The Postcard, Part 2

Vintage Postcard:

The Postcard

This is Part 2. A few people asked me what happened with Emily and what was going on, so I decided to continue it. If you don’t remember what happened in Part I, click here to read it. Here’s Part 2…

Alan looked at his watch. He felt ill. Not because he was on his way to see Emily and try to set things right, but because he’d been sick about what had happened for over a month. He didn’t even mean what he’d said to her that morning when she couldn’t get off the sofa and the tears continued to pour down her face. Sometimes you say something to make the other person feel better, but it doesn’t come out the right way. Plus, he knew she was in a state of depression. He shouldn’t have pushed it the way he did; he knew he couldn’t fix things, but he wanted to, and that resulted in what unfolded.

They were engaged and planned to marry when Emily found out she was pregnant. Admittedly, it was a little shocking at first. They hadn’t expected to have a family right away, plus they were new to Paris as she willingly accompanied him on his year-long stint for his job. When news of the baby came, they were both in shock, though she was way more delighted about the prospect of parenthood than he was.

The morning she lost the baby, she woke up with severe cramps, and her instinct as she shouted to him from the bathroom that something was “horribly wrong” was accurate. She had been admitted to the hospital with an ectopic pregnancy, and surgery was inevitable. Along with the baby, a part of her had to be removed, making the next attempt at having a child half as possible at it had been. Emily was devastated.

However, Alan knew how to fix things. He was an engineer. Plus, he was an eternal optimist, much more so than Emily. She was more of a realist. Alan believed anything was possible.

Which is why it was not too terribly odd that when she came home to the flat and was recuperating on the couch four weeks later, still unable to venture outside and try to move on, Alan became frustrated.

“This is enough self-pity, Em,” he said to her, throwing the curtains wide open, forcing her to face the sunshine. “It’s time to get up and get moving.”

“I don’t want to,” she had said to him. “Just let me be.”

“I can’t let you be. I want you to try to get past this.”

“Well, you didn’t have a part of your body ripped out of you. You weren’t told that it may be difficult to have children.”

“Yes,” he said, “yes, I did, because it happened to you, so in essence, it happened to me.”

She studied his face as if she were checking to see if he were telling the truth.

“You didn’t want to have a baby, anyway,” she had said flatly. “It was too soon.”

“Well, there may be some truth to that…”

She interrupted Alan. She saw the window and she took it.

“I knew it! I knew you didn’t want to have the baby. I knew you weren’t ready. You are probably relieved that it didn’t happen.”

“Are you out of your mind?” Alan said. “I wanted the baby, just maybe the timing wasn’t right.”

“Does your whole life have to be planned out Alan? I mean, can’t some things just happen and you take what you get from it? Just because you weren’t ready doesn’t mean I wasn’t. I was ready.”

“And you very well may have been,” he said. “It’s just the timing…”

“Jesus,” she said. “I knew you’d do this. I knew you’d try to make me feel like it shouldn’t have happened.”

“I’m not saying that,” he said, back-peddling. “But we aren’t even married yet.”

“Look…I came here to Paris even though I had a great career. I’m not in my twenties, Alan. I’m getting older. I left it all behind and sacrificed what I had for you. And now I’ve lost a baby and a part of myself too and you want me to just hop off this sofa and skip through the streets of Paris?”

“No,” he said. “I just want you to get off the sofa and get outside and get some fresh air.”

He could tell she wasn’t going to budge. A part of Emily was as stubborn as a mule.

“Look,” he began, “we have a lot going on. We’re not even settled. We’re only here temporarily. Things happen for a reason. Maybe this just means the timing wasn’t right. I’m not sure. But the fact remains, Em, that you are well. Children are still possible and you need to move on.”

She stared off into space and Alan couldn’t tell if she were looking at the fireplace or past it and out the double-paned window.

“This whole thing was a mistake,” she said, trying to be hurtful. The optimist in him wanted to let it slide, but the realist in Emily must have rubbed off on him. He didn’t usually get himself involved in a tit-for-tat dialogue, but for some reason, he bit the forbidden fruit.

“If it’s all so awful for you, reevaluate it, Emily. You’re not happy. Do something about it. But I can’t sit by and look at you this way. It’s pitiful. You’re pitiful. Wallowing in your own sorrow is not going to make it better. Accept that the timing wasn’t right. Something was wrong with the baby. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Daggers were in her eyes when she glared at him. She didn’t want to be told how to handle it. She wanted a hug and someone to tell her it was going to be okay, not someone demanding that she pick herself up and get back in the game. But she didn’t say a word.

“Figure it out, Em,” he said, shoving paperwork into his briefcase. “Let me know your game plan when I get home. I’ll see you later.”

He walked out the door for work without another word or a kiss goodbye.

When he got home that evening, she was gone, her diamond engagement ring left for him on the dining table along with a short, scribbled note saying she had gone to stay with Cybill in London. Two suitcases and all her clothes and personal belongings were gone.

And now he was walking up her street, unsure as to in which building her flat resided. He wondered how she was now. It had been several weeks. She had only taken one of his calls, and it was just to let him know she was alright.

He had mailed the postcard. Vintage postcards held a soft spot in her heart. She had been collecting them for years. He hoped that sending it would be the peace offering they needed, and he knew it was wishful thinking that she’d actually open the door and let him in when he knocked. That was all he had asked for…all he could hope for at this time.


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