Somethin' filled up
My heart with nothin',
Someone told me not to cry.
Now that I'm older,
My heart's colder,
And I can see that it's a lie.
Wake up - Arcade Fire
The apartment was almost pitch black. The only light came from the full moon, filtering into the room in one long stream like a stretched spotlight, through the glass patio doors, over the couch and to the bar area, highlighting the room in a pearly-magical glow of serenity.
It was all a farce. There was no serenity in here. None at all.
Neither of us did anything to make it any lighter and I heard Edward's feet follow me as I made my way to the bedroom.
The curtain billowed from the open window and the room was chilly cold. I moved forward to close the window and Edward switched the light on from behind.
I blinked as my eyes adjusted, knowing there were still too many questions in his eyes.
Questions about what happened today.
Questions that would hurt.
Questions I didn't want to answer.
"I need the bathroom." I evaded, keeping my eyes trained away from him. He nodded and made his way over to the wardrobe even though he didn't do anything apart from stand in front of it and pretend he wasn't preoccupied with trying not to look at me.
I didn't use the toilet or the sink. I didn't take a shower or brush my teeth or even clean my face. I sat at the edge of the bath and wrapped my arms around my stomach too hard.
There was only one thing going through my head.
My baby girl.
I lost her.
She wasn't ever coming back.
She was gone.
Again and again, like a stuck record on repeat, like one of those awful tunes that you can't get out of your head.
She was gone.
I tried to breathe but instead, I coughed because my arms were wrapped too tightly around myself.
She was gone.
I held myself tighter because I wanted that terrible tune to stop, but it didn't.
She was gone.
The thorns were unfurling, and this is what it did to me.
She was my everything, and now she was gone forever.
It didn't make any sense. Yet it was as stark as daylight.
"Bella…" Edward said. Time had passed. I wasn't sure how much.
I swallowed; my mouth was baked dry and I wanted to think happy thoughts. I wanted to disappear completely in my head like I used to, but all I thought about were her loose auburn curls and her smile that lit up a room.
Her laughter still warmed up my soul, her voice still sang in my ear, playful yet demanding, and she was my baby…
It was in beat with the pulsing of my heart.
Gone. Gone. Gone.
I felt panic rise up in my chest and everything squeezed and I wanted to vomit.
This pain was unbearable … the reminder was unbearable. I wasn't sure if it would ever go away so that's why I protected my heart. It was the safest.
"B, what are you doing?" Edward knocked twice on the door and I knew he was leaning against it, probably working out if he needed to break in.
"I'm coming." My voice sounded far away. I looked in the mirror and my face was pale milk, like the ivory of the moon. Damp hair clung to my head, I had hollows under my eyes and I looked ill.
I was ill.
Every part of me was ailing with grief.
I could get over this.
I dry retched into the sink.
"Bella?" Edward was anxious. "Unlock the door, B."
I stood straight and walked over to the door, unlocking it with shaking hands. Edward had changed into an old t-shirt, but was still wearing the same jeans he had on earlier as his eyes cautiously searched mine as I took a step past him.
I expected him to probe, say something about what happened, ask questions, but before he could do any of that I blurted it out, like vomit that was sitting in the back of my throat waiting for me to spew.
"Rosalie's mom. She didn't realize my baby girl died."
I swallowed the lump in my throat and words flowed like they were in free fall.
"She didn't remember I was Mommy for almost four years, and she didn't remember that my baby was gone, and then she apologized. It wasn't cruel. She forgot. She just forgot."
Edward stood completely still in front of me. Then his face convulsed like someone had punched him in the gut and only one word escaped his mouth, "Shit."
"I just. She just … Oh god …" I heard my voice get higher until it didn't even sound like me.
"Bella, shh … It's okay …" He moved forward but stopped when I took a step back and another and sat on the bed.
"I'm okay. It's fine. I just … I need to calm …" I trailed off, willing my pounding heart to calm down.
Edward looked like he wanted to touch me, embrace me, maybe even lean into me and kiss me softly. His hands reached for my face, but then instead, he squatted, balancing on his toes so he could see my face, not quite touching me. I was glad he didn't get too close, or put his hands on my skin, because Edward's touch would set me on fire. If these thorns were undone, I might erupt and surely, that volcano of emotion would kill us both.
I took a deep breath and then another. He looked up at me with darkened pine eyes, as I composed myself.
God, he was so beautiful.
He deserved better. Better than me.
"She forgot," I said finally, weakly, the beating of my heart a little calmer.
"She forgot," he repeated. I knew he was speaking to himself, trying to understand what it meant, but it didn't mean anything really.
She simply forgot. Something so simple. It's not like she was obligated to remember; she barely knew me.
If there was meaning to everything, we'd learn lessons and move on.
But I'd never move on from this.
"Yeah." I shivered as the sweat went cold on my back.
"I'm fine …" I swallowed and asked him a question he couldn't answer. "How can people forget?"
He sighed, a faraway look in his eyes. "I don't know." In that moment there was only the ugly truth of a shared experience between us, but his next words were more painful than anything I'd heard all night.
"I wish I could forget."
I closed my eyes.
"Me too. "
I undid the top button of my cardigan and slid into the car next to Edward as he nodded his goodbye to Estelle - an older lady who I saw at church every week. His hair was gelled back, he had shaved especially, and he smelled of my new favorite scents: mint and coffee. He cleaned up well on a Sunday.
"You know, you don't need to come with me every Sunday."
"Why not?" Edward started the car. "It's Church Day."
"For me, Edward." I put my hand on his arm, feeling the crispness of his light blue shirt beneath my palm. "You don't need to come if you don't want to..."
"I want to."
I smiled. "You said you weren't even sure if you believed."
"True. I'm on the fence, but you know something, B? When you kneel down in prayer and close your eyes so solemn and tight and open them to look at me? It's like you're seeing me for the first time. That wonder. That earnestness. In that moment, it's like I'm reborn. I'd give up every Sunday for that. Every single Sunday for the rest of my life just to see you look at me like that."
Then he pulled out like nothing had happened. Like his simple declaration hadn't meant so much … changed so much, forever.
As usual mucho gracias to Hadley and Astro.
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