Story 68

She waited for it to come. The pain and guilt. It did not come. Maybe because she had turned into this emotionless person to whom nothing mattered anymore. There was no other possibility. She did not even try to convince herself that what she had done was not wrong. She knew it in her heart that it was wrong. Absolutely wrong.

The headache had started to get unbearable. Holding back tears was not possible anymore. She let them flow silently as she sat in bed and watched the man sleeping next to her. The man was unaware of the chaos going on inside of her mind. The last thing on his mind before he went to bed was happiness. He was happy because of the news she had shared with him. The same news that was now torturing her. The pain she had been waiting for finally came; slow at first – heaviness in the pit of her stomach, slowly finding its way to her chest and pressing on her lungs and then moving towards her throat and choking her. She felt like scratching her throat, the pain in the throat felt as if some monster from inside of her was tearing apart her throat from within with its long poisonous nails.

Supposed to be expected nausea took her by surprise and she stumbled out of bed. She did not have time to close the door properly, she knelt in front of the commode and vomited. The retching sound woke the man.
“Are you alright?” he called out without getting out of bed.
“Yeah, I am fine.” She managed to answer and within minutes she could hear the snoring of the man.

Totally exhausted, she had to use both hands to use the flush. She crawled away from the commode and sat in front of the shower supporting her back to the wall. She closed her eyes. The pain had come but the guilt had not. She was supposed to feel guilty about what she had done.
This was the first time she had kept a secret from her husband. They were childhood sweethearts, her husband and she. Everyone, including their parents, knew they would end up together, happily married.
They’d been happy, always. They were still happy and they’d continue to be happy; provided she could manage to keep this secret from him.

She pressed her knuckles against her forehead, the headache was killing her. She stood up with the support of the wall and walked towards the medicine cabinet. She took the painkiller and drank from the basin. She stood, her hands resting on the washbasin for support and looked at her reflection in the mirror. The glow of pregnancy was there but apart from that she could see sadness in her eyes; something that her husband of so many years had failed to see. While keeping the painkiller bottle back in the medicine cabinet the packet of sanitary napkin accidentally fell over in the basin and some strips of medicine fell out of the packet. And then it came. The guilt. She picked up the strips of medicine and emptied the tablets in the commode and flushed. She was not going to need these medicines anymore. They were the fertility drugs her Obstetrician had put her on.

The guilt was not something she was completely prepared for. It came to her, fast and furious like tsunami waves and almost knocked her over. She collapsed on the floor and started crying. The sobs were uncontrollable. She pressed the back of her hand against her mouth, she bit her hand to make it stop, but the sobs became louder and louder.
“What’s wrong?” her husband asked walking towards her.
“Why are you crying?” he asked kneeling down near her. “Talk to me” he said.
How could she? Talk to him. No, she could not. How could she tell him what she had done!

“Stop making those noises, you are scaring me.” He said trying to make her stand. It was then, she realized, she had not only been sobbing but screaming at the same time. The monster of guilt was out in the open and it was about to rip apart her happily married life. She should have not done it this way, she said to herself. Too late, a voice in her head told her.

She let her husband carry her to bed. She let him run his fingers through her hair and try to calm her down. The sobbing did not stop. Finally, not knowing what to do; he covered her mouth with his and kissed her, whispering loving words in between the kisses. He waited for her to kiss him back and when she did he reached for her breast. It backfired. She stopped kissing him and pushed him back. She could see the hurt on his face.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he said and brought his hand to his mouth. It took a while for her to realize that she had bit him when he had touched her.
“I am sorry” she said in between the sobs.
“I thought you wanted the baby.” He said. “If you do not want it, just get it aborted.” He said irritated.
Get it aborted? She thought. After everything that she had to go through for getting pregnant? No way. He would not understand.
“I want the baby.” She yelled at him.
“Then why this freak show?” He yelled back standing up.

