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The Other End of the Rainbow – A Short Story

February 5, 2016 - Fiction, Flash fiction

La Douleor/Jean_Escoula

She gazed at the moon, while shattered dreams quietly rained down her cheeks. Faint light from the moon shimmered in her eyes. Waves pooled around her feet. She rubbed her hand over her stomach and felt only aching emptiness, where she had felt life before.

The tiny life inside her had held so much promise. Promise of the joy, laughter and even the tears to come. She felt pain, as sharp as the chilly night air, as she remembered the look of grief and a hint of accusation in Arun’s eyes.

She tried to hold them back, but the memories crowded in.

A routine check-up, a week, prior to her due date, had turned into a nightmare. They couldn’t hear the heartbeat of the baby. Immediately, she was admitted to the hospital. A c-section seemed to be the best option. The baby was dead. It had died in her womb two days ago.

She fought desperately against the bile that rose in her throat.

To protect her body from the death inside her, she had been on medication. Her heart was a different matter.

It seemed as if everyone was screaming at her in silent accusation. The quiet screams of her baby still echoed in her ears.

She had not even noticed that she had felt no movement for the last two days. Weren’t mother’s supposed to sense that their child was in danger? Shouldn’t some maternal instinct have warned her that her baby was in danger?

Had she been selfish to work towards the end of her pregnancy? She had not wanted to ruin her career just because she was having a baby. Maybe she had killed her baby instead.

Arun had not spoken with her since. That hurt more than her guilt. Till now she had been absorbed in her own grief to pay attention to that detail. Maybe he wanted out.

She saw the headlights of Arun’s car as it approached the house. She turned around to reach the refuge of her bedroom before he saw her.

Arun felt his shoulder muscles tense as he approached the house. He tried to control the hurt and anger he felt, when he saw her turning to the house. His jaw tightened. He knew she needed space but it was fast turning into a vast chasm. He hadn’t been able to breach the emotional barrier Riya had woven around her. He had lost his child. He was within an inch of losing his wife too. He needed her to win this battle.

He had not approached her before because he knew she needed to grieve for their loss. Taking determined steps he turned towards the guest room where she had taken temporary refuge.

He found her looking out the window.

“Riya, we need to talk?”

Only the slight stiffening of her shoulders betrayed her emotions and she turned around. There was a question in her eyes.

“What do they do with the baby?” Riya choked out.

He didn’t know the answer. He didn’t want to know. It was difficult to cope, as it was.

She had read somewhere that a hospital had dumped its medical waste including a seven month foetus in a garbage dumpster. Had her baby met the same fate?

The thought turned her weak and she reached the window sill for support.

“Don’t” he said, following her thoughts.

Riya turned her back to him and let the hot tears fall. Maybe, it was better that she didn’t know.

Arun absently picked up a sketch pad lying on the desk. The sketch of a baby girl with stuffed cheeks and dark ringlets of hair stared back at him.

It had been a girl.

Riya hadn’t sketched in years. Well at least it had led Riya to sketch again, he thought. There’s a silver lining to every cloud. Right now, he just need special glasses to be able to see it.

There were no words to console. So he didn’t voice any. Without a word he turned her to him and forced her to meet his eyes. Along with hesitancy he read guilt in her eyes.

“It wasn’t your fault” he said hoarsely.
“It wasn’t your fault” he repeated.

The truth of his words finally penetrated her. Grief that had been curbed so long spilled over.

They clung to each other and let the pain bind them together.

The dream had broken and the pieces still stabbed, but now, it was the time to heal and chase the other end of the rainbow.

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