Chapter nineteen – Epilogue
They should have stayed at the hotel where the reception had been held instead of coming back to a house that all of a sudden seemed to have lost its soul. At least from an impersonal place the world kept on turning as if nothing had happened – as if they had gone on vacations for a while as they had done so many times in the past. The three of them. Together.
Karen stepped into bed and stared at the wall in front of her, letting the murmurs of the day – the soft brouhaha that had wrapped her up – leave her body slowly while a wave of melancholy spread quietly. If there was one thing that motherhood had made her despise, it had to be the passing of time – how it took one's best moments to turn them into a pale cloud of memories that soon enough weren't anymore at reach.
"Do you remember the day we came back from the hospital? We were laying down here – on this bed – with Lena between the two of us. I was tired and still recovering from my haemorrhage and she was so tiny sleeping here. Just here. Do you remember what I told you then?"
Will finally slipped into bed – took his glasses off. He was wearing them a lot lately. Too much to ever pretend that twenty years hadn't gone by yet.
"That you wouldn't marry me – never."
It made Karen smile softly. They hadn't alluded to this moment but let it go away like any other that by then hadn't seemed to own the slightest importance. Who would have guessed that two decades later it would come back to them on a cold evening of November?
"That I would never marry you because I loved you. Because my perspectives had changed – the whole world, actually. I saw it now from Lena's eyes and what I had taken once for priorities looked suddenly like ridiculous details that didn't do anything but made us waste time in a life that was too fragile."
In a fluid – well known – movement, she settled in Will's arms and frowned at nothing in particular but the wonders that were dancing in her mind. Obsessing cadence that sounded loud. And odd against her heart.
"I tried to teach her about the essential things in life – all along – but even when she was very young it had already made it to her head. She would get married at the age of twenty. And today she did..."
"Oh come on, Karen. Don't be so dramatic. What kind of little girl never dreamed about getting married by the age of twenty? When they are five, they just think it is a long time ahead of them. You know that Lena had to if she wanted to follow James to Bali. They have been together for six years. When he got this teaching position there, they both knew they didn't have a choice but get married."
Lena hadn't got a scholarship for Bali and for not wanting to live away from her boyfriend, they simply had decided to get married. Then – as his wife – she would be able to follow him everywhere and yet keep on studying Archeology.
"You thought that you had lost me, right? The day I gave birth to Lena and passed out for bleeding way too much... You thought that you had lost me and you would be alone for the rest of your life."
Will didn't like talking about this moment and what had happened at the hospital as he had left the labor room with the nurse and Lena. A couple of times Karen had tried to mention it but before Will's latent silence, she had always given up. Until now.
"You are here in my arms now. That is all I know, Kare."
"But still... I passed out and didn't have time to even think that I might have been losing you except as Lena gets married now – gets a whole brand new existence to live – I have this feeling. As if every single piece of this world was about to fall down and... And... I hate it."
They had done everything upside down with Will. First a child then eventually started dating before – very slowly – settling down as a couple and parents. Confessing her most intimate feelings was still an aspect of their relationship she hadn't got used to even after all these years. Probably because of their patchwork of relation – pieces of moments connected to each other without following an expected and classic scheme. But it had worked out so far – oddly enough, perhaps.
"Karen, would you marry me?"
She locked her hazel eyes with his brown ones and frowned – taken aback by his sudden question. He hadn't talked immediately but taken his time as if to ponder the words he had been about to use. Lost, she shook her head – asking implicitly for an explanation. Will simply shrugged and kissed the top of her head.
"See... Some things will never change. Because they are meant to be. Bali or not Bali - with or without a wedding. The most important things remain."
I used to laugh at women's interviews in magazine when they claimed that motherhood changed everything. But they were right. They are right. The moment Lena made contact with my chest, I understood what these women meant. Your perspective change when you have someone else's life between your hands. The whole world change and evolves according to your child. The rest has no importance anymore. I am not an exception to the rule. The world according to Lena is strange but unique and addicting. It is my life. The reason why I am here.