Emily: Chapter Twenty

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CHANGE

Emily hated being alone in the still, silent house that should have been full of laughter and baby babble so she spent long hours in the park, trying to walk her sadness away. The fresh air did her good and some nights when she got home, she felt more like the old Emily. One evening, she bumped into someone she was least expecting.

“Oh my God, Emily! It’s been years!! Look what’s become of me!”, Leanne, now with hair as black as it was the day she was born, pointed at the small, spit-bubble blowing, baby boy she held in her arms.

Emily swallowed.

“I heard you were pregnant too? Already out and about without the baby? I wish I could get this one, off of me! Wish I was you!” Leanne continued giggling.

Emily looked at her for a long minute, her hands on her sagging belly. “I lost her…” she whispered. “Still wish you were me?” She was unfairly enraged with the happy woman standing in front of her.

“Oh! Oh my God! Emily, I had no…I’m so sorry. I…Emily, I’m…” Leanne stammered.

Emily dismissed her and turned the other way. The conversation had made her so uncomfortable, she was sick in a trash can on the way out of the park. She couldn’t handle another chance meeting like that. She wasn’t strong enough yet. She wondered if she ever would be. So, she gave up her walks in the park and remained within the confines of the house once more.

Emily had finally reached a stage when she felt ready to share her heavy load with Ethan, but it seemed as though she was too late. It appeared that he had found consolation in his research and didn’t need to talk to her anymore. He had thrown himself into his work and was spending long hours at his lab. He was hardly ever at home and whenever Emily tried to talk about their loss, he would quickly change the subject.

Emily made several attempts to bridge the gap that had come up between Ethan and her. Out of character, she initiated physical intimacy with him. If Ethan seemed like a man who didn’t think sex was important before, now, whenever she gave it a shot, Ethan would say he was too tired and head off to their bedroom to sleep leaving Emily alone with her thoughts again. His complete lack of interest in her made her feel worse about everything that had happened and finally one evening, frustrated and spiralling deeper into depression, she shouted, “I need a change. I think I’ll go to my parents’ place. Not sure for how long. I need to go.”

Ethan who had been on his way to the bedroom whipped around and said, “That’s a good idea. I think the change will do you good. You should leave as soon as you can. Do you need me to book your tickets?”

Emily shook her head and clenched her fists. She would not let him see how much his apparent indifference was affecting her. She watched him walk into the bedroom and cried softly as he closed the door. She thought about staying where she was and wondered whether Ethan would be forced to talk to her eventually if she remained in their flat. On the other hand, if she wasn’t there Ethan would possibly miss her and want her again.

There was no other way. She didn’t want to go. She needed to go. She had to get out of the house that had once held so many happy dreams.

The next day, she packed the few clothes that still fit her in a duffel bag and took the bus home.

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Another chapter today. If you’re new here and what to know what’s going on, please click here.

UBC: Post 24

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Emily: Chapter Nineteen

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PICKING UP THE PIECES

Emily slowly began trying to put her life back together. It was a much more difficult task than she felt up to on most days. Every time she caught her mother-in-law’s eyes, she thought that she saw disappointment there and it made her both sad and angry at the same time.

Anything Emily touched reminded her of her pregnancy. What was hardest to do was – everything. Nevertheless, life had to move on. The first thing she decided to do was return the crib and pram that she had bought for the baby. She had caught hold of the notion that if it was out of sight it would somehow make all of it easier to deal with. Abbey offered to do it for her. Emily refused, telling her that she had to do it herself to get closure. She stood about two feet from the exchange counter with the bills clutched tight in her hand, lips trembling for almost half an hour before her mother and Abbey couldn’t watch any longer and took over the awful task, finishing it on her behalf.

Some days later, while searching for something at the back of her cupboard, she found a box of baby clothes Mummy had packed away probably to save Emily the heartache of doing it herself. It hadn’t worked. Emily cried for almost the whole day – thinking of herself as a failure both as a daughter-in-law and as a mother.

A while later she turned on the radio, hoping that music would soothe her aching soul. It was retro hour and they were playing Johnny Cash. ‘You are my sunshine’ came on.

‘…as I lay sleeping,
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken,
So I bowed my head and cried…’
 

Emily, in near hysterics, pulled the music system from its socket and threw it as hard as she could. How could the world send her such brutal reminders of Grace and plunge her back into the cold swirling vortex just as she was trying to resurface and breathe again?

Emily wanted to talk to Ethan but every time she looked at him, her eyes would fill up and she would turn away. She was so very sorry she hadn’t been able to keep their daughter safe. She didn’t know how to apologize and Ethan was giving her limited opportunities to try. It seemed as though he was spending more and more time at the hospital. She wanted to be able to grieve with him, but she felt so guilty that she needed a little more time before she could ask Ethan to share some of the intense weight of the sorrow with her.

The day before her mother and Abbey were leaving, Emily caught them whispering about something for what felt like the millionth time since they had been at her flat. Exasperated, she shouted, “What are you two always whispering about? Mad Emily? Crazy Emily? Emily needs to see a shrink? Has Emily’s lost her marbles because she can’t stop crying at everything??”

“No, Emily. It’s not like that.” her mother said, as soothingly as she could.

“Then what is it? Why are you two always whispering and then turning into stone the second you see me coming?”

“It’s…it’s…” Abbey began, tears welling up in her eyes.

