The story opens with Julie, the pregnant teenager who is its protagonist, looking at herself in the mirror. She is in the London apartment of Debbie, a prostitute who took her in five months earlier, when she ran away from home to hide her condition from her parents. Julie is now in labor, and Debbie, who had promised to help her, is out of the country with a man. Julie is surprised that the other people in the apartment—from whom she has managed to keep her pregnancy a secret—do not seem to notice that her water has broken and that she is soaked with sweat. She leaves a note for Debbie with her home address and gets a bag she had prepared ahead of time. As she is about to leave, she goes back and takes extra towels from Debbie’s bathroom, reflecting on the older woman’s generosity toward her.
According to her plan, Julie takes a bus to another part of town where she knows there is an unlocked shed in an abandoned lot. It is sleeting, and she is in pain. When she gets to the shed, there is a large dog in front of the door. She throws a brick at it, and the dog runs into the shed where she is planning to give birth. She soon realizes that it is a starving stray and allows it to stay with her. She doesn’t know what to do next. She takes off her underwear and calls out quietly for Debbie. She is in agony and feels very lonely. She squats against the wall and soon delivers the baby.
She has supplies for wrapping the baby and cutting its...
(The entire section is 852 words.)
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