The front door banged. I startled from my nap and realized Alex was finally home from an exhausting day at work. He was a shipping and receiving manager for an innovative healthcare technology company. The days were long and weary, but I couldn’t complain about his decent wages and health benefits. I gathered my strength and pushed myself from bed, shuffling out to the living room to greet Alex and share the news.
“Hey honey. How was your day?” I asked as I leaned against the oak door jamb in the cozy living room.
“I’m okay,” sighed Alex, “It was a rough day, but otherwise good. What’s for dinner?” I frowned slightly at Alex, but stuffed my emotions down. Alex had a hard day and didn’t deserve my complaining.
“I hadn’t started dinner yet. I just woke up from a nap. Can we order out since I’m not feeling well?”
“Oh, that’s right. You went to the doctor’s today. How’d it go?” Alex plopped on the hot pink couch from Ikea and flipped on the tube. He wanted to catch the score of his beloved Penn State football team.
“Well, it wasn’t that great. Alex…can you mute the TV? I have something serious to tell you.” I sat on the couch next to Alex, hoping to get his attention. He muted the television and turned slightly to face me, a questioning look in his eyes.
“What happened, honey?”
“I went to see Dr. Lee. She said that I’m having a miscarriage. The baby was only a few days old.” I paused, unsure what else to say. Alex gently cradled my soft small hands in his rough ones, smoothing my knuckles with his thumb. He stared at the floor a moment, quiet, our breathing the only sounds. He lifted his head to gaze into my eyes and caressed my cheek with his hand.
“I’m so, so sorry, Kat. I know how much you wanted this baby,” Alex spoke softly. “We can always try again. What else did the doctor say?”
My eyes filled with unshed tears at his tender words. I bit my trembling lip, unable to stop the tears from falling. Alex gathered me in his arms, rubbing her my in slow circles.
“Shhhh…it’s okay, Kat. Don’t worry. We can try again. It’ll be okay.” I sobbed anew as the grief ripped through me.
“I’m so sorry, Alex! I don’t know what happened!” I cried. I blamed myself for losing the baby, blamed my body for betraying them.
“It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anything you did. You know that.” Alex rocked me gently as my crying subsided into sniffles.
“I need a tissue,” I mumbled into Alex’s plaid shirt. “I think I got snot all over your shirt.” Alex chuckled and reached over to the end table, grabbed a tissue, and handed it to me. He watched me as I sat up, attempted to smooth my hair and dab at my eyes. Smiling wryly, I reached out and lightly touched a wet spot on the front of his shirt.
“Don’t worry, Kat. It’ll all work out and be okay. We’ll figure it out. Do you want me to make something for dinner so you can rest?” Alex slid a tendril of my curly blonde hair behind my ear.
“That would be nice,” I sniffled. “I don’t think I feel up to doing much yet.” Alex stood, patted me gently on the shoulder, and headed to the kitchen to scrounge up something to eat. Most likely it would be macaroni and cheese since it was Alex’s favorite food. Every time we ate it, I remembered when we were dating how Alex would stock up on the boxes of macaroni and cheese. He ate it for almost every meal, claiming it was cheap and easy for a bachelor. I remembered that at one time, he had almost 100 boxes stashed in cupboards from a sale they had at the grocery store. I shook my head ruefully and smiled. It was nice to have the old Alex back. I hoped this was sign of better things to come in our relationship.
I hated fighting with Alex. It tore at my heart. The last year had been particularly difficult. It seemed all we ever did was argue about everything. It didn’t matter what the topic – money, friends, not enough time together, even what to eat for dinner. Most of the time, I would just go along with whatever Alex had decided or said, but occasionally I would fight back. We ate dinner, relaxed and watched TV on the couch together, and turned in early for the night, both drained from the day’s events.