The winter night was dark and biting. For the heavily pregnant teen, the unanticipated journey back to her fiance’s hometown was taking its toll. She was cold, tired and hungry. Many hours before, they left on foot the small place they now called home. Judgemental stares and sly whispers followed in the wake of their departure. Joe’s work as a carpenter brought in barely a liveable wage so the weary couple hitchhiked the rest of their journey.
Joe’s hometown was heaving, thanks to it being census night – the night when all citizens had to return to their place of birth. The motels were full. Many were sheltering families in need of emergency housing, refugees of the tough economic times.
Place after place, the story was the same – No Vacancy. In desperation, Joe asked the last motelier in town if they could rest in the lean-to he’d noticed at the back of the property. Eyeing the exhausted couple, the motelier figured that it may as well be him that takes the little cash they had. It wasn’t the cleanest of spaces, but, well, there was nowhere else they could go.
Out in the lean-to, Joe and Mary made themselves as comfortable as they could. Not before time. Amidst the dust and dirt, with no mother, sister, aunt or friend for support, Mary gave birth to a baby boy. Joe found a crate and packaging straw.