Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Facing Forward
She was sitting in front of her vanity, staring off into space. I still couldn’t believe she had no idea how lovely she was, no clue how she sets my heart on fire with just the simplest of looks and touches. After the last year, I cherished her more than ever.
Allison must have finally come back to the present when I see her begin to apply her lipstick and fix her already flawless makeup. “You know you don’t need all that, right?”
She jumped slightly, and spun around in the chair to observe me. “You look handsome. If only it were as easy as a shave and putting on a tux.”
Her smile was wistful, and even though I knew she was teasing, her self-confidence had taken a nose dive since her car accident. Most people would barely notice the scar that ran across her forehead and cheek, but she felt it was a beacon telling everyone she was forever flawed.
“That’s not what I meant. You always look beautiful.”
She stood up, smoothing down the black lace dress, trying to perfect what was already perfect. “I know you think no one notices, but I do.” She stalked over to her closet to grab some shoes, continuing her rant, “When will you figure out that it’s not just the scars on the outside that make me feel fractured? When will you realize that while the baby might have only been a microscopic organism floating around in my uterus, it was still life that we created together, and he or she is now gone? Why doesn’t that matter to you?” She threw her shoes on the ground in anger, and sat on the bed to put them on.
How she could think I was so callous about our child, the child she was carrying when the suped-up truck t-boned her precious Porsche. Her accusation felt like a punch to my chest. She doesn’t remember me crying deep into the night over almost losing her and losing our child because I didn’t. Well, not in front of her, anyway. I’m the husband, the one who was supposed to fix her when she was broke, support her when she was down. Not show her how weak I could be. During those weeks after the accident, I would go to the hospital and be strong for her, yet come home and break down, unable to come to grips with having almost lost my love. I couldn't envision my life without her, and thankfully I didn’t have to, but If we couldn’t get past the loss of our baby, I still just might.
“You know that’s not true--” The whisper hangs in the air like puffs of dandelions we made wishes on all those summers ago. “It matters, Ally. We can’t change it, but we can try to have another. Can’t we try?” My voice cracked, showing my amazingly strong wife how broken I really was. Sitting on the bed, I pulled her into my side, needing to show how much everything affected me too. “I may not have been in the car wreck, but you’re not the only one to suffer. Did you know I went to the hospital chapel to pray that you’d live? That if God was going to take away our child, he had to let you live. I wasn’t going to survive without you. You know that, right?”
A lone tear trailed down her cheek. I whisked it away with my thumb, cupping her face, willing her to look into my eyes. Her gaze spoke volumes, filled with disappointment, heartbreak and the toll it had taken on us both. “It hurts--God it hurts,” she wailed into my shoulder. Seeing her like this, the pain wracking through her body was more than I could take. We sat entwined for a long time, taking moments to soothe and comfort each other. Something we should have done a long time ago.
“I know it does, baby. I know it does.” I cradled her in my arms, wishing I could go back to that fateful night and change the outcome. There’s nothing I could do, but hold her, and let her lean on me. It was what I was here for. Why she married me. I kissed her gently, trying to absorb the pain from her. To take on the weight of her world.
My kiss settled her some. When her whimpers finally stopped, her eyes opened with a flutter, and the warmth and love pouring from her gaze fills me with a hope things may eventually be okay.
Her slender hand slid over my cheek, the first real smile I’ve seen in weeks graced her tear streaked face. “Wanna stay in tonight? Watch a movie?” she asked, innocence dripping from her tone.
My smile matched her’s as I replied, “Sounds like plan.” Tugging the zipper down the back of her dress, I pulled the straps off and handed over her comfy pants and sweatshirt. Instead of taking them, she shakes her head and pulls the covers back on the bed.
“Why don’t we build up an appetite first?” Her sly smirk reminded me of the woman I married. The same person I haven’t seen in months and the one who I was extraordinarily happy to see return.
I undress slowly, reveling in her enamored gaze from beneath the covers. “When I’m done with you, we’ll eat like we haven’t had a meal in months,” I teased, pulling the covers down and pouncing on top of her. Just as I was about to nuzzle her breast, she tugged on my hair to arrest my progress.
Beneath wide eyes she whispers, “We’re going to be okay, right?”
“As long as you’re here with me? Absolutely.”
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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com