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Sad Drama Romance

This story contains sensitive content

Content Warning: loss of pregnancy.


She holds my gaze a heartbeat too long, and though we both recall the past, it’s the future we see clearest. I shouldn’t, but I’m powerless as my legs carry me across the atrium towards her. I can’t stop myself from admiring those lips, reposed against her wineglass. I can’t stop my eyes from tracing down her slender fingers, pale skin, gleaming fabric, and the shape of her body underneath. It doesn’t matter what I tell her, or what she says back. This love affair has only one ending.


When I’m driving home, head swimming, a smile tugs at my lips. She’s no longer the one that got away. Four years later, and now we meet out of the blue. It's destiny. And for all that time apart, even if the scars run deep, it feels like nothing’s changed.


There are no sparks – just a meteor shower.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


She’s still awake when I pull up in our driveway, leaning against the doorframe. A satin nightgown ripples across goose-pimpled skin; gold gleams on her finger. She hops from foot to foot, exposed legs bitten by the wind, but her unbridled joy makes my heart lurch. Grabbing me by the tie, she pulls me inside.


Her lips taste like lilac wine. My hand reaches for the gentle swell of her belly, and I can feel her smiling through our kiss. She whispers in my ear, hot and moist. We missed you.


Home is where the heart is.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


Weeks pass. My phone fills with secret conversations. Swapping book recommendations on Messenger. Emojis on WhatsApp. Selfies on Snapchat. An email chain she forwarded me after a guy hit on her at work.


I take longer lunch breaks to see her at the café around the corner. We never eat. It’s always sips of coffee, dabbed napkins, crumbs of libertine eye contact. Someone croons Me and Mrs Jones through the jukebox, and we feel like we’re in a song, characters plucked out of our lives and into inevitability. We both know that it’s wrong.


But it’s much too strong to let it go now.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


The nursery comes to life. The same wooden cot she and her sisters used, uneven leg and all. A box of toys my grandmother found in the attic. A handmade paper wind chime that I’m sure has solved the conundrum of perpetual motion; it sways back and forth and, at any given moment, could either block the sun or flood it into the room.


We dine with her family, and all agree I’ve taken to parenthood classes like a natural. One hand is on her belly, the other animated, as she tells them how quickly I can change nappies on the mannequins. She looks at me and says she knows I’ll be an amazing dad to her. The words revolve through my mind numbly. Her? A little girl?


We’re having a daughter.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


There’s guilt all over my lips, down my throat, on my chest, smeared on my thighs. The contorted union of our bodies is a window into four years ago. It’s like watching a film from your youth with the weariness of age and wondering where your innocence went. It’s like some of our meteors reached Earth, leaving craters even time can’t heal.


But we tell ourselves it’ll be different this time. We’ll be careful. We’ll do everything right. There are nights the fear has her trembling in my arms, and I run my fingers through her hair, murmuring comforts neither of us believe in. My phone buzzes unanswered on the nightstand. I know if I pick it up, I’ll invite the outside world into our space. They’ll tell us we shouldn’t. That we’re risking too much. That the grass isn’t always greener. But they’re wrong.


We have to try again.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


The nightgown is duller than it was before. Speckled with drops of sick, it stretches tight across her belly. The third trimester has been worst of all. If she hates pregnancy now, she doesn't complain, but the sight of her suffering steals my breath. Reed-like arms support her back as she walks, and there are muffled sobs each time baby kicks. One night when she bleeds, the doctor looks down at her acidly, asking questions that make little sense. They tell us something is wrong, but they don’t know what.   


She turns her face away from my kiss these days, as if she knows things aren’t the same. She tells me it’s because she doesn’t want me to taste her vomit. Walking exhausts her. Her belly aches even when baby isn’t kicking. She rubs her legs in vain, but the bulging blood vessels get wider and uglier. Then one day the bleeding comes back, and this time it doesn’t stop. I’m holding her up with all my strength, stammering details to the 911 operator as a puddle of blood, fear, and guilt submerges my feet.


It’s too much for us to take.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


We try for weeks, but she won't test herself yet. She insists it must be a special occasion. We pack our bags, fumble the usual excuses, and jet off on a getaway. On the last night, she kisses my cheek and locks herself in the bathroom with a stack of pregnancy tests.


Unlike the first time, she doesn’t come out waving it in my face, dancing like a mad-woman and jumping on my back. No, this time I’m already waiting; my heart pounds a staccato rhythm as I stare at the bathroom door. When it opens, she doesn't even say a word. She knows I know her well enough to read her expression. It’s joy, it’s fear, it’s anxiety, it’s remorse, it’s guilt. It’s another try, four years down the track.


We have a second chance.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


The day after we lose our daughter, she looks up at me and asks if something is wrong with her. She sobs into my shoulder, apologises again and again for failing us, failing our family. Wishes she’d dieted better. Regrets not taking more supplements, like her mother suggested. Blames herself. All I can do is murmur comforts neither of us believe in.


