She wanted to have a baby so very badly.
There was a void in her heart that all my love and attention could not fill. It was obvious in the way she stared hungrily at the sound of any child’s cry, before turning quickly away with an expression of disappointed resignation. The chasm between us was growing. Our love was not dead, but with every passing month it was distorting into a close mimic of hate, a bitterness I was willing to do anything to whipe away.
Thus it started.
Umpteen visits to doctors, hours of tests, strategising treatments, tiresome tests and painful injections, planning, hoping, waiting, getting disappointed, searching for new options, going through it again and again, and with every failed attempt the growing desperation. When medical science failed her, she resorted to alternative medicines, and when they did not help, she started hinging her hopes on mystics and gurus.
I should have put my foot down, should have talked her out of this nonsense, should have consented to adoption, but I was too weak. I simply went along.
No, that’s not true. I didn’t just go along, I believed. Like her, I clung on to every glimmer of hope, however implausible or unscientific. Disregarding the disparages and skeptics around us, we went from mystic to mystic, until the day we met him.
There was a charisma and reassurance about him that enabled us to stop and breathe. When he smiled, it was as if the dark clouds parted to allow brilliant life giving sunlight through, thawing out our frozen hearts and reigniting hope. The unfolding of the cosmos is preordained, he explained, and we had only to wait for our moment. In the meanwhile we were to pray, undertake cleansing and purifying rituals as a couple and as individuals, ready ourselves for the arrival of the blessed one.
She was at peace one again, a glimmer of her former self, and I felt such a relief at being able to lay down my burden into the capable hands of another. I started concentrating on work again, saving as much as possible for the family I was now assured I would have. She spent her days cloistered in prayer, emerging from every ritual with a lighter heart.
It was 11am on a Tuesday morning when the postman came.
Outside the wind was blowing hot and hungry but indoors the only sound was the clock’s agitated clicking, grating on my mind, click click CLICK CLICK, like the trigger of a gun being cocked back over and over. She had sent me a divorce notice.
I did not understand why.
I waited for her return so that we could talk, but it was he who finally came to my door. There had been a revelation, he had seen her future. It was my negative energy that was keeping the baby at bay. If I really loved her I would step away.
I did not understand.
The days that followed are a blur. Someone came by to collect her things and with them the scattered remains of my dreams.
I still watch her sometimes, like a cheap voyeur, standing across the street from where she works. She steps out of the car and waves to the driver. Shamelessly I soak in the smile meant for another and briefly calm my tumultuous heart.
She is married to him now.
I keep looking for signs of a baby bump but see none.
Yet she is happy, she is calm.
I do not understand.
Posted for word prompt Cling