Today I’d like to share with you the first chapter of the piece I am currently working on, “What Follows Sorrow.” This is a short story of a young couple, Emilia and Devin, who are trying desperately to have a baby. Of course they’ll have their HEA, but obviously, conflict won’t make it easy. This is dedicated to a dear friend of mine whose struggles were real, and whose triumphs were beautiful. Let me know what you think and if you have any sugg’s!! Enjoy and thank you!
I grasp desperately at the tiny fragments of a bloody baby as it goes smoothly down the siphon of our hall toilet, without so much as a flush to help. It’s 3 a.m. The witching hour I’ve heard. This seems true. Cold pink water drips off my fingertips, magnified onto a white toilet seat. I fight the urge to wipe my tears with dirty hands. I glide over cold tiles, slowly making my way to the sink, dazed, confused, unsure if reality or dream moves me along. I couldn’t save him. He slipped right through my fingers. By the time I wrestled with pain and expulsion and realized what was happening, it was already too late. One year of dreams, of hope, down the drain. I cringe at the choice of words. I’m sorry baby. I can hear Devin calling for me from our bedroom down the hall. My use of the hall restroom was in vain. I won’t tell him. I can’t.
I try to steady the quiver in my voice with two slow breaths before I speak.
“I’m in the restroom. Go back to sleep.”
I know the response to come. “Why are you using the guest toilet?”
I desperately take inventory of my limited vocabulary inflicted by my state of mind. One word. One word. “Mexican!” I shout throwing my head sideways. The dinner we’d had the night before seemed so enchanting at the time; now, it’s only minutes away from coming back up, flaming through my esophagus.
Devin chuckles loudly, but sleepily. His lack of response assures me he’s drifting back into peaceful sleep, while I, I will be here, cleaning up the only proof that our baby ever existed, the deep red from the tile, the toilet, and smudged between my legs and running down to my ankles like rain drops on a window pane.
Thirty minutes later I’m crawling into a bed that no longer holds promise or peace, only nightmares of a tiny one calling out to me. “Mommy! Mommy!” I dive into a salty sea, burrowing through viscous waves that slap my face with a sting, but I can’t find him. He is no more.
I’m trembling when my husband shakes me.
“Emilia.” His voice is urgent and even before I can look at him, I can only know what his eyes will look like. “Wake up, Emilia.”
I open my eyes slowly, doubtfully, and learn the nightmare continues. A dampness cradles my bottom half. I am startled fully awake. In the lamplight I confirm that Devin’s eyes are wild with panic. I’m too afraid to flip over the blankets, as if a pit of snakes would be waiting underneath, so I slide a trembling hand underneath them, reach down and confirm my fears drizzled in wet, sticky warmth. I jerk my hand out, and as if I’d dipped it into a paint can, deep red manifests with enough to make a colorful handprint, one you’d date and frame, one my baby would have made when older. I feel faint, but not so much from the loss of blood as the sight of Devin’s pajama bottoms covered in it.
Twenty minutes later with both of us half-dressed from a mad dash of getting out of blood, I’m at the emergency room. I stare unfazed at the large red words EMERGENCY. It’s an emergency alright. The lavender towel that Devin grabbed and jammed between my legs has soaked through as if I submerged it into a sink full of warm water. I feel bad for the car seat and I am also ticked because the towel belonged to a set in our master bathroom. I make a quick mental note to replace the entire set. I’ll give our old one to the Goodwill.
I am just still debating the whole bathroom set scenario, going through complimentary colors so as to just interchange instead of completely replace, when Devin is at my window. He still has a bat-out-of-hell look and the window fogs from his breath. He is waving so furiously that I think to wave back when he reaches down and taps his index finger at the lock.
When my bloody fingers finally find purchase on the tiny, slim button, I realize our little Honda has power locks, and I’ve set off the alarm. Devin drops to the ground as if taking cover and I am completely soaked and baffled. He’s gone for some time before he reappears, fumbling wildly with the key remote to disarm the car. Before my slow hand can reach for the handle, the door is pulled open, and I am greeted by a wheelchair. I don’t quite recall how I got from the car into the chair, but within minutes, several pairs of hands go to work on me. Some at the top, more at the bottom.
I fumble drowsily for Devin’s hand. There it is. My anchor, but I find I’m disappointed. In the trial and tribulation of baby-making, I feel bitter. I can’t seem to find any hope in his touch. It’s not his fault. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine. We can make a baby with some help, but I can’t carry a baby. My body is broken, yet I fight to suppress my anger against the only person in this world who is for me. Why? Because he innocently came along for the failed ride? I’m not sure. Just as I wrestle for any self-control, I’m pumped with meds, and they burn and pulse through the vein in my arm. I seal out my consciousness with a lick of my dry lips. I don’t care what happens next.