“The baby. It’s not yours.” She said and then covered her mouth not believing that she had said it.
Her husband watched her with expressionless face and in no time his face contorted with rage. Before she knew what was coming he slapped her hard and stormed out of the bedroom. She heard the front door being slammed shut. She ran out of the bedroom and out of the main door. She tried to talk to him while he tried to start the ignition.

“Please listen to me. It’s not the way it sounds.” She pleaded. He stared at her and the car came to life. He stepped on the gas and sped out of the driveway. She ran behind the car for some distance but finally realized it was not going to help. The pain in her stomach was now physical. She sat down on the ground and brought her knees close to her chest and wrapped her arms around. She looked at the sky – it had started to change colour. A new day was about to begin.

She had almost ruined her marriage because of her silly mistake. Two, actually. One – by doing what she had done and two – by telling him the news the way she had told him. It all came out so wrong. By telling him that the baby was not his, she had suggested that she had cheated on him. She had not. She had simply done something foolish and even though it was wrong it was definitely not infidelity.

She stood up and walked inside the house. She picked up her mobile on her way to bed and dialled a number.
“I have messed up.” She said and started to cry.
The person on the other end of the line kept calling out her name but she did not speak a word. She went on crying and then she disconnected the call.
The man called back. She did not answer. She should have not called him in first place. It was a mistake. He was a married man; he must have had his arms wrapped around his wife when she had called him. She should have not called him.
The man kept calling and after ten unanswered calls the phone stopped ringing.

He was her only friend apart from her husband. He was a common friend. They were best buddies; therefore, it had not felt wrong when she had visited a fertility clinic with him. It did not feel wrong when she had asked him to pose as her husband. It did not feel wrong when she had asked him to donate his sperm. It was better than having a stranger’s sperm inside of her, she had thought then. She had never thought about the complications.

They were trying to get pregnant for a long time, her husband and she. They went to a fertility clinic where she learned that he was infertile. She should have told him after seeing the reports. Discussed the possibilities with him. She should have done a lot of things differently than she ended up doing. She reached out to her best friend, talked to him about the problem. Told him how she could not tell her husband that he was incapable of starting a family. She begged for help. He suggested artificial insemination. What he should have suggested was – ‘talk to your husband and take a joint decision of either going through artificial insemination or consider adoption.’

She surprised herself when she asked him to support her in this. She visited a different fertility clinic and registered for the procedure. They were tested for the procedure, her friend and she. How long have you been trying? The doctors asked them. She told them how long they had been trying, her husband and she.

The doctors said artificial insemination was not necessary at this point, they should try it naturally, her friend and her. They had looked at each other. Neither of them considered it an option. We want to go through the procedure, they said. The doctors nodded their heads.
She was put on fertility drugs. He had been tired that day, her husband, but she insisted on sex. She encouraged him, initiated the foreplay and made sure they had sex – to match the timeline.

He masturbated in a room and ejaculated in a bottle for his best friend. She was important to him. He had not thought twice when she had asked him to do this for her. He was willing to offer a part of himself and let it be a part of hers without expecting anything in return. He did not think about the future, about how he would feel when he would hold his own child in his arms and congratulate someone else for the child’s birth. For the very same reasons anonymity made sense in case of sperm donors.
But his friend wanted him to do it for her, so that’s how it was going to be.

After the insemination he sat next to her, holding her hand while she rested as per the instructions of the doctors. She thanked him for doing this for her and cried in his arms.
None of the things that had happened that day had seemed wrong. Not until she had tested positive. The lines confirming the pregnancy were the starting lines of the uneasiness that had taken root in her. It had kept building each day and finally she could not contain it.

The loud knocking on the door brought her out of the reverie. She climbed out of bed and rushed to open the door assuming that her husband was back. When she opened the door she found her friend and his wife standing at the door.
The sobs returned. “Calm down” her friend told her and placed his hands on her shoulder. She moved back involuntarily and looked at his wife.
“She knows” he said and it felt like a punch in her gut. He trusted his wife enough to tell her that he had donated his sperm for his best friend but she could not tell her husband that she had used someone else’s sperm to start their family, what kind of wife did that make her? she thought.

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