I knew it was coming. I had known, since I realized I was carrying another child. It was my worst fear. At times, throughout the pregnancy, it was all I thought about. I was consumed for whole days with the terror of not loving Seedling once she was born.
How it happened was a surprise to me though.
I woke in the hills, overlooking the sea with Braeden shaking me. His face was draw, worried from what I could see. My vision was blurry. He held up my hands and they were bloodied and bruised. He touched my face and it stung and I was so confused.
What happened? I tried to ask but the words wouldn’t come, none would. I just stared at Braeden as he sat me up. He asked so many times if I was alright and even if I knew the answer I wouldn’t have been able to express it. All I could do was stare.
He moved, pushing me up to sit up and settled next to me. I saw my knees were scraped the same as my hands, bloody and dirty. He was crying, I think. It was getting dark out, I could barely see the ocean but we were closer to it than I thought was normal.
Braeden said something about Sevenn, that she had Emmeleine and that they were both ok. I nodded, I think, though I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have been. He put an arm around me, under mine to lift me up. It was hard, walking, one of my ankles refused to hold me up.
When we got home, he took me to the washroom attached to our bedroom, the one with the peacock window. Sitting on the edge of the tub while he undressed me, I found out the clothes were just as ragged as my hands and knees were, and that I’d hardly been wearing anything. It looked like just a light shirt and shorts, something I slept in.
He started explaining then, while the water was running about how he came home and couldn’t find me. How Sevenn had been hysterical, Emmeleine screaming as well. He said he searched the house for me, but that didn’t make sense, I hadn’t been in the house. That’s when I think it started to come together for me- how things had come unraveled.
All Sevenn knew was that she’d come to talk to me about lunch, in the sitting room where I’d been drawing with Emmeleine on the sofa with me, and I wasn’t there. The baby, left alone had rolled onto the floor and was crying. As Braeden told me that part, I remembered. She started crying, while I was drawing. I just wanted her to stop, to be quiet and she wouldn’t.
So I left.
I took the sketchbook, and something to draw with and left.
How could I tell him that? How could I explain that in such a way, that it would be ok, that I left our child alone because I wanted quiet.
The water stung my hands, knees, and feet. Braeden continued to wash and tell his tale of what had happened, though I was remembering the rest myself as well. He looked for me as soon as he returned, he searched the garden and the bench as well, not a trace of me.
That was because I hadn’t gone to those places. I passed by them, but I wanted solitude, I think. I wanted to be completely alone with no sound. I went through the woods, trying to find a quiet spot. What I finally found was a small outcropping in the hills above the sea. It wasn’t as stable as I’d hoped. Loose rocks, nothing to catch myself with.
Braeden said it was a pretty far fall down some rocky terrain in the hills by the sea. He said I was lucky I wasn’t hurt more. He asked again if I was ok, he asked what happened.
Even if I had the words for it, I didn’t think I could say them.
In spite of everything, the thoughts and feelings that consumed me then were for his touch. As he rinsed my skin, I tried to catch his hand, press it to my chest. When he moved to swish the water near my legs, I urged his hand to my thigh. I implored him with my eyes but Braeden didn’t respond. I didn’t know what to say. Still didn’t, I suppose.
He dried me off, dressed me even, in soft familiar clothes and then lead me to the bedroom. She was in there, they were, actually. Sevenn and Emmeleine.
How long was he in here with them, before he went looking? There’s no way to prove anything, one way or the other. I knew it was a stupid thought but it was there all the same. I knew he searched all afternoon and into the evening until he found me, I knew he would never…
Sevenn smiled, she looked relieved and said she was glad I was alright.
I’m not alright, inside or outside but I nodded at her. She handed over Emmeleine and headed for her room. The baby was still fussing, probably hungry. I didn’t want to hold her, I wanted to put her back in the crib and leave again. But instead, I held her up, pressed to my chest. Braeden was here, he’d never let me leave if I saw me try it.
We were silent, while she fed. Braeden just watched us anxiously. When it seemed Emmeliene had enough, he scooped her up and took her to the other room to sleep.
My head throbbed and I just wanted to sleep then, to forget all of it. Braeden returned and rubbed idly at my back. He said he was worried about me. He said he was worried about a lot of things. In particular, he’d been told Bronvys said something along the lines of “Fuck the Sunstorms” recently. He said things seemed to be a mess.
But he was gentle with me, and tried to make it easier. I should feel lucky.
I nodded. I am a mess and I have no idea what to do about it.