At first, I cried because all I could do was cry. I wasn’t like Tyler, who I now learned liked to deal with grief by not dealing with it. Then, what he was doing seemed to be working so I tried it.
“C’mon, Stace, get up.” Mackenzie said a full week later as she sat next to me on the bed. I didn’t do anything to respond, I just did what I’d been doing for a while. I continued to stare out of the bedroom window.
Mac sighed, “Would you at least tell me when I last time you took a shower was...” I shrugged, “or maybe where Tyler is?
“Work.” I deadpanned, my voice hoarse.
“Work? He just left you like this?”
" I told him to. He was avoiding it, Mackenzie, he’s avoiding me.” And just like that the dam was broken again.
“Oh, sweetie, no he’s not.”
“Yes, he is. He’s avoiding me because I am carrying a dead baby inside of me, his baby, and he blames me. Do you know he doesn’t even look at me, he won’t look at me? Not in the eyes, not ever.”
“I’m sure, he doesn’t blame you.” She stroked my tangled hair.
“I know does.”
“I think we should talk about this after you take a shower.” I didn’t have the energy to say otherwise, so I just nodded.
After getting me a shower she brought me food in the room. We were sitting there after I ate a little bit, after that small portion, I pretty much just pushed the rest around into plate before staring out of the window.
She sighed. “Fine, you’re not going to eat?” I shook my head. “For the babies?”
“They’re fine. I’ll die before they do.” I replied in a monotone voice. “Can I please just get some sleep?”
“You’ve been in here, sleeping, for days.”
Without looking at her, I said, “Crying and sleeping are two different things, Mackenzie.”
When she paused, I glanced over, “... Alright, go ahead. I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.”
I nodded absently and climbed under the covers as she picked up the plate and left the room. Before she left I called her name.
“Yeah?” she turned around and stuffed her phone in her back pocket.
“Will you close the curtains? It’s too bright.”
She set the plate down and did as I asked before walking out again, grabbing the plate in her way. I was so tired- of my reality, of crying- that when sleep threatened to pull me under, I didn’t fight.
So, this is what happiness felt like.
I thought I’d experienced this emotion in my life already. When I got accepted to college, when I got engaged, maybe even when I got married - but no, I was wrong. This was it.
“Anastasia Meyers, let me see the damn paper.”
“No, Ty, you’ve seen it.”
We both sat up in bed. He reached for it, but I held it as far away as possible. “Yeah, once and I couldn’t read it; you took it away too fast.”
“Well... I don’t want to let it go.” I held the paper to my chest, “How ’bout I just read it to you?”
He sighed and laid back down on the bed, “Fine.”
“Planned Parenthood has spoken. I am, in fact, pregnant. Seven weeks along-”
“Why are you reading it like that?”
“Like it’s a national decree or a story or something.”
“I’ll read it however the hell I want; you better be happy I’m reading it at all.”
He rolled over with a smile and lifted up my shirt, “You know what I’m happy for? You...” he kissed my stomach, making me laugh. “And you.” He kissed my lips.
“Why thank you we really appreciate that.”
I’d gone to the Planned Parenthood the day before, but we were those dork first-timers that giggled like teenage girls with tickets to a freaking concert.
“How’ve you been feeling?” Tyler asked.
“You know, I have been feeling some kind of pain or whatever. I think it’ll go away though.”
“You sure you don’t need to go to the clinic or something?”
“I’m sure, it’s fine. Hey, will you go make breakfast so we can eat before work?”
“On it.” He stood up and left.
“Ooh, make me an omelet... please!”
I heard the familiar sound of pots banging as he looked for the right one. I felt another sharp pain in my abdomen and winced as I got up and went to the bathroom. Something just didn’t feel right.
“Tyler!” I called.
“Yeah?” I waited until he found me. His smile instantly fell when he saw me, “What’s wrong?”
“I was wrong. It’s not fine...”
I woke up the same darkness I’d been pulled under in, except now, light didn’t peak through around the edges like it did before. I glanced over at the bedside table, the clock in it read; 8:22.
I sat up quietly and stared into the darkness of the room, thinking about my dream. My eyes began to adjust when I heard noises outside in the living room.
The front door closed - either Tyler was home or Mackenzie had just left.
There was a shuffle and then, “Hello, Tyler... so you’re not gonna speak?” Option number one then.
He didn’t say anything and she sighed, I could hear her stand up.
