Ordinary Lives- 5.
She felt his hand on her wrist. And opened her eyes.
She was sitting upright.
She turned to the bedside, felt about in the darkness and put on her phone to check the time. The bright screen made her blink. 4.38 AM.
“I don’t know.”
They looked at each other in the dark.
In the fairy-light kitchen, he poured her a glass of orange juice.
“I don’t know.”
He looked away. He hadn’t asked for an explanation.
“You weren’t home. The baby was on its way. I was scared. You weren’t answering the phone. You promised you’d be there.”
“Do you want one?”
She hadn’t had a sip of her juice.
“I won’t be able to have it alone. Raise it alone. I’ll be too scared. What if it turns out like me?”
He got off his chair. She cringed at the way the legs dragged against the floor. Now she really craved for some juice. Her throat was feeling dry. She reached for the glass and withdrew her hand.
Withdrew. Damage control.
Lying through her teeth. Babies of the future were little to worry about.
Nights of waking up at odd hours flooded her mind as she tried to focus on his fluid movements around the kitchen. Noiselessly rearranging the world around him. The cotton leg of his shorts folding ever so slightly. But she couldn’t concentrate.
Pasts exist because presents exist and time exists. Laughter that turned to whispers that turned to moans and sighs. Vehement arguments about societal structure and chicken recipes dissolving into nothing because one end of the phone giggled. Promises and baby names. Nights of pillow talk. Deadlines, and dead days. Realisation that tore across letters and conversations, and dryness in mouths, once slick with affection. A heart broken and a story left incomplete. The collateral damage would be suffered by sleep, and a man who was trying to keep his mind off her unmoving hands.
He watched as the scenes passed through her eyes. He never felt more helpless.