Grief pulls us apart, in the end. Hot breath turns to spitted barbs. The house is dark when I pull up after work. Eventually, we go our separate ways, leaving our place, our lives, and our memories behind. Until, once more, we trade sparks for meteors.


In an atrium, four years later.


✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ ✼ ҉ 


When I hold her close, the warmth of her feels different than when we were married. She intertwines her slender fingers with mine, draws my hand to her still-dormant belly. I feel the softness of her lips, smell lilac wine, as she whispers in my ear. She asks if I still remember how to change nappies. She tells me she still has the nightgown. I want to say yes, but I'm afraid. What if it happens again? What if it’s destiny?


This love affair has only one ending.

August 03, 2022 05:08

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33 comments

05:20 Aug 03, 2022

Author’s Note: (mainly for those who have no idea what is going on in this story – I don’t blame you) This romance is written in a non-chronological sequence, intended to appear as infidelity, when in fact there are only two characters. Each single-line paragraph denotes a timeline switch. They were together, fell pregnant, lost the baby, broke up, reconnected four years later, and now take the devastating risk of trying again. I leave the reader to consider whether they eventually succeed and remain together, or if grief tears them apart a...

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Dina Castwell
09:16 Aug 04, 2022

i was a bit confused too so thanks for this clarification despite that, the story was still a wonderful, thought provoking read. It’s a good example of how grief can tear two people apart- not necessarily because they don’t love each other anymore but more because their both confused and struck by pain to find joy in anything, including their relationship. so i like that they were brought back together in the end, and the fact that they are even willing to try again shows how their love for each other still remains and is what has made the...

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01:36 Aug 05, 2022

Thank you Dina! Really appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts, which are spot on. Almost everyone who read this said it was confusing, so no worries there! lol

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Zelda C. Thorne
13:39 Aug 03, 2022

Hi Shuvayon, lovely to see another story from you! I did completely think they were having an affair at the start. I think I decided I was wrong when he started talking about the nursery, but I was still confused as to the timeline of things (not in a totally bad way, I should say, I enjoyed the flow and the prose, and felt confident that all would be revealed). When I read your comment that the single lines denoted a shift between the past and current relationship, I re-read those bits and it all made much more sense. Without that explan...

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19:28 Aug 03, 2022

Hey friend! Thank you so much for the read and feedback! I was worried about the clumsiness of repeated timeline switches, so that's helpful to know - I might try italicising parts of it and see how that goes. Good catch about the trigger warning too, I need to change that. Literally had your story open in another tab already, looking forward to reading it. :)

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Kelsey H
09:11 Aug 11, 2022

So I read this then read your comments, and obviously whatever revisions you did on this really worked, because I didn't find it hard to follow what was happening. The fact it was the same couple in two different timelines was clear, from his references to the past in the first section. The italic font in sections was a good move here to help keep it simple as to which time we were in. The slight mislead of having it seem they were both remarried and now having an affair before they the revelation they are trying for a baby was really well...

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02:29 Aug 13, 2022

Thank you Kelsey, that means a lot to me! Really appreciate the read! I've been slack with my comments of late, but will be sure to look out for your next story. :)

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Kathleen Fine
21:09 Aug 10, 2022

I loved this so much. And the line, “ There are no sparks – just a meteor shower,” is my new favorite quote. You are a beautiful writer and I really enjoyed this!

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02:30 Aug 13, 2022

Thank you Kathleen, this comment is so kind, it made my day!

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L.M. Lydon
16:55 Aug 10, 2022

So poignant. Thank you for sharing this simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful story.

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02:31 Aug 13, 2022

Thank you for reading. Much appreciated. :)

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Zack Powell
21:05 Aug 08, 2022

Having missed the early draft of this story, and having just read your author's note, I can confirm that I fell victim to the infidelity bait and switch. That's exactly what I thought was going on here, up until the last few paragraphs. So, this new version of the story does do what you wanted it to (at least for me). I appreciate the artistry in this piece. The simultaneous timelines worked, and in fact, I think writing both in present tense was the best choice. (I'm sure it helps that I'm reading the version where the flashbacks are itali...

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09:25 Aug 10, 2022

Thanks for the read and comment, friend. Love your insights as always. You might be the only one that caught the Me and Mrs Jones lyrics, so a gold star and some brownie points for you!

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08:49 Aug 07, 2022

The story is well written and thank you for the note in comments. I read the story again and it is brilliant. The descriptions are well developed in setting the tone and mood of the story. The characterization is also deep and relatable. The ending is also satisfying. Loved reading your story.

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09:23 Aug 10, 2022

Thanks mate, really appreciate it. :)

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Yves. ♙
06:30 Aug 07, 2022

This was such an interesting take on the prompt! I love that you took it somewhere very dark and painful; I never would have thought to expect this and was very glad to read something so profound. Thanks for sharing!

