Side-By-Side

                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!

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12 thoughts on “Side-By-Side

  1. Oh yes, I noticed the names!
    And congrats for working “man-eating pygmies” into the post. I'm glad I didn't bet money on that lol!

    Tissues were indeed used, as I can identify with Sara. But I didn't wait too long; I had issues from the beginning. My OBGYN used to have one entrance for both the infertility patients and the happy preggo mommies. Fortunately, after they moved to a new building, they gave us different entrances and separate waiting rooms. I was very glad when, after 10 years, I had my first apt in the “happy” waiting room!

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  2. The OB-GYN in Laramie shared the waiting area with the Pediatrician. Oh happy. One vivid memory was sitting in the office after we thought we'd miscarried Michael and having my milk let down when a newborn cried a few chairs down. Yes, please smack me with the Depression stick a few more times please!

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  3. In a previous incarnation (previous as in two hours before this one…ha!), I explained a little more fully that Sara and Abraham hadn't thought about having kids until a few years ago, and she was already past 40, but it bogged down and put me over the word count. And there wasn't any emotion in it, which is what I wanted.

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  4. This is so well written. I love the ending.

    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.

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  5. First of all, the story is well done. You really captured that sense of longing and, yes, jealousy. I like both of your characters and you did a great job of helping me see them as loving couple.

    It reminded of this party I went with I pregnant with my first daughter. There was a woman who sat down beside me and asked, of course, to touch my belly.

    Then she told me of all her lost babies, she lost five by that time. You couldn't keep them more than 4 months, I think.

    The sadness in her eyes still haunts me and how tenderly she touched my pregnant belly. Even now, with my kids grown and living their own lives, my eyes still tear up when I remember her. Sorry, for going off of this, but your story really touched me.

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  6. @Sara – Thank you! That's the highest compliment you could have given me!

    @the workinghousewife – nothing seems to incite jealousy like the baby you don't have

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  7. I'm so sad for them!

    i loved the details that you used-the side by side walk, the day care next to the fertility clinic, 17 years, their expressions, her wishes.

    Can't wait to learn more about them! Also? I'm a sucker for happy endings- any chance this has one? 🙂

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