Story 90

She watched him as he ate silently, oblivious to all the thoughts in her mind. She kept playing with her food, unable to eat a single bite. She did not know how to initiate the conversation. She had to talk about it before it was too late.

They had been arguing over a topic for a long time. And, when the argument is stretched too long – always the same words spoken, the end result being same each time; over a period of time it becomes like a routine you ‘have’ to make a part of your everyday life. Today had been different. He had not said a word about it and she wanted to talk but could not.

They had been married for more than five years. He thought it was time for them to start a family and she thought otherwise. She did not want kids, at least not for another year or two. She did not really like kids. She had been taking contraceptive pills without him knowing. On one hand, he kept trying to make a baby and on the other hand she made sure it did not happen. He planned everything, calculated the ovulation time and made sure they made contact around those days. At one point, she felt guilt but then she convinced herself that what she was doing was right for her. She had a good career, she liked her work and did not want to give all that up being pregnant and then sitting at home taking care of a baby. 

But –
It had happened. She had missed her periods and when she had taken the pregnancy test, the result was positive. She had perhaps missed taking a pill, she concluded. She wanted to share the good news with him. He had always wanted this. She thought she would be disappointed to find out that she was pregnant but when it was finally the time to put her doubts to rest, as she had been holding the stick in her hand, she found herself feeling excited about being pregnant.
When she had finally seen the two bands on the stick, instead of being upset about the contraception failure she had found herself smiling as she looked into the mirror.

He had come home late. He said he had a long and tiring day. She readied his bath for him. She waited for him to kiss her before he stepped into the bath. He did not. She waited for him to call her in, he did not. She thought it would have been the right time to tell him that she was pregnant, as they showered together. Finally, she walked out of the room and went to kitchen to prepare dinner.

He walked out of the bathroom, got dressed and went to living room and switched on the TV. While working in the kitchen she heard him arguing with someone over the phone. She knew he was upset. She knew this news would definitely change his mood. It would make him happy.
The sound of remote hitting the TV brought her out of her reverie. He raised his voice over the phone and then slammed the handset against the wall. She had never seen him this upset.

Before she could ask what was wrong he came to the kitchen to drink water and what he said next shocked her. More than shocking her, it scarred her.
“Thank God we did not get pregnant. For the first time, I am convinced that your adamant decision of not conceiving is in fact a good thing for us.”
He drank water straight from the bottle he had taken out of the refrigerator. He put the bottle back in, slammed the refrigerator door shut and walked out of the kitchen without seeing her face, or without waiting to hear a response from her.

She settled down on a chair at the dining table and held her head in her hands. “I am hungry” he yelled from the living room and she got up to finish cooking. She did not know what was wrong but it was definitely big. She knew he would eventually tell her about it, she was not sure anymore whether she would be able to tell him her news.

He ate his dinner without saying a word or looking at her. She watched him eat. She kept playing with her food, unable to eat a single bite. She did not know how to initiate the conversation. She had to talk about it before it was too late.
He broke the silence. He told her why he was upset. His boss had transferred him to a different city. They expected him to uproot his life from this place and settle elsewhere and start from scratch. They were not promoting him, they were demoting him. The job position was going to be lower in rank, the pay was going to be less but the work was going to be more. There were people answerable to him in this office, in the new office he would have to answer to someone else. They had ruined his life. And, he was thankful that he did not have added responsibility of a child in these circumstances.

“Maybe it is a good thing to wait for a year or two” he said as he finished his dinner and drank water. He did not wait for her to finish her plate, he got up from the dining table and put his dish in the sink. Then, suddenly realizing that his wife had gone silent all of a sudden, he turned around to face her
“Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.” He said and walked out of the kitchen.
She sat at the dining table, staring at her food. Two things bothered her – one, the good news she was going to share had in fact turned into not so good news, maybe it was more inclined towards bad news and secondly, he did not bother asking what she thought about all that he had just unloaded on her.
She had a decent job. Chances were, she would be promoted soon. He could not possibly expect her to leave her job and go waltzing with him to this new place his boss had thrown him into.
She did not know what to do.
Earlier in the day, when she had learned that she was pregnant, she had decided to quit her job when it was finally the time. Now, under the new circumstances, she did not know whether it was such a good idea.

