15 November 2019
Wondering why I am still awake at this time?
I went to bed at 9 pm, the same time as every other day. Sometime during the middle of the night, my brain decides it’s time to wake up. I tried- to close my eyes, to get back to the comfort of my soft bed and the fluffy pillows. I tossed and turned from one side to the other. The numbers in the bedside clock kept changing, but sleep didn’t come. I know it is still lingering in the back of my mind, working hard to reach out to me. While I lay there, listening to the soft rumbling of the air conditioner and letting my mind wander freely, I thought about you too. I thought about the pages I mercilessly tore out of you, bringing you back to blankness.
I gave up eventually, threw back the quilt and stumbled out of my bed. I went to the kitchen and made myself a cup of chamomile tea. Then I went to find you, something I haven’t done for a long time. You were exactly at the same place where I left you. Locked in my briefcase, inside a brown envelope, hidden from the rest of the world.
I know we didn’t part on good terms. How about we try to get a closure on what happened that night? Then maybe you and I start on a fresh page, together? Are you ready to do that with me? I take your silence as a ‘yes’.
From my window, the moonless night looks oddly inviting- like the warm duvet on a cold night. The eerie blackness isn’t something I experience very often. Most of my life, I was used to living in the heart of the city, surrounded by the orange glow of the street lights- filtering through the gap of the curtains.
Do you remember the night I talked to you last? Do you remember how long ago was it? Let me remind you. Four years, two months and five days to be exact. Another sleepless night like this. How could I have slept knowing we lost our baby a few hours back- the baby I didn’t know I wanted so badly until I lost him/her.
Back then, I was a clueless twenty five-year-old, not knowing what to do when life hands you an unexpected pregnancy. Mira and I had just gotten married. We both were so busy with our jobs that we hardly even had the time for a proper honeymoon. When she started complaining about feeling tired and restless all the time, I asked her a simple question- ‘why don’t you take a pregnancy test?’
The answer turned out to be not so simple after all.
The first thought that came to my mind was-’ how are we supposed to take care of this baby?’ Career wise, we both weren’t in a position that could be called ‘comfortable.’ Looking at Mira’s face closely, I could say her initial reaction was alternating between numbness and shock.
After an honest conversation between each other, we began preparing- to make space for the new member in our hearts and in our house. Together we decided that no matter what, we both are going to love this baby. I imagined it’s going to be a girl. I named her Maya. I wanted her to have Mira’s curly hair and dimples. I wanted to take her to my dad’s grave to seek his blessings. I wanted to teach her how to ride a bike. I wanted to motivate and guide her. Above all, I wanted to let her be herself.
Then it happened. Mira woke up one day with severe cramps. We knew what was going to come. The moment every parent-to-be dreads. Statistics says that 10-20% pregnancies end in miscarriages. And only when it happens to you, you realize that you are the chosen one this time.
Hours later, Mira lay in the hospital bed and I nervously waited outside for the Gynecologist. The wait was excruciating. When she finally arrived with the reports, I had one look at the helpless expression and I knew. Our baby is gone. I held Mira’s hands while she cried, mourning for the loss. I felt broken and powerless, but I swallowed down my grief because protecting Mira was more important to me that time than grieving. Biologically, it’s the moms who get impacted with a miscarriage. What everyone forgets to mention is the emotional connection a man has to his child. It’s equally strong as a woman’s. Thoughts started running across my mind. What could I have done differently? Was I supporting her enough? Was I stressing her in any way?
When night came, I couldn’t hold it anymore. I wanted to pour my heart out to someone. I wanted someone to know how much I miss not having Maya in our lives. I declined my friends’ invitations to join them for a drink because I just wanted to go through it alone- with my memories, sadness and ...guilt. Later, while I was packing away all the baby books out of Mira’s sights, I saw you among all the Christmas gifts we got from our relatives. When I had first opened the wrapper and saw the green spiral notebook inside, I laughed at you dismissing it as something I would never use. Who knew it then!
I almost put you back in the box along with all the other generous, but unwanted gifts; when I felt the pull from inside. Should I give it a try? What’s there to lose? People use diaries and journals to express themselves all the time. So I sat down in my study room, switched on the desk lamp and started writing. Words were hard to come at first, but got easier eventually. I wrote about Maya. I wrote about the unfairness of our child being taken away. Pages and pages were filled with my anguish.
After I was somewhat drained, I closed the book and went to bed. Next day morning, I re-read what I wrote. It wasn’t a pretty sight. The spite, the anger, the guilt- that wasn’t me. That was my grief speaking. I didn’t want anyone, especially Mira to know what transpired in those pages. So I tore the pages out and put you away in a place where no one else has easy access. Because I didn’t want to answer anyone about the lost pages from a numbered diary notebook. It is between you and me. It will always be...
What changed in these four years, you ask? Quite a lot. Mira and I are professionally where we have always wanted to be. We bought a house, outside the city, away from the hustle and bustle. Our relationship saw some hard times after the miscarriage and that was a real test for our maturity and resilience, which we passed in flying colors. I saw pregnant friends and family members all the time. I saw pregnancy announcements and then I saw them holding the babies after nine months. I congratulated them, smiled at them, and even held some of the babies. The grief in me? It didn’t go anywhere. It still stayed in me, in some far corner-ready to resurface anytime.
I see the daylight slowly creeping into my room. Clock says it’s 5.05 am. The sun has finally arisen, filling the sky with shades of colors- a new day, a new beginning.
Dear Diary, it’s time for me to go. I am going to bring them home today- Mira and our daughter. Nine months ago, life gave us hope again- in the form of two blue lines, finally bringing brightness back to our hopelessly dark world.