“Your husband came in yesterday and he gave me this photo. I know this must be hard for you think of so it’s going to be even harder to talk about. But you just fell apart in front of me and I want to know if you are ready to talk to me about what happened, are you?” I nod because I have to save my strength.
“I try to breathe but it’s too hard. How many times have I lived through this moment? But somehow this felt different. I was still aching inside and crumbing slowly at the thought, but I needed to speak. It was time to deal with this.”
I must admit, I thought of leaving, just like all the times before, but it was if I was stuck to that chair by a force unseen and unknown.
“I’m not sure I know how to live, how to move forward. I am not even sure I know how to look at myself without feeling my insides crawling to my throat and stifling their way through me. I lay in bed and wonder how I function. I hear my phone ringing and as I pray for the strength to answer it but I can’t. I have not told anyone how I have been feeling. Few persons know I lost my baby and they keep trying to contact me to find out how I am doing. But how do I say ‘Fuck OFF!! I am not okay and asking me EVERY DAMN DAY won’t help!’ It’s my best friend who calls the most, she’s worried because I haven’t called her back, I have missed dates with her and others; she says people keep calling her to find out how I am. What could I possibly say to her. She is a mother of two with one on the way. How do I begin to explain that I am fading and that my heartbeat is too faint to recognize? I’m ready to tell her that I have lost many pieces of me and I will never get them back as they are buried in a place no one can find. I fall to the ground and I weep, not for what has happened to me but because I can already see how her eyes will gaze over my body, searching for the scars I have successfully masked. She’ll look into my eyes for the dust and the stone because she’ll know my walls are no more, she’ll know like no one else, the agony I have endured as I tried to be there for her. She’ll know how being in the profession I am is like pulling out a tooth from my mouth each day. But how will I start and will I ever be able to finish this alive? Could it be that the wall that shields my pain is the same fortress that holds my soul together?”
“Your soul is too big to be shielded by a wall your avoidance has built up for you. It is ready and waiting to surface, to purge the darkness it is harbouring and to finally begin to heal. You have lost not one but two little ones, and your soul is feeling as weak as your body. But you can build it back up, you can begin to heal your deep rooted scars.”
“How do I do that? I feel as if my body is being haunted by lives that should have been but never were. I can’t help but to think of how my life would be if they were here with me…with us. I cringe at the thought of being touched and when I am, I crumble. I am stuck in an endless tunnel and though I want to believe the light is up ahead, I can’t. But I still do want to believe, and somehow today, I am willing to start trying. How do I start?”
“You start by opening up…a little a first and as frequently as you can. That is how you start.”
As Alicia arrives, I look through the window and I fight to breathe.
I hand her the chest that holds much more than it should. As she opens the chest and looks at me with nervous wonder, I know she already sees someone new before her, someone so torn it hurts to stare. She sees a dress, she sees the blood and she knows instantly, her best friend was now buried deep in the memories… Maybe she was never really there all this time.
He enters slowly and looks around the restaurant he ponders should he just go to a table or the bar when he sees her, a smile that seemed to make his heart soar. He walked over to her and she looked at him and suddenly they knew, this will be forever. “Hello.” She says nervously as her friends sit puzzled because they never knew of her having a boyfriend. “Hi, I just came in and I saw you and I know it may sound corny but there was no way I could leave without at least hearing your voice.” She smiled and again he wasn’t able to feel his heart beat but he knew he didn’t need to, because she had it and it was safe.
“I have always searched for a reason to believe that there was hope for tomorrow, never did I expect I would find the answer in a woman’s smile. The way you seem to make me better by just being here is incredible. When I make mistakes they don’t seem fatalistic because you make me feel I can fix it. I touch your chest and I feel your heart beat and I know if that song ends, I will lose the ability to be. I stand here with you today promising with every fiber of my being that I will love you, care for you, cherish you and protect you. I pledge my heart to you my love and every day I have left.”
She runs into the bedroom and kisses him softly, he moves, she sighs with relief. “Wake up honey, its really important.” He opens his eyes and there she was radiating before him, he knows instantly it’s going to be a good day. He holds her, kisses her and listens to her give him the most exciting news. She waits for a response and she nervously bites her fingernails. He smiles and says, “This is the best day of my life! We’re gonna have a baby!!”. This would mark the beginning of the best and worst 2 years of their lives.
“Babe! I got Chinese so I hope you’re hungry.” He waits. He waits. As he races up the stairs he knows she has broken. He breaks down the door and pulls the shower curtain and sees her curled up on the stoned shower floor and he holds her, kisses her and her tears seem to sizzle when they touch his skin. He knows its happened again and feared that this time she won’t be coming back.
“Babe! Hun, open your eyes!” But he knows, he feels it, she won’t open her eyes because she is losing, she is falling apart. “Honey please, fight this, don’t let the music end.” For a moment he is there, crying silently in dismay, in relief, in utter confusion. Then she opens her eyes, ‘I’m trying…’ As those words lift him through the clouds; he starts to believe that they are going to make it.
As I lay on the bed, I find myself spilling to him all that I have been hiding. I show him my chest filled with painful memories and forbidden dreams and he falls. I know what he is thinking, ‘how could I have been so blind? Is it that I saw and knew but felt it best to pretend not to? As I hold his head close to my heart, it’s not the same; it is distant, not comforting…we can’t fix this alone.
I open my mouth to speak and he lifts his head and stops me. With this look, he takes the burden of my shell and he decides to carry it…he sees the remnants of what use to be on my skin, but he knows we will get through this…for better, not worst.