While he liked Heather, he couldn’t have a pregnant, unwed young woman, serving at his tables. He terminated her services. With no wages and little savings she was unable pay her rent. The landlady, unsympathetic to her plight, suggested she have an abortion, but Heather had enough courage to reject the idea.
She cried herself to sleep each night and every morning she went out looking for work. Into her eight month her landlady put her out. Struggling with her suitcase which contained her books and clothing, she walked to the bridge, stopped midway and looked down at the swirling dark waters.
The river seemed to beckon to her, ‘Come Heather, come into my arms, I will relieve you and your child of your troubles. There will be no more worries for you’.
She stood, mesmerised, uncertainty gripped her, and it would be so easy, just a step forward and a leap. Fear overcame her, ‘how could I do that to my unborn child?’ she asked herself, jumping back. She collapsed, and an ambulance took her to hospital.
Two days later she awoke to a smiling nurse, holding a little bundle in her hand.
“Well you’ve given birth to a beautiful baby boy. Here, hold him.”
“I’m a mother?’
“Yes, but you have to take better care of yourself, you are malnourished.”
“The baby, is the baby healthy?”
“Yes, my dear, he’s quite healthy.”
“Now, I want you to feed him. I’ll be back later to get some information from you.”
“Where are my things, nurse?”
“Your case is temporarily placed under the bed. Do you wish something?”
“No, it’s all right.”
Heather held the baby in her arms and tears welled up in her eyes, he was such a beautiful baby. Sadness overcame her, it would be impossible to keep him. She cuddled the baby closer to her, what should she do? No doubt the hospital would take care of her and the baby, in the immediate future, but she felt sure they would take her baby. No, she would not allow that to happen, the choice of the baby’s future must rest with her.
Observing the movements of the nurse as she checked on the other patients in the ward, Heather, her mind in turmoil, waited for her to withdraw and got slowly off the bed, bent down, pulled out the case, opened it, took out a dress, her coat and shoes and her purse. She quickly put the shoes on and the dress over the hospital gown and then the coat. Clutching the small purse, she held the baby wrapped in his little blanket, close to her and under the coat and slipped out of the ward and out of the hospital. She moved with slow steps along the streets with no destination in mind.
‘What was she to do? Dear God, show me a way.’
She came to a park and she decided to go in and find a bench to sit on. She entered the park and on the first bench a man sat, his eyes were closed. Heather looked at him, his clothes spoke of wealth. The kind, gentleness of his face, struck her. Drawn to him by an unexplainable force, she took the baby from beneath her coat, kissed his little forehead, and placed him gently next to the man, and ran out of the park.