The Bridge of Hope by Pat Garcia

Around her, disturbing sounds floated into her ears. Hammering against her head, beating against her heart, intorsions whined at the prevarications of her life over the past three and a half years. Hurts, disappointments, and scars gouged into her soul, buried beneath the bridge of callousness he’d built.

Yet, she had let him. Sinking into the never ever world of her fantasy, she had hidden herself as he lay stone for stone, by day and night, crushing her love. It took him three and a half years to erect this huge monster between them. Like the building of the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, today he had lain the last stones.

“We’re not suited to be parents,” he said, haughtily,

“Why not? What about me?” She asked, hoping to loosen a tiny stone of compassion.

He didn’t answer. He walked to their bathroom to shower, leaving her lying on their bed. She turned on her side and watched him. His back toward her, she wondered why she had married him in the first place.  Three and half years, she thought for him to build the bridge of callousness she tasted in her mouth, the rejection she felt in her heart, and the repudiation of herself that gnawed at her conscience.  She placed her right palm on her small bulge.  It didn’t matter that she was twenty weeks. The fact was, she was not able to hide it anymore. Girdles and corsets, wide dresses and baggy pants couldn’t swallow up her weight gain or her bulging breasts. He didn’t find it funny that she looked like a hippopotamus. He found it revolting and told her so.

She got up from the bed and walked out to the edge of their second story balcony, and she gazed down into the deep. The clear water in the pool below reflected the blue floor at the bottom of the pool. She blinked; it had turned a murky, dark, red.  She shook her head, trying the shake away the surreal picture of blood that hyponagogically appeared for a nanosecond.

Shaking her head, she wondered why she had not seen him as he truly was. That he was demanding she got rid of the nuisance that would destroy her life with him didn’t disturb him.

“What’s twenty weeks in comparison to a lifetime with me?” He asked passing by the door that led out to the balcony on the way to his wardrobe.

She had said nothing. He took it for granted she would do as he requested. After all, he needed her to devote herself to looking pretty, not pregnant. She had to charm, not look like a bloated whale.

She stood there leaning against the rail, looking down into the deep. This was her chance, her only chance.  His footsteps sounded behind her. So, close, yet so far away from each other. The bridge he’d built between them was too difficult for her to cross over.  Could she tell him that?

“What are you thinking about?” he demanded as he put on his tie.

She turned to look at him but didn’t answer. To tell him about all the birthdays he would miss; to mention the first tooth, the first steps, the first signs of laughter, he wouldn’t understand, so she said nothing.

He went back into the bedroom, and she continued to lean against the rail of the balcony.

“Come, you can ride with me to the clinic,” he said.

“No, I’ll go alone,” she said regarding him, dressed up in his tailor-made suit and his rattlesnake shoes.

“I can cancel my appointment and stay with you until it’s over, but then I need to be in my office for three o’clock appointment. It’s with the senator.” He said smiling.

“No, it’s not necessary. I’ll go alone,” she repeated.

“That’s my girl. You’ll thank me for this later.”

She said nothing.

“I have to go,” he said, not even giving her a hug. He felt no sorrow, no regret. “I expect you to have it taken care of by the time I return. If you need a nurse, afterward, hire one for a day or two.”

She watched him walk to the door.  He stopped when he reached it and turned and looked at her once more.

“Either it or me,” he said. “The uncomely bulge in the front of you has to go.”

Then, he left.

She leaned her head to her left side and thought about the large shoulders she would miss.

He would never understand. The bridge she allowed him to build was too narrow for two people to walk across. He had built it wide enough for her to walk to him, but he couldn’t walk to her; the damage to her soul was on his blindside.

Sickened by his demands, she turned and gazed down the path watching him walked toward his chauffeur.  He didn’t turn to look back; that didn’t surprise her. He never did. He assumed she would carry out his orders.

Tears ran down her face as she walked back into the bedroom to shower and dress. She took her passport and three wrapped bundles of five hundred dollars out of the safe.

He was still commuting to his office when her taxi came.  Walking out the door, she whispered goodbye as she turned away from the bridge of callousness she wouldn’t cross over.  She laid her first stone to the bridge of hope, reclaiming herself and the life of the unborn within her.


Shalom aleichem,

 

 

 

 

Pat Garcia