For the many men who had no choice; for those who had no voice. This is for you.
The warrior sat on his bed; tears mixed with his sweat and ran down like stinging drips of seawater from his squinting eyes. “How could this have happened?” he prayed, his lips curled in anguish. What a horrific joke, born from some black pit of hell. His soul like a cola which had been shaken came pouring out once more and he bent his head and clutched his hands as his body shook over and over again. Bent over from the waist, he retched dryly, trembling.
Coughing, he finally regained some semblance of self control, if it could be called that. The girl that he loved with his entire heart, his future wife, the mother of his child, the light of his life had…. He remembered their tense conversation.
“We need to talk,” she said, curling up on the couch, her legs underneath her. She glanced at him and brushed the rich brown hair from her pretty eyes.
The warrior sat down next to her, brows furrowed with concern. It wasn’t often she used *those* words. He looked into her face with attention, absorbing every feature.
She looked down and after a pause whispered “I’ve had a miscarriage.”
Love poured out from him as he embraced her closely and held her to his chest. “Oh, honey,” was all he could say as he considered all the things her words entailed. Their baby, the product of their mutual love was lost, and she was in need of his support. She held on to him, her head down.
“Why didn’t you call me? When did this happen?” he murmured, rocking her gently.
“Yesterday,” she replied, allowing the first question to go unanswered. He stroked her head softly as she leaned on his shoulder, allowing his actions to speak for him in the silence. He inclined his own head on hers as they both cried.
After a while he leaned back again, wet eyes shining. “Have you been to see the doctor? I can take you,” he offered.
“No,” she replied softly, sniffling. The warrior puzzled over her answers. Usually she was so verbose that he had a hard time trying to get a word in edgewise. Yes, perhaps it was because of what had happened. That had to be it. Still. Something was not… quite… right.
Last week she had been talking with a friend at work. Women share things and in this she was no exception. Her colleagues there shared a mutual desire to achieve financial success through hard work and long hours at the company. She had been divided in her thoughts over her pregnancy though, both worried and happy at the same time. She and the warrior were both Christians, but she did not look forward to the social ostracism and talk that would be generated in the church when the news finally broke. Added to that was the time she would have to take off from her job. At lunch she shared her concerns with her friend.
“Oh sweetie, listen,” her friend began, flipping her wrist. “You want to hitch your wagon train up to *his*? The one with no career? What kind of future will you have? What kind of life will he provide? And you’re so young. I was in the same situation you were in, and I had it done. I was so glad afterwards that I was not permanently attached to that man.”
The friend did not mention any of the repercussions of her decision, because in order to do so, she might have to admit remorse or regret, and in doing that she might have to come face to face with the possibility that she was wrong in her decision. That was just not going to happen. “Trust me, it’s nothing,” she confided, playing with her jewelry. “You’re in and out in a couple of hours. You can still have a family later if you want to, and you are not saddled down with this guy. Plus, he never has to know.”
Her friend’s words echoed through her mind that week, like whispers in a canyon of doubt. No lifelong commitment. A lifetime of freedom to make other choices. He never had to know. Like the apple in the garden, it all made perfect sense. Thus, the seeds were planted which led to her fateful decision.
“What’s the matter?” he asked, tilting his head as he consoled her. It only took a moment, a glance between them for him to know something was very, very wrong. They had a connection where it did not take much for one to know the other’s thoughts. In that flicker of recognition there was hesitancy in her eyes. She was holding something back.
She did not respond to the question he asked, but she didn’t need to. The wheels were turning, and they led to an inevitable conclusion. “No,” he mouthed the word, unable to even speak, his chin wrinkled as his eyes opened wide in abject horror. She looked down and his world became numb. He shook his head and got up from the couch, steadying himself against the plush armrest. As if in a dream, he turned towards the door in slow motion.
“Wait!” she cried as he got up to leave. She wanted to talk now, but the repercussions of her unspoken revelation were too much to bear.
“Not now!’ he managed to rasp, making a cutting motion to the side with his forearm. His child, their baby, was gone. Dead. And with it, his hopes and dreams for their future life. He staggered out the front door, the enormity of it all just beginning to hit home. He cranked the engine and tore out of the driveway.
No birthdays. No first steps. No bedtime stories. No special occasions or moments of love shared. It was all gone. He reached down and turned off his cell phone. No need for that tonight. He nearly ran off the road on a sharp curve, the tires squealing in protest as they fought the car’s inertia against the pavement. He didn’t care. Smoke plumed in red-lit pinwheels behind the car as it tore off into the night.