The phone rang. He quickly looked at it and then slowly back up at me.
I stared at the name: Eliot Ganesworth, one of his assistants, calling to work out the kinks of a project he’d been developing for months – his baby. I met his gaze with a glare that dared him to answer it—to deem one more conversation more important than the one we were having, about my baby. When I lost it, I lost him too.
The glow of the rectangular screen made the speckles of the stone countertop shimmer, like sunlight on sand. It would have made me smile if there weren’t already tears in my eyes. I let the salty droplets fall onto the freckled marble. I gripped the edges so hard my knuckles turned white, holding on for dear life – not out of anger, but the sheer will power not to let go. This square island in our kitchen held our weight. If I let go, I would fall, hard onto the tile floor and out of love with Kurt.
I’ve been stumbling, tripping on the litter in my head—tiny moments that made up our love story. Little trinkets that keep falling off the shelf, waiting for me to pick them up and stroll down memory lane—like the time he got me to skinny dip on our third date in a moonlit lake at his house upstate.
I thought he was going to kill me, sincerely. I had only known him for two weeks when he invited me to spend a few days at his cabin on a private lake in the middle of the woods. It sounded romantic.
We drove from the city late Sunday night and didn’t arrive until after midnight in the early morning right before twilight. He pulled the van into the dirt driveway, stepped out of the car and galloped into the dark house. His headlights provided the only light for a half mile radius. It was the first shot from a horror movie –in that moment, I instantly regretted not having a better cell phone provider.
His footsteps creaked on the wooden staircase. I shook as he opened the passenger door, took my hand and led me down to the dock. I thought, This is it, Sylvia, he’s going to slit your throat and that’ll be the end of it – at least it’s an interesting way to go.
Open water with a tree lined bank surrounded the long wooden plank. The moonlight and stars brushed the lake with a silver glow that shimmered with every ripple on the water. He turned to me and smiled.
Okay, now this is it. I closed my eyes and held my breath, mentally preparing to get bound with rope or electrical tape- when I heard a splash. He was swimming ten feet past the dock only in his skin. “Come on in, baby, the water feels great!” I shook my head and grinned, Damn, you are one hell of a man.
Jumping in was a simple decision, the easiest one I’ve ever made. I wasn’t sure if I should be more or less aware of all the creatures—plant, animal, or inanimate— that may or may not be touching me. I glided towards his outstretched arms. He held me just beneath the surface underneath the stars. For fifteen minutes, we were weightless. But gravity caught up with us. We have so many stones in our pockets, we’d give Virginia Woolf a run for her money. Abandoned plans, missed opportunities, and forgotten romance morphed into resentment slowly boiling in a pot on the back burner.
After the miscarriage, he threw himself into his work. He can’t look at me without feeling completely helpless, a foreign feeling to any man. But I don’t blame him, I can barely look at myself –I feel like less of a woman for betraying him as a wife. Not every woman is maternal—certainly not me. I don’t want to try and make another little piece of Kurt and a little piece of me. I’m selfish, I want us whole. I didn’t lose the baby. I went to my doctor without consulting my husband and got the procedure to make it go away. Doctor patient confidentiality kept the truth a secret.
The truth is: love lies.