Story 13

It was a busy day and he was tired. The local trains were delayed and the ones that came were overcrowded. He had already left two trains. She did not like climbing into crowded trains. Standing at the platform, amidst the chaos was getting on his nerves. He made up his mind to convince her to climb into the next train that came even if it was crowded. 

“We are getting in the one which arrives at the station next, even if it is crowded. I am tired of waiting.” He said to his wife who was beginning to get restless as well.
“Fine. Do whatever you want. I will catch the next one or the one next to that, the one which would not be crowded.” His wife responded in frustration. He sighed.

“I had a tough day in the office. I am hungry, I am tired and sweating like a pig.” He pleaded.
“I lost my friend a couple of days ago as she was trying to catch an overcrowded train.” She said, her voice full of emotions.

He had no response for that. The fact was her friend had been a fool to run behind a train which had already started moving and that was the cause of her death and not an overcrowded train. It was an art that he had mastered over the years of journeying in the trains – the lifeline of Mumbai. There was no way he was going to mention this to his wife, considering that she had already become emotional. 

Lately, she had become very sensitive. She was quick to anger, quick to tears and sharp of tongue. Unfortunately, she had slowed down on the sex part. He shook his head, he did not want to go there.

He looked at her. She was struggling to hold back her tears. He put an arm around her and held her close to his body. “Let’s take a cab” he said finally. 
“We cannot afford a cab” She was quick to respond.
“Yes, we can. It’s just one day. Look, I have already told you – I am hungry.” He said sternly.
“Fine” she said and started to walk, as a result shaking off his hand from over her shoulder. He did not know how to react – be angry or hurt. He did not want to say anything to her, he knew she would react and that would create a scene. He gulped down his emotions and started walking behind her.
They got into a cab and reached home after more than an hour, thanks to the traffic.

The moment they reached home, he went to the bathroom to freshen up. She took off her work shirt and put on a comfortable t-shirt and walked to the kitchen. He had said he was hungry. She opened the refrigerator and took out the packet of cheese corn nuggets. 
On one burner she deep fried the nuggets and on the other she made two cups of tea. 
She checked the refrigerator for options for dinner. She felt sick and she rushed towards the bathroom. Thankfully he had finished his quick bath and she bent over the commode and emptied the contents of her stomach.

“Are you sick?” He asked, concerned.
“No. I just felt like vomiting” she said in frustration.
“Hey! Calm down … there is no need to be rude.” He said.
“I am sorry.” She apologized and started crying as she sat on the bed.
He did not know what to do. Anger, he could handle. Tears – he felt lost.
“What’s wrong?” he asked in an attempt to start a conversation, hoping that she would stop crying.
“I am pregnant.” She said and looked at him, her eyes red and streaks of tears on her cheeks.
“How’s that possible? We use protection.” He said sitting next to her, not sure how to react.
“Obviously it did not work.” The anger was back in her tone.

He remained silent. He should have figured out that she was pregnant. The mood swings, the fear of getting into an overcrowded train. He panicked but he did not show it on his face. Pregnancy meant – change of future plans. It meant responsibility he was not ready for. Talking emotionally, he could have a bunch of kids right now, financially speaking he was not equipped to support even one. He ran his fingers through his hair.

She was looking at him, waiting for him to say something; even, get angry. But he remained silent; his emotions and turmoil not showing on his face. 
Finally he said, “It is okay. May be it was meant to be this way.”
“We cannot afford to be pregnant.” She said, not really meaning the words. 
He could read the in between the lines. She wanted to be pregnant and not be pregnant at the same time. She was aware it was a huge leap and that was the reason she was confused.

“Yes, we can.” He said and kissed her on the head.
“You need a shower.” He joked and she tried to laugh but she sobbed instead.
He wrapped his arms around her and whispered “I love you.” in her ears.
“I am hungry” he said and his stomach spoke for itself at the same time.
She smiled. “I have fried nuggets” she said getting up from the bed.
“I will join you in a few minutes.” He said
“Okay.” Saying so she turned around to walk out of the room.
“I love you.” He said
“I love you too” she responded.
“I am happy that we are pregnant.” He said and smiled.
She smiled. She knew he was happy for her. She knew he was not ready. She knew about the chaos inside his head. But, she did not say anything.

He held his head in his hands the moment she walked out of the bedroom. Tears gathered in his eyes as he thought about what had happened in the office today. 
In no way was he going to tell her that he was fired. 
He was without a job and she was pregnant. There could have not been a more inappropriate timing than this.
But he was going to make it work; he was going to do anything and everything to make it work because he loved her.

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