“Listen,” I heard her whisper, “you can’t do this. You can’t avoid her. That’s your wife, you’re her husband, and job as a husband is not to abandon her and get all in your feelings. I mean, at least make sure she takes a shower, or eats. Do you even care about your other kids?
I guess he nodded because she said, “Then - look at me,” she paused, “if you care about them then the least could do is make sure she eats.”
There was another pause before she said, “Now, Ryan just called so I’m gonna go. Ana’s been asleep for like nine hours so she should be up in a bit. I’ve been checking on her every hour so you should too, just to make sure she’s okay... I’m really worried about you two.”
I’m guessing he didn’t say anything else because she sighed again before I heard the front door close again.
It took a while after the quiet, but I finally gained the courage to leave the room. I found Tyler sitting on the couch, staring at the wall where the TV used to be. He didn’t notice me come out until I closed the door. He turned and his eyes lingered on me a second longer than usual before he turned away, probably because I looked like shit.
“So, um,” I cleared my throat, my own voice sounded weird to me, “I had a dream... it ended before I could finish, but I pretty much just spent an hour piecing it together.”
He nodded absently.
Suddenly, I said, “Why’d you keep it from me?” He turned to me, “Well more, how could you keep this from me?”
He shook his head like I was crazy and stood up, walking over to the kitchen. He grabbed a cookbook and started going through the pages. He showed me a recipe, but my eyes didn’t leave him so he shrugged and continued paging.
I snatched the book away, but all he did was take a seat at the table. “Tyler.” He sighed and looked up at me, ”Too many doctors asked, you had a so many times to tell me...” I took a breath, “I had a miscarriage. Before this... and you didn’t tell me.”
He stayed quiet and, for some reason, that made me angry.
“God dammit, Tyler, say something.” He didn’t. “Say something!” I wiped some useless, empty vase that was left over from the move. “You better fucking say something or I swear to God everything in here-”
“What am I supposed to say?” he asked.
“Anything! To let me know that there’s still a person in there, that you’re not just a walking zombie!”
“I don’t want to say anything to you.”
“Oh, my gosh...” I sighed. “What the hell?”
“Anastasia -” I slapped him before he could say anything else. “Fuck! What do you want me to say - that I love you, but I’m pissed that this happened? That I’m trying so hard to look at like more than just a baby incubator that doesn’t function properly?
“That our baby is dead because you don’t listen - to me, to the doctors, to anyone. That it’s always me who has to comfort you because you don’t feel the same way about me as I do about you?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, my voice cracking slightly, I could tell I was going to cry. I wasn’t even angry anymore, just sad that that’s the way he felt about me.
“Do you love me, Anastasia?”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re talking about.”
“No, it has everything to do with what we’re talking about. Now don’t try and change the subject again. Do. You. Love. Me?”
“... I don’t know.”
“So, you’re saying you don’t love me?”
“It’s a simply question, Anastasia. Do you love me, yes or no?”
I felt tears sting my eyes as I shook my head, “I thought that I did- that I was falling back in love, that I was falling hard. And wish I loved you, I really do. I just can’t though, not after this. Not after you kept something so big away from me for so long.”
“And you never will?”
I shrugged, “I wouldn’t say never, but definitely not anytime soon. I can’t.”
“... It’s never gonna be the same... is it?”
I shook my head, “I don’t think so, no.”
“Then,” he let out a sigh and ran his fingers through his hair, “where does that leave us? What’s next?”
“I don’t know... but, right now, I think you should leave.”
He nodded and went to stand up, but I stopped him, “Wait. Before you go...” he finished standing and looked at me.
“Why’d didn’t you tell me?”
He thought for a second, “We were so unhappy, for so long. I missed this you, the happy you. I honestly thought that that crash was kind of a blessing, because with it came the sarcasm, and the concern, and just you in its purest form.”
After he was done he just stood there for a moment before walking off, leaving staring blankly at the spot he left. Soon Tyler had a few things packed in a suitcase and was standing at the door.
I saw him out of the corner of my eye as he held the doorknob and looked over at me. His mouth hung open, like he wanted to say something, but when I didn’t look at him he closed it. He dropped his hands from the knob, like he was trying to convince himself to stay before shaking his head and opening the door.
The door shut and I glanced over hoping that maybe, just this once, he didn’t listen to my crazy mouth. But he did, he always does, and this time he wasn’t standing there just waiting for me to apologize. He was gone.
And just like that the dam was broken again.