Breaking the silence she started to speak, “Sam, I have....I have something that I need to tell you.” The invisible string pulled his head down again and he began tracing the crease of his pants with his index finger. “I didn’t know where you were these past eight months. I couldn’t find your phone number anywhere, I called your work and they said you had quit. They said that and were working somewhere else. Your email address didn’t work. None of your friends, not even your parents, knew where you were. I had no link to you. Except....except the child that is growing inside me. It’s our baby, Sam...our baby.”
As she spoke in her gentle, non-accusing way, something broke inside of him, it was the invisible string snapping. The emotion, the grief, his desire to hide what he was really feeling had robbed him not only of his daughter, but his wife, and would continue to rob him if he didn’t grab a hold of the hope that was before him. His eyes, flooded with tears, could no longer focus on his hands. He lifted his head to meet her eyes. He still wasn’t sure what to say, but he knew that he had to try.
“I....I’m sorry,” he faltered briefly. Trying to dab uselessly at the wetness on his cheeks with his coat sleeve he continued, “I have so many regrets. I wish I had known how to deal with losing Claire. I wish that I had known how to share that with you. I know you needed me, but I just couldn’t find the words. I just couldn’t.” Her slight nod across the back seat says that she understands what he is saying. It encourages him to go on. “I left because every time I looked at you, I knew that I hadn’t just lost Claire...I had lost you too. That killed me inside. I didn’t feel like I could fix any of it, so I left. I thought you would be better off if I was gone.”
“It’s been hell, Allie. I have not spoken to anyone about more than details of my job, in months. I’ve never been so alone. Even after Claire died, it wasn’t like this. This is worse. It’s like the air just doesn’t have enough oxygen in it. It can’t sustain me. I feel like I’m constantly gasping to inhale. I’m like a balloon that is slowly being deflated. The worst part is knowing that I did it to myself.” His face crumples and looks like the deflated balloon he had just described as he places it in his hands and sighs. The tears still flow, he can’t seem to stop them.
Allie reaches for him, and awkwardly pulls him closer to her across the seat. She grabs his left hand and places it on her rounded belly. She places her own left hand on top of his and is silent. He looks into her eyes, searching. A moment later the little one stretches under the pressure of their hands. It’s as if he or she can sense that this moment holds a tangible uncertainty and is offering a gift of things to come, things that are certain. There is life. There is a future. There is hope.
(Stay tuned for the conclusion of the this story.....)