The clock ticked, silence forming like thick clouds emanating from London chimneys between us. Couldn't he just speak? This emptiness is killing me. I don't know what to say to make it better, I only know to stop breathing. That will make his decision that much easier to bear.
"I'm pregnant" She said, voice quivering. She looked so scared, so pale. Her thin arms held her shoulders, her neck strained to look up at me. I don't know what to say. We're pregnant, is what she should have said. It is not only her. We are in this together.
Finally he speaks, "How long do we have left?"
"Not very long. Only a few weeks."
"I don't understand, you don't look that pregnant" I say, confused. Her body was too thin, too pale. Aren't women supposed to glow? Shouldn't she know by now? Shouldn't I know that I have a baby on the way? Shouldn't I have felt it in my heart sooner? My mother said she knew when she was pregnant with me immediately. She knew before she even took a test. She told me it was the happiest day of her life, the day she had me. She's always wanted to be a grandmother. I wonder how we'll tell her. Maybe we'll order a cake and have it delivered to her. I bet she'd love that.
"Dylan" I asked, eyes stretching. "I don't mean that I'm 8 months pregnant or anything, you know that, right?" His face didn't seem to register. He didn't seem to understand. I could see in his eyes that he was lost in his head again.
"Dylan!" I screamed, not knowing how to rationalize my thoughts anymore. My body is aching, and I'm too exhausted to find a diplomatic way of getting his attention right now.
"Dylan!" She squeaked loudly, " I'm not keeping the baby, you have to understand that!" Tears swam in her eyes, skin growing even more pale. Her lips shuddered, gasps and moans shaking through her body.
Even her body was riding against her. Even in it's state it knew that that baby was our way out of this hell hole. Even her body knew that this baby was the best thing that will ever happen to us.
My body shook, sobs unable to hold themselves back. How could this happen to us? We were so safe, we don't deserve this. This isn't real
This isn't real.
This isn't real.
"What do you mean we're not keeping it?" He asked, voice wavering.
I looked up in wonder, confused and not at all delighted.
"Dylan," I started, "We can't raise this child. Look at us."
"Look at us" She mouthed, words floating away like tiny dreams you can't remember in the morning. I could hear vague sounds but they weren't attached to her body. I couldn't hear her properly, but I could see her.
I turned to my left, facing the mirror.
"What are you doing, Dylan, can you please speak to me"
In the mirror I see myself. I see the gruff patterns of a poorly executed shave. I see the floppy hair that needs to be showered or grease might slip off the ends and drip into my hands that are too large and sweat too much when I hold her hand. And then I see her beside me, so frail and fragile yet still so beautifully strong. I see the lines of an starved artist that paint her arms, covered in the real paint she uses to express herself in new ways. I see the lines of stress on her forehead but I also see the laugh lines at her eyes and the dimples in her smile. I see the figure she hates but that I love. I see two people that could have everything together.
"Dylan what are you doing?" She cried, moving to touch my shoulder. I flinched.
"How dare you" He growls, throwing my hands off him.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" I screamed, pushing him away from me. "Huh? You think it's okay to just throw a girl around?"
"What, like you think it's okay to make a decision about OUR child without talking to me first?"
"Dylan, we can't keep it-"
"No, Sarah. It's you who can't keep it. It's you who can't see that this is the sign we've been waiting for." Tears lit up in his eyes, turning his stormy sea of anger into waves of hope. "This is everything we've been waiting for."
He closed the space between us, holding his hands to my face.
"What do you even mean?" I choke out, not understand his new found brightness. "How can this be a sign?"
"This is the sign that we are meant to be together. Can't you see? We were made for each other."
I turned to face the mirror, inspecting our bodies. It seemed so strange. I had never thought of us as permanent. Our bodies fit together like mismatched puzzle pieces, never quite fitting into each other the way they should. He's just a little to tall, just a little too bony. I'm just a bit too short, a bit too cold. I don't push into him when I sleep hoping he'd wrap me in his arms, I pull away and bow my head into my arms and curl into my body. How can he even believe for a moment that we were made for each other?
