HERE COMES THE SUN
As relieved as Emily was that her marriage had ended on amicable terms, the fallout with her parents, weighed heavily on her heart. She couldn’t bear to spend more than a few days in the same house as them when neither of them was speaking to her and moved to her own place as quickly as she could.
However, divorces are hard, even when they are carried out with mutual consent, and there was a constant dull ache in her heart. There were more times than she could count when she stood at the brink of a complete breakdown and wished that she had at least Abbey to whom she could cry. In her stark absence though, strangely it was what Ethan had said during their last meeting as husband and wife that kept her from leaping off the edge into the abyss.
Ethan had talked about how he had realized that not everyone was cut out for marriage. “Our relationship was too much work.” he had said. “Making time, the intimacy, the emotional labour – it was all too much for me. I was devastated when we lost Grace but, I was also grateful because I knew I could never be the type of father I wanted her to have.”
He wanted to focus exclusively on research and do something for humanity so that he would always be remembered as the harbinger of progress. He had said, “There were so many times when I wanted to tell you that I couldn’t do it – bring a child into the world. I wanted to tell you that perhaps we weren’t getting pregnant because the universe was trying to tell us something but you wanted to have a child so much I couldn’t get the words out. When I told you that I didn’t have time, it was the first absolutely honest almost complete conversation I’d had with you in years. That didn’t go well, did it? You got hurt. So hurt it would appear that you went ahead and slept with someone else. You treated our relationship more callously than I would have thought you capable. I suppose you probably felt I was treating you the same way.” With a thin smile on his lips, he had declared that not all mistresses had to live and breathe.
He had recognized and accepted the end of their marriage. Planting a small kiss on her cheek he had said, “Thanks for being Mrs. Mendonca all these years but, we should be free to pursue what truly gives us joy, rather than remain chained together, forced to spend our lives together. That’s where our happiness is Emily.”
‘To pursue what truly gives us joy’ Emily had thought about what Ethan had said more and more with each passing day and if they had made some sense to her when they were first spoken, months later, they felt like wisdom and courage rolled into one. She wished her parents would understand.
On one miserable day when she was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, her phone rang, flashing Abbey’s name across the screen. She fumbled as she answered the call.
“Abbey?” she almost whispered, wondering if she was dreaming.
“No Emily, it’s Clive. You need to come to the maternity ward of St. Martha’s right away.”
“What? Why? Is everything alright?” Emily asked panicked as her own troubles were forgotten momentarily and she began to fear the worst for her sister; the night of her own traumatic labour flashing in her mind.
“Just get down here as soon as you can.”
“I’m on my way…” Emily said. She grabbed her keys and ran out of her flat.
When she got there, Abbey was holding a cherubic baby girl in her arms. Her parents were standing by the window with their backs towards her. She didn’t care. She was grateful just to see their familiar shapes. She felt like the sun was beginning to shine through the heavy grey clouds again. Abbey called her to her side.
“I couldn’t stomach the thought of you not being present when she was born. I didn’t want you to miss the first few hours of Faith’s life, Em. Do you want to hold her, God-ma?”
“God-ma?” Emily sputtered, as Abbey nodded in confirmation. Emily felt tears sting her eyes as she took the swaddled baby in her arms. She inhaled her delicious newborn baby smell and for some reason, that soothed her. She looked at her sister glowing in her motherly newness and whispered, “After everything? Are you sure you want to entrust me with such great responsibility?”
Abbey looked hard at Emily. “You’re my baby sister Em. Personally, I think there are much better ways to end a marriage than the way you went about it. Yet, from what I’ve been told, I think I can understand why. You were unhappy. I don’t need any further explanation. When Faith made her appearance, I realized that although I was mad at you, I wasn’t angry enough to ostracize you any longer. Besides, nothing you can ever do can cause me to write you off forever. I love you, you weirdo.”
Emily began to cry and looked up at her parents. They were still looking out the window. “Dada…” Emily said hoarsely.
Mr. Vaz responded by turning in her direction, but, he made no effort to move towards her. Mrs. Vaz, on the other hand, strode to her daughter and said, “I love you too Emily” and pulled her into an embrace.
Emily revelled in the warmth of her mothers’ touch, yet pulled away quickly. She got off Abbey’s bed and walked towards her father.
“Dada, I know what I did was unacceptable. I can’t possibly begin to explain exactly how sorry I am. I know I disappointed you. Please Dada, please talk to me again. I can’t take it anymore….please…” her voice had fallen to a mere whisper.
Mr. Vaz looked hard at his daughter for a few minutes. Then he reached out and touched her hollowed cheek. As was his simple way, he said, “Okay…”
For so many months, Emily had been living under such thick cloud cover that it often felt like her life was a perpetual rainstorm and she had no shelter. Suddenly, the clouds dissipated and Emily was basking in the gorgeous sun again.
Come back tomorrow for the last chapter in Emily’s tale. If you’ve only just stopped by and would like to catch up, please click here.
UBC: Post 30