This is Life

read the suite from the beginning

by A.L. Diaz

“Two Months”

Two months had passed. Two months after she made love to him. Two months after the greatest evening of her life. Two months after she found strength to keep fighting through her broken marriage.

Two months without a sign from her body that she got away with it. 

Alone in the house, she sat in the tub, stroking her lower abdomen with a trembling touch. Did something reside inside her? When she was pregnant with her first child, she had the traditional symptoms of vomiting and mood swings. But this time, as she lay half emerged in water, unmotivated to get out. She could not bear to lift her head. She wanted nothing more than to sleep. But when she did sleep, she dreamed of a wolf. A wolf on two feet that chased her through the house and into the woods where, no matter where she hid, it found her. Every time she lifted her head it was as if it had doubled in weight. Resting her hand above her pelvis, she could not help but worry. Her husband had not touched her since their son was born. He said she had served her purpose, why would he need to do it again? It was why he bought them separate beds. 

She wondered if she could convince him that he did it to her in a drunken fit. If the baby came out looking like Alessandro, would he even notice? What if he caught onto her lie? What if he did not believe her? Would he kick her out onto the streets? Would he kill her? Or the father of her unborn child? After almost eighteen years, had she ruined everything by letting herself experience some kind of joy? How dare she endanger everyone with her selfish actions. What sort of monster puts their own happiness over that of others’ wellbeing? He would murder them. All of them. All because of her.

In her descent into the abyss, her head spun fast enough that it fell over the side of the tub where she vomited her breakfast. Her skin turned to ice and she struggled to keep herself from drowning. Her throat jerked again and again until she had nothing left in her stomach and hung on the bathtub, the porcelain amplifying the snare behind her ribs.

Her surroundings faded, turning black and restoring until a cry broke through her lungs. Tears intermixed with hyperventilation, turning into more dry heaves that almost dragged out her insides.

The bath water had turned cold by the time the torment faded. Body draped on the bathtub, all but dead, it refused all orders for movement. 

But for a moment, she thought of his touch. A touch so loving it returned sensation to the depths of her soul. She closed her eyes, crying as she pushed the memory of him from her mind. 

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