“How has she been?”
“I honestly don’t know. I never know nowadays.”
I smiled to my sister-in-law. We have had a lot of visits in the past few weeks, mostly ineffectual. They would come and say sweet-nothings; I really hated those visits.
“Life is funny, you know. It’s all fun and games till you find yourself standing in the corner of the room, alone in the dark with a weight on your chest. It’s like crying profusely, and not knowing why.”
Words of wisdom, you might say, or just cheap philosophy. But to me, those were the words which made me realize that I wasn’t really living my life. And two months later, I was chasing down boutiques, trying to find a stone the size of her fist. She was the most amazing person I’d ever met. Full of life and loves, amazingly illusionary and such optimism on the surface.
Bright intelligent eyes, perfect arch of a smile but a soul of melancholy blue.
“Honey?” she called me from the bedroom. I rushed.
“Yes, dear?” I replied.
“I am all out of knitting yarn,” she said, showing me her half-done sweater.
“Sure, I’ll get more for you. Which colour this time?”
“I don’t know. Blue, baby blue.”
She went back to her quiet knits and I was leaving for work. People would look at me and smile. Our life is perfect, still. Sure, marriage is hard, but we don’t take those vows half-heartedly. And I sure as hell didn’t. I took them. In sickness and in health. Perfect words, those. Never telling you how or when they would bring themselves to life.
I was sorting files when someone interrupted me.
“Phone call for you,” said a colleague.
“Can it wait? I am really busy. These files need to be sent right away,” I replied, without looking.
“Uh, it’s from your wife,” he said.
My heart just stopped.
“Why didn’t you tell me before?!” I said and I was rushing down the halls.
“Hi…hi honey,” I said, panting.
“Oh hi,” she replied.
“Is… is everything okay? Are you okay? Where are you?”
“Oh, don’t panic dear.”
“But you called, you called. Is this an emergency?”
“Yes, this is.”
“What… what honey?”
“What?” I asked, confused. “What ‘red’? Are you okay? Did you get hurt?”
“What? No! I need red yarn, not blue.”
I almost cried. My pulse was raging. I was silent.
“Are you there?” she asked.
“Yes, yes dear. Red it is,” I replied.
“Okay then, thank you.”
“Are you sure you are okay?”
“Yes. We are fine. Me and the baby, both. Now, red, remember.”
The line went dead. I almost collapsed to the floor. This had happened before– me running to the phone and it turning out to be okay. I was sweating.
“Is everything okay?” asked the colleague.
“Yes, everything is fine. Her and the baby,” I replied; he sighed and exhausted sigh. And then I noticed half of the office staring at me, expectant of what had happened.
“Uh, the boss was looking for you,” he said.
I was standing in front of my boss. It was the fourth time that week.
“How are you?” he asked me from his chair, sympathy written all over his face.
“I am fine. As fine as I was on Monday, Wednesday and the Wednesday before,” I replied.
“Hmm. If there’s anything, you know. Just let me know, okay?” he said.
I nodded and I left.
“Oh you are home,” she welcomed me. “We ran out of carrots, sorry. I ate them all.”
“It’s okay, dear. You have to eat well, you know that,” I said, tired.
“For the baby!” I said with happiness bursting out of her.
I silently crept across the room into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror– I wasn’t sure if I ever was this tired. I felt absolutely dead inside.
I was lying in bed, just watching the ceiling fan slowly circling in an endless ho-hum drift. She was lying next to me, sleeping. I was tired– I ached to the bone. If there was any light…
I fell asleep.
“Honey, honey wake up!” said my wife, frantic.
“What? What is it?” I said, suddenly awakened.
“I don’t feel good. I think it is the baby. Something feels wrong,” she said in tears. “Something is wrong!” She was screaming now.
We were driving down the deserted road to the hospital. We rushed her in.
“Its going to be okay,” I said.
An hour later, I was staring into her room through the window, with absolutely no energy in me to see her.
“How many times are you going to do this?” said our doctor.
“As many times as it happens,” I replied.
“It’s been four years, and this is the third time.”
I looked at him.
“It’s been long enough. When are you going to realize that she needs help?” said the doctor.
I just stood there, facing– my sombre reflection on the glass and the question I had been asking myself. How long will we keep doing this? My wife had a miscarriage some four years ago and I was still feeling the aftereffects. She fell so deep and so hard, I’m not sure she ever came back. The doctors have a name for it, post-traumatic-stress disorder or something. But does putting a name on it really make it any better?
I took a deep breath and I went inside the room.
She was crying.
“I… I” she was trying to say.
“I know, dear,” I replied.
“I… I lost our baby.”