Sara and Abraham walked out of the fertility clinic side-by-side. A few years ago, when all this started, they would have been holding hands on their way to the car. Hope would have had them smiling at each other as they walked across the parking lot. Today, hope was something they couldn’t afford.
Abraham slid into the passenger seat out of habit. His mind was on their new specialist – Dr. Gabriel was young, and the building was brand-new, but she had come highly recommended. He wondered how long it would be before he started hating her office as much as he’d hated their last specialist’s office.
When he realized Sara hadn’t started the car yet, he turned in his seat to look at her. She was staring through the windshield, her hands gripping the steering wheel hard enough to leave marks in the leather cover.
“Hon? You OK?” Abraham mentally smacked himself in the head. Stupid question – of course she wasn’t OK. How long can you endure the reluctant rise of hope and the fall of disappointment and be OK?
He turned his head to see what she was staring at so intently, and found himself looking at a playground directly across the parking lot. Above the playing children was a bright sign declaring, “Precious Memories Daycare – Now Enrolling!” Abraham was horrified. Who builds a fertility clinic next to a daycare?
Sara was transfixed; she couldn’t look away from the playground. She tightened her hands on the steering wheel as toddlers raced back and forth, their high-pitched laughter carrying on the clear spring air. Jealousy wound through her, making her long to reach out and stroke silky hair and hold soft, tiny hands.
“Sara?” he called her name, gently.
“Do you remember when we got married?” She didn’t wait for an answer, or look away from the children. “Mom asked me when we were going to give her more grandkids. I told her I’d rather be boiled alive by man-eating pygmies.”
“Neither of us were ready for kids,” he reminded her.
“I figured I never would be. I’d look at my sister’s kids and think, God I don’t want any part of that!” Her eyes had fastened on one little boy, his blond hair sparkling as he climbed a little slide over and over.
“Well, who would? Remember when the oldest painted the cat? They had to shave it bald!”
Instead of smiling, like he’d hoped she would, she followed the progress of the little boy with her eyes. She could almost feel her arms around his sturdy little body, and his pudgy arms around her neck. When she realized she’d named him Isaac in her mind, she shuddered and dropped her forehead to the steering wheel.
A few moments passed in tense silence before she felt she could speak again.
“Do you know what I was thinking, just now?” Abraham shook his head. “I was looking at those kids playing over there, and I was jealous – of people I don’t even know! We have such a good life…but it’s just not good enough, so I’m jealous because those people have what I didn’t even want a few years ago.
“I was halfway to convincing myself that someone else’s child should be mine! Maybe…maybe I can’t get pregnant because…” she took a shaky breath, “because God knows I don’t deserve…” her voice choked off with tears she hadn’t cried yet.
Shock silenced him. Seventeen years of marriage to the woman he thought of as his best friend, and he had no idea what to say.
This is a response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club which asked us to write about jealousy. Sara, Abraham, and little Isaac (or whatever his name really was) are fictional. And yes, their names were a deliberate choice – you’re so smart for noticing! That’s why I love ya’ll! Please leave your comments so I’ll know you were here.
New note: If you came to this post from my newer post on Sara and Abraham, you can click HERE to go back. Thanks for taking the time to read both!