“You’re crying?” Emily shouted, laughing like a maniac. “It’s WHAT Abbey?”

“I just found out that I’m expecting…” Abbey mumbled. Mrs. Vaz took hold of her hand and Abbey squeezed it.

The air had been sucked out of Emily’s lungs. No. She hadn’t heard right. Not now. Not when she had lost Grace only days earlier. She stood there immobile. She told herself to breathe. She knew what she had to do if only she could make her body do it.

Emily swallowed. “That’s…that’s amazing Abbey…I didn’t know you guys were trying again…” Emily somehow managed to say in an unnatural shrill voice, forcing one foot in front of the other till she was standing in front of Abbey. She raised her arms and gave her elder sister a stiff hug.

“Yeah…” Abbey replied uncomfortably, not knowing if she could ever tell Emily, who had been on such a rough road, that it was an unplanned pregnancy.

“I’ll…I’ll get something to celebrate…” said Emily, going to the kitchen so that they wouldn’t see her cry.

She needed to yell at someone. But at whom? God? Clive? Abbey? At whom? She felt hot tears streaming down her face and it was a while before she was able to stop sobbing and reappear in the hall with some cookies and juice. Her eyes and nose were red, but she had managed to stop crying. “Sorry I don’t have anything more celebration-y.” She said, trying to sound excited.

Abbey smiled and squeezed her hand. “Are you alright?”

The brown eyes met the black and Emily knew that there would be no point feigning happiness with her sister. Abbey knew her better than she knew herself. So she said softly, “No. Not really. I’m sorry. I am happy for you…at least I’m sure I am somewhere deep down inside. It’s just…I…I’m…”

Abbey held her in a warm, long embrace. “I know Emmy…I know…”

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Thanks for coming back today! If it’s your first visit, you can read the previous chapters here.

UBC: Post 23

Dear Diary…

Dear Diary,

Would you believe another 25th of December has gone by? Father insisted on going to church today and I wish he hadn’t because during the service, when I looked at him, he was crying and it nearly broke my heart. He tries so hard to be strong but then Christmas day comes along and I can almost feel the pain radiating from him. I think he thinks he should have been able to stop it…that he should have done something differently that day, but how could he have known what was to be? How could Father have stopped what happened? I wish he wouldn’t blame himself. I don’t. I almost reached out to him, to hold his hand today, but, I hesitated for just a second too long and by the time I decided to, the moment had passed and it was too late…

Christmas used to be such a wonderful time for the family Diary…we used to have a big celebratory dinner with delicious food and carols and dancing…I wish only the parties could be remembered instead of just that Christmas night nine years ago being the clearest…why Diary? Why are painful memories like that always so powerful? Why doesn’t the sadness ever end…?

On that night, I remember I was sitting at the foot of the stairs rubbing my tummy because I was hungry. It was way past my dinner time and Mother and her sister, Aunty Tina had only just begun setting the table! Father’s youngest sister my beautiful stylish Aunty Kendra, who insisted I called her just Kendra, was pouting at her reflection in the mirror that hung in our little foyer as she combed her hair first this way then that trying to get it to sit in a style she found most flattering. Aunty Grace, Father’s elder sister was at the piano, absent mindedly playing the first few bars of “Jingle Bells” while her husband Uncle Jude was successfully convincing Father to break out a bottle of his more expensive bubbly. I remember that the last time I heard Father laughing was as he went to the bar to fetch it. Uncle Jude popped the bottle and I recall that the cork went flying through the room and landed at the far end of the hall. I was supposed to submit an art project once school re-opened the next year and I thought the cork would be a useful addition to the piece I was making. I bent down to poke my head under the sofa to see if that was where the cork had rolled off to when Aunty Enid (who was quite old at the time) didn’t see me, tripped over me and fell. The glass she was holding fell to the ground and shattered and she cut her hand on the shards. I remember Mother rushed to her side to tend to her injuries giving me a very stern look. Father just pulled me up and gave me a hard smack on my behind in front of everybody, his eyes flashing. He hissed at me to apologise, which I did, shakily. Then he just walked away from me. I was so angry probably just as angry as he was. I was almost seven years old…how dare he smack me in front of so many people when I was almost old enough to be a lady?!?

I turned around and stormed out of the room, my eyes smarting almost as much as my derrière. I threw on my favourite pink coat, and bolted out of the house. I walked out onto the road going in a direction that I thought would take me furthest away from my house and from my father with whom I was so angry…but the further I walked, the less angry I got. So I turned around to head back home…

Diary…the last thing I remember about that Christmas night was the appearance of this patch on the snow…like bright red ink staining a white sheet of paper…

The next time I see Father, please make sure I give his hand a squeeze Diary…he won’t be able to see me, but maybe he will be able to feel my presence and know that I love him and don’t blame him and that the accident was never his fault…

-xoxo

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I randomly generated SEVEN words to write a piece of fiction. The words I got were: Christmas, Diary, Cork, Comb, Ink, Dinner, Power. Hope you enjoyed the read. 🙂

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.

Write Tribe

The black dress

She waited for him. She couldn’t sleep alone. Once he came, comforted by his presence, she fell asleep.

When she awoke, he wasn’t there, but, in his place lay the black dress she wore to his funeral.

She lay back down and waited for him to come. She was alive, but wished she was dead.

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda and it got featured as a WOW post!

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