She picked up her plate and emptied the food in the garbage bag. She washed the plates, kept the leftover food in the refrigerator, finished her work in the kitchen and walked to the bedroom after switching off all the lights.
He was already in bed, reading a book. She changed into a night dress and climbed into the bed. He did not look up from the book.
She realized he had been avoiding eye contact since his comment about her adamant decision.

“I am pregnant” she told him and pulled up the covers, turned on the side with her back to him. She did not want to see his reaction, she did not care. She was too hurt to care. She was confused. She wanted someone to be confused along with her. Help her to make a choice. Stay pregnant or abort. Stay in the same city and continue working or leave everything behind and follow him to a new place.
What was she supposed to do – stay pregnant and follow him to a new place? Undergo abortion and follow him to a new place?
Stay pregnant and continue working or undergo abortion and continue working, earn enough for both of them and then take a second chance a year or two later?

She felt dizzy. The confusion was too much to bear. She noticed that he had not reacted to her news. The way she had blurted out the news and turned away from him without waiting for his reaction, must have definitely confused him or maybe hurt him. Or maybe he had not heard what she had said. She took a deep breath and turned around to face him.
He was not in bed. She had not felt him getting out of the bed. She pushed the covers aside and climbed out of bed to search for him. She found him standing at the balcony. His arms resting on the railing and his head buried in his palms. She walked closer and that’s when she heard the crying. He was crying.

She stepped on to the balcony and placed a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. He stepped back. She did not know whether he was surprised by her touch or he was upset by it.
She watched him as he wiped his tears on the sleeve of his t-shirt. She waited for him to say something. He did not say a word.
“I am sorry, that was not the way I wanted to disclose the news” she said to him.
“I thought you were on contraceptives” he said and surprised her.
Hiding from him was one thing but telling a lie on his face was a different thing altogether. She could not do it. She could not lie to him.
“I must have missed taking a pill” she said, not making eye contact.
“I don’t know what to say. Should I be angry that you were taking contraceptives or be upset that you missed taking it” he said and sat down, his back resting against the railing.
She sat next to him. “I am sorry.” She said.
She tried to hold his hand but he moved it away.
“I was excited when I came to know about the pregnancy instead of being upset that it had happened.” She told him, as if that would change anything.

She was hoping that he would help her make a choice but he was more confused and upset than her. He was not in a position to help her. He could not even help himself.
“Life’s a bitch” he said and got up. Before she could react, before she could get up, he walked to the bedroom and slammed the door shut. She followed him and tried to get in but she could not. He had locked the door. She banged on the door, called out his name. She begged him to open the door but he did not open it. Finally, she gave up and sat on the floor outside the bedroom door. She could hear him yelling, crying and throwing things around. She heard the mirror shattering and then there was silence.

Fear gripped her mind. She could not breathe. She got up from the floor and banged her fist on the door. She tried to kick open the door. She pushed herself against the door and tried to open it. She rushed to the kitchen and dragged a chair towards the bedroom; she lifted it, ready to strike it against the door but before she could, the door opened from the inside.

She slapped him as he stepped closer to her. “You scared me to death” she yelled at him. He did not say a word. He let her hit him and when she was finally tired he took her to the living room. They sat on the couch for a long time, without saying a word. Finally, he broke the silence.
“We have to make some important choices.” He said. She nodded. He was telling her what she already knew.
“Did I tell you – life’s a bitch?” he said sarcastically and laughed. "I know" she whispered as she took his hand in hers.
“We will get through this” she said to him. He looked at her and smiled. He leaned in to kiss her.
“I need to go” he said after this kiss. “You need to stay” he added.
“One step at a time, we will take it one step at a time.” She said

*This story might seem too simple as compared to the previous few stories published on You Me & Stories; but think about the couple that faces similar kind of situation in real life. It's not simple for them.

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silent whispers

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