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…”
Thanks for coming back today! If it’s your first visit, you can read the previous chapters here.
UBC: Post 23