"No, Dylan, this is a mistake. This is a baby, can't you see that?
"Of course I can see that, why do you think I'm so upset?"
"You don't understand, this is an actual human being that we would be raising"
"And what's the problem there?"
"We can't raise a human, neither of us are mentally capable of that. Not now. Not like this."
"This is my baby too, you can't take away my child just because you don't think we're ready."
"Dyl, honey. I'm sorry. But this really isn't your decision."
How could this not be my decision?
"This baby is part you and part me, meaning I have a say in what happens to her."
"Yes, Sarah, Her. I know it's a girl. I can see her in my head, and I already love her with my whole heart. She's ours, and you can't take away my baby girl."
Her face crumpled as I spoke, trembling and huddled. She knelt to the floor slowly before falling. I caught her just as she fell to the floor, sobbing into my shirt. Tears soaked my clothing and slid down my stomach until they fell from my hips into the stained wooden floor beneath us.
"Dylan I can't do this" SHe breathed slowly, still pulsing in turn with my breaths. In and out. Careful breaths.
"Yes you can" I said quietly, lifting my head to look at her squarely. "You can do anything you want to do." I smiled gently and brushed the hair from her face, and the tears from her eyes.
"Dylan, I don't want to do this."
I could feel my eyes tighten from the inside, just as hair pulled itself from their roots and carried my head along for the ride. I felt dizzy, and in my delirium I could feel weight shifting inside of me. Sounds formed around me, shuffling and soft voices.
His head head the floor with a thud, eyes moving slowly in his eyelids. I could hear the moaning coming from under his chin deep in his throat.
I felt like I'd stabbed him in the heart. I feel like I'd taken the last good thing from him; his hope was all he had left. As I stood from his shaking body I could sense my next actions. They were not easy.
As Dylan lay on the floor, I moved around our small apartment and gathered all my things. There was not enough room in my bags for everything.
I did not want to return to him knowing that I am the one who ruined his future.
At the door I paused in the frame while my brother shoved my things into his car. I looked back to him lying, now simply staring at me as I watched him from across the room.
"I'm sorry" I try to say to him, though the words come out choked and wrong. They taste like poison in my mouth, they taste like anger and sadness and every single thing I have ever regretted saying.
She left without saying goodbye. I could see the shapes of her and Alex rummaging through my home. I could hear them naming books and loading suitcase after suitcase into the beat up old car he's so proud of. I see her pick through her plates and cutlery, refusing to laugh at the irony of her choosing to keep the glass set of cups my mother gave her last year. Of course she would choose something as cold as her heart.
As she stood in the door frame I have to force myself from standing, from running to her side and pulling her into my arms. I stop myself from calling out to her, from trying to change her mind.
In her head her mind is made up. It hurts me to see her make a decision so final. This is her chance at happiness, this is our chance at happiness. I'm not the only one losing here. I'm just the only one that can see it.
As I submit to sleep, I see visions of myself in a field. In my dream I see Sarah standing beside me, arms linked. We are smiling, and I remember this day as the day we celebrated our two year anniversary. We were so happy then. We couldn't stop laughing that day at the park. I can see us dancing when the dream ripples and in the place of a flower patch there is now a little girl in a white dress spinning in circles. She is small featured, just like Sarah. She has her mother's nose, and the same dimples. She has my hair, a dark chalky brown and a face full of freckles. Her lips are bright red and her skin is tanned in the summer sun. She laughs and calls out to me,
"Daddy look what I can do!" She laughs, running at me. In my dream she soars effortlessly into my arms, hugging me tightly and in that moment I can't remember feeling anything so sweet. I can't remember smiling as much as I did then, and I can't remember ever praying do hard that I would never wake up in my life. Never before had I been so much happier in my dreams.
"Daddy come play with me" Her voice calls out, light and laughing. I go to her willingly, leaving Sarah alone in the field as my daughter and I leave together.