Every night, she woke up. Always at the same time. 2:57 AM. That had been the time when she had felt it. The stabbing in her lower abdomen, the wetness between her legs. And the dread, the anguish. Not fear. Fear required a notion of uncertainty, of confusion. She had known exactly what was happening. She had only wished for it to stop. Of course it hadn’t. Even now, it hadn’t gone away. This pain, this deep ache within her body and her heart still pulsed and woke her each night to remind her why she felt this way.
Next to her, she felt him move. He wasn’t asleep, he couldn’t fool her.
While she fell asleep only to reawaken, he couldn’t fall asleep anymore. For two weeks, his eyes would grow heavy but the tides of sleep never carried him away to sweet slumber. Instead, when his body could no longer withstand exhaustion, nightmares came. Terrible images of red stained sheets and his wife crying and cradling something small, red, and motionless in her arms. Her wails echoed through his mind until he woke, his heart racing and his pillow saturated with sweat. He would lie there, waiting for her to awake and sit up. She would stay silent, just sitting there, staring down at her legs, not daring to spread them. A hand rubbing over her abdomen, as if checking to make sure she hadn’t been mistaken. He had tried to talk to her at first, to see if there was any way he could put her mind at ease. To put his own mind at ease. But she never answered him and her silence was more painful than that awful night had been.
He wondered if she blamed him.
She didn’t answer him because he couldn’t help. How could he? He didn’t even understand. Yes, it had been a loss for both of them, but it was far worse for her. She had lost a part of herself. For months, she had been caring for it, nourishing it, loving it even though she had never laid eyes upon it. But now, it was gone, lost forever with no way of replacing it. She didn’t even want to try to replace it. The hole within her was too big, too deep. There was no way he or anyone else could make her feel whole again.