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09:22 Aug 10, 2022

Thanks yves.! So kind of you. :)

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Aesha Amin
11:02 Aug 06, 2022

SHUV YOU'RE BACK WOOHOO and that too with a story this good. I began making notes of every sentence I loved but there's one literally every other sentence soooo that went to hell hehe. It's such a simple plot but so powerful with the way you wrote it. I thought it was infidelity at the start but changed my mind mid way so I'd say the story communicated what you meant it to. Your writing has always been mesmerizing so while reading this was fun, it wasn't surprising just how much I liked it. Aslo, I'm sorry if I' rambling lol I'm just drunk r...

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Aesha Amin
11:02 Aug 06, 2022

you better win

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Aesha Amin
11:03 Aug 06, 2022

also I love this ending: What if it happens again? What if it’s destiny? This love affair has only one ending.

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20:36 Aug 06, 2022

Drunk reading is the best reading! And the most honest lol. Thanks for brightening my Sunday morning :) Let me know when you're next working on something, I'd be happy to beta read it! P.S. This didn't get rec'd, but I had low expectations so no sweat - on to the next

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Riel Rosehill
22:43 Aug 05, 2022

I read your note after I read the story, so here is how I understood it: I was a little confused about the timeline, but I understood it was the same characters in both. I thought it was an affair and then he married her, so I got that mixed up until I got closer to the end. Now, about the story: I love that you wrote this from the man's POV - all pregnancy loss stories I read so far focused heavily on the woman so I really enjoyed reading this, it felt refreshing and more interesting as well. And your prose were just STUNNING. I absolutel...

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20:31 Aug 06, 2022

Thanks Riel, you're too kind!! Really good point about POVs - obviously I find writing male perspectives easier and that lent itself well to this story

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Mary Sheehan
20:18 Aug 05, 2022

Like the others who have read this, I thought it may be about infidelity for the first few paragraphs, but I had read the content warning so I knew it was about a miscarriage (side note and unpopular opinion, but I hate content warnings! I understand completely why people use them though ((still, I try not to use them because I think they act as spoilers))). This story is beautiful, lyrical and full of sorrow and hope. You really have a way with words. It's a touching tribute to those who go through the pain of losing a baby.

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20:29 Aug 06, 2022

This is such a nice comment Mary, it made my day yesterday! I share your sentiments about content warnings... I usually try to keep them vague but there was no way around the spoilers in this one. lol I see you're back with a submission this week - looking forward to reading it :)

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Seán Mc Nicholl
23:34 Aug 04, 2022

Shuv, sorry for only commenting now, but I have read this three times - and I love it. It’s heartbreaking, profound and complex. Love the back and forth of it, the tension it creates. The changes with the italics was a good improvement, just clarified things a bit better. But your comment also did that. Your description of how the characters feel and react is spot on and true to life. And you have a fantastic descriptive narrative throughout. Brilliantly crafty story yet again!

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01:41 Aug 05, 2022

Thank you my friend! Honestly, I appreciate your time, and reading it just once is plenty - three times is more than I can ask for! Love how you say it feels true to life, that means a lot. I'm never sure if I quite capture those emotions, especially in such a short format. Thanks again for your comment. :)

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22:42 Aug 04, 2022

Shuv, this is a beautiful and sad story I like the juxtaposition of the relationship, sort of a "Before" and "After", almost as though the narrator is trying to cope with the flashbacks that get prompted by the current things he is experiencing. My only "critique" would be that you could (only if you wanted to) separate the italic sections completely (like mark them as a new section with *** in between the paragraphs) to let the readers know there is a pointed shift But otherwise, very well done :)

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01:39 Aug 05, 2022

This is such a sweet comment Hannah, really appreciate it. I like the suggestion and am going to implement it. Can't remember if I commented on it, but your winner "The Lonely Color" is one of my Reedsy favourites. :)

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Michał Przywara
21:10 Aug 03, 2022

This definitely read like infidelity to me. Where it started drawing together for me was around "I’m holding her up with all my strength, stammering details to the 911 operator as a puddle of blood, fear, and guilt submerges my feet." This is followed up with a pregnancy test, which doesn't make sense for a pregnant wife, and it doesn't seem like the thing you try for with a mistress, so I began wondering if they're the same woman at a different point in time. Much like Zelda C. Thorne, I found your explanatory comment and a second read-th...

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00:19 Aug 04, 2022

Michał, I appreciate your in-depth feedback, and critique in particular. This needs another revision for sure - and what you said about the infidelity made me realise that it's probably unnecessary. I'll make some adjustments to make the timeline shift clearer too. This is why readers' feedback is so valuable lol... three people have said this story is confusing, and that says it all really!

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Amanda Lieser
03:42 Sep 09, 2022

Hello! Wow this piece was beautifully crafted. I thoroughly enjoyed the dual stories and I thought both captured intense love and heartbreak in their own ways. Your skillful use of vivid imagery really shines in this piece and I love the way that your characters remain unnamed. I was gobbling this piece alive. Well done!

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Tommy Goround
11:29 Aug 18, 2022

:clapping: Wonderful title. oiy. Not me favorite subject. Lovely title?

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