The Next Chapter
Had I watched the clock, the silence would've lasted two whole seconds. As it were, stunned and beached on the couch, the hands seemed stuck.
"Yeah, I remember," I said.
That rawness deep in your throat. Right there, where they can cut a hole to help you breath again. Right there. Hot and raw and waiting to burst. Right there. That's where the tears start when you know you're no longer going to be a father.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Try being a mother when that happens. Can't, and never will. I'm not made that way. I cannot give birth, and can never feel what it must feel like when my body rejects the creation of life. How I must hate the world, hate myself, hate God maybe.
All I know is that the loss slams you full on, in searing hot raw-throated emotion. A wave crashing an empty beach, uncontrollable and devastating over time.
"I didn't think we'd be able to get past it, frankly," Emmie said, and the rush of the clock, and talk, started.
"Very nearly didn't."
"I know," she said. "I still wake up nights, sweating, wondering ..."
That morning, Bonnie left us alone with the news. We clung, shut out the steel and sterile around us. And wept.
It's not what most think. Writers and directors get it wrong. It's silent, with deep breaths, ripping your throat raw. Right there.
It eased over time of course. Sprang back to life momentarily when you found the forgotten what-to-expect books in the closet, the half finished crocheted baby blanket in the yarn drawer, the prerequisite pink and blue Lowe's paint samples.
Wounds heal. Then, you catch yourself looking at a scar once in a while. On a couch. Like now.
"Anyway, I've been talking to Delia and there's this family, well, couple. They're grandparents."
She stopped. Pulled out a tiny slip of paper. I could see numbers, hastily scribbled. Seven digits, and a dash.
You know those moments in movies, where they make the clock tick slowly? Dramatic music rises, and you watch the main character's face light up or change or otherwise clinch all the plot points up until then? And you know any second an action will bring everything to a climactic turn?
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