“The number you have dialled is not…” I stopped hearing what the network response lady was saying but kept the phone to my ear, willing and hoping that somehow I could reach my hand through and touch his heart. Make him pick up the phone and talk to me.
Anything he said no matter how hurtful, I could and would take. Anything but this silence. His refusal to speak to me was more hurtful and heartbreaking than any words he could have said.
I had called him endlessly from the moment I had been allowed to have my phone with me. I knew he knew I was leaving the hospital, but still he wouldn’t pick up or talk to me.
I heard footsteps coming down the hall towards my room and even though I knew it would not be him, I still hoped and my heart still sped up in anticipation and my disappointment showed on my face when my sister walked in and asked “are you ready?” When my sis saw the look on my face, she came and sat down with me, took my hand and just held it for a few minutes. After we had been like that for a while, she told me we had to leave and I quietly picked up my bag and we left.
In the car on the drive home, I sent him a text. It simply said “We are having a baby girl. I miss you. I love you.”
That was the last time I tried to contact him.
I had seen all the text messages and calls and had ignored all of them.
It was easy to push them all aside and lie to mymself that I wasn’t thinking about them or about her. It was easy to lie about all except the last one. It had said “I am having my first sonogram/ultrasound today. That’s the thing where we get to see the baby for the first time and find out if it is a girl or a boy. I want you to hold my hand through that. I just would really love for us to do this together. I ask nothing more of you… Pls” and then she had sent the address of the hospital and what I should do if I decided to show up there for the 12:30pm appointment.
She had been thinking about me setting up the appointment for 12.30pm, so I could take time out of my lunch break and not have to miss work or maybe she just wanted to see for herself if I was avoiding her on purpose.
I read and reread and reread that text and also ended up having a very tortured morning fighting with my conscience over whether or not I should avoid this meeting.
By 11.30am, I went to my desk and picked up the file marked ‘for immediate attention’ which wasn’t due for delivery until the next morning.
After a long minute just sitting and looking at the file, I opened it and started working on it knowing fully well that because of the nature of the work, once I started I would not stop until i had fnished and also fully aware that it would take over half an hour for me to finish with that file.
I wished I would stop unconsciously looking at the clock every other minute and by the time I glanced at it again and saw 12.35pm, I was able to convince myself that I was too busy to leave the office.
When the text came in by 2.00pm, I quickly picked up the phone with anticipation and could feel my heart starting to beat faster with excitement. I read the text, I was filled with more dread than the excitement I had just felt and as quickly as the excitement came, it left and was replaced by fear.
“We are having a baby girl. I miss you. I will always love you.” That was all the text said and that was the last time I heard from her.
That night, I dreamt of the evening when it all began.
I saw her falling as she whispered “pls catch me”. I reached out to grab her like I had on the fateful evening.
When I stretched out my hand as she turned to face me, I saw that her tummy was big and round and I instinctively recoiled.
All the anger, fear and doubt came through.
She had turned full circle and was going to fall on her face. I thought to myself that no matter what was feeling at that moment, I first needed to catch her so she wouldn’t hurt herself and the baby.
After that thought passed through my mind, everything started happening in slow motion.
A distance that was non-existent appeared and grew and I found myself watching her fall while it felt like I was being pulled away from her by some unseen force. As the distance between us grew, her voice became louder until it seemed as though she was screaming from the core of her being in desperation. “pls catch me, pls catch me” that was all I could hear and from the distance which had become far enough that I could never reach her in time, but in that funny way that dreams always are, I could still see her clearly as though i still stood beside her.
I watched helplessly as she fell and saw the pain in her body and eyes as she curled up and clutched her stomach in a bid to protect herself and her child.
I was close enough to see and hear. I saw the tears and heard her shouting my name...