The Other World In Between

I imagined he would have a face like an angel’s. I thought it would be like looking into a mirror, and seeing my whole self, projected into another human being. I had all these ideas and dreams. I imagined holding your hands, walking down the street, maybe eating an ice cream or perhaps sharing a bag of chips from the corner shop. I imagined you pointing out little things that made your world spin around. Teaching me things that you thought I didn’t know, and I’d listen patiently. I would be sucked into your world. Your world became my favorite place and I never wanted to leave it.

The waiting room is clean and pristine. It has gaudy white tiles and nurses bustling around in sea foam colored scrubs. The doctors here all look occupied and very harrowed. Most of them are scary old men with walrus mustaches. My hands are shaking uncontrollably; I am very scared. If I lived in a perfect world, Michael would at least be holding one of my hands. But Michael is busy on his iPad. Scheduling appointments that he won’t even meet. I glance at his iPad. One of the appointments is a date. I sigh sadly, knowing that we will never go on that date, and also that the date will never happen.

A nurse barks out my name and I jump, feeling startled. I spill water all over myself and the regrets I have about being here just deepen and intensify. But Michael says I have to, and given the circumstances, Michael’s word is law. I nudge him gently, with my wet hands. He brushes me aside angrily.

“Your hands are wet,” He says angrily. “I don’t want water on my iPad.”

“I spilled my water on myself,” I sigh. He looks unamused. “It’s time for the ultrasound,” I inform him quietly.

“Sure,” he says non-committedly. “You’ll find me out here.”

“I want you to be there,” I say, glumly. I can feel tears rising up against me, and I’m on the verge of either a full blown tantrum or a mental break down.

Michael puts his iPad down angrily and glares at me. “Why are you so damn needy?” He growls angrily at me and pouts. When he pouts, his mustache seems even more prominent and he looks ten times cuter.

“If you hadn’t needed me, we wouldn’t be here in the first place,” I say defiantly.

He gives me the ugliest look I’d ever received from him and stands up, motioning for me to lead the way. I am as lost as he is but I notice the nurse and follow her to the doctor’s office.

My pregnancy is not too far along. I am 12 weeks along, according to the happy technician. She has very nice long braids that she has pulled into a very tight top bun. She smiles politely at me and asks me questions that I don’t want to answer.

“Are you excited?” She asks, as she spreads the gel over my tummy.

I look over at Michael, who is looking at the curtains on the far side of the room woodenly. His jaw seems to be locked. He surprises both of us by holding my hand. The sensation doesn’t feel quite right, but I don’t let go.

“Who would be excited?” Michael asks with a hollow laugh.

“You’re regaining your freedom as a couple,” the technician says with another smile. “Sometimes it can be an inconvenience.”

“It’s not an it,” I scowl angrily.

The technician smiles sarcastically at me. “Then why are you doing this?” She asks searchingly.

“Don’t ask difficult questions,” I whisper. I close my eyes and feel a floodgate of tears build against my inner eyelids. This was never my choice, it was Michael’s.

The ultrasound passes by faster than I had imagined, and before I know it she is performing the procedure. The anesthesia is helpful and I do not feel physical pain. My heart is bleeding though. And it feels like I sold my soul to a devil in a technician’s gown. It’s not too long before I am finished, and she tells me I am ready to go. I hobble out of the office, only barely holding on to Michael, who is still holding my hand. The weather is dreary. It’s raining cats and dogs, and we have to run to his car. By the time I am fastening the seat belt in his fancy Mercedes Benz, I have dissolved to uncontrollable tears. My whole body is convulsing and I secretly pray that the procedure takes my life as well.

We reach my house and Michael parks outside. He did not comfort me the whole time I was crying. He just drove, as if nothing of consequence had happened.

“I have something for you,” he says sadly. It’s the first sign of emotion he has shown all day.

I look over at him, my face tear stained and my vision blurred. I try to respond but end up making a strangled noise. He hands me a thick envelope. I open it, and a bundle of money falls out into my lap. I question him with my eyes. He tells me to look inside the envelope. There is a letter inside, that explains that I have been fired and all the money is my benefits.

“Michael?” I say, choking on tears. Even more tears flow ferociously. The whole world suddenly stopped spinning.

“I have a wife and kids, not even you could stand in the way of that,” Michael growls. His eyes soften as he asks me to get out of his car.

I am left stranded in the rain, not knowing which way is up or down. My world has collapsed around me. I fell in love with someone who did not love me back. He took my heart, but with it, he took my dignity, my pride, my job but most of all my unborn baby.

M. Nanchengwa

 

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