“Sara, Sara,” Charlie waved his hands in front of her. “You okay there?”
Sara looked at him, “I’m sorry, Charlie, what were you asking me?”
“Oh, I was wondering how your vacation was? We missed you here these last two weeks.”
Sara smiled, “It was good and now I’m ready to get back to work. Does Danielle have the design layout for page seven?”
“Yes, I think so. I’ll go over to printing and check. You sure you’re okay?” He asked again.
“Yes, I’m fine. Don’t worry. You always seem to be the mother hen of our group, protecting us little chicks. This chick is fine.” Sara laughed, though even to her it sounded hollow and empty, as she waved him off.
Charlie shook his head as he walked away and Sara turned back to her computer. Work was the best she could do. If she didn’t work, she would think. And if she let her thoughts travel, she would go down a road that would be impossible to come back from. The day went slower than she had hoped and even with the busyness of work and catching up with her two weeks of behind emails and questions, she still couldn’t keep her mind from going where she didn’t want it to.
Around four o’clock in the afternoon, after trying to hold it together and fight through it, she slowly made her way to her boss’ office.
“Ivy,” She said as she knocked on the door.
Ivy, a tall woman with short cropped black hair, looked up from the clothing rack she was perusing with a furrowed brow.
“Yes, Sara,” She said, looking back down at the rack of clothes as she spoke to her, “How are you? Good vacation, good. Did you get the changes I sent over? You’ve been out for so long, I was worried you may have forgotten how things are run around here.” Ivy said with a short sardonic laugh.
“No, I mean, yes, I did get the changes for all the commercial ad layouts. I have reset the pages and redesigned it to fit your notes.” Sara was having a hard time standing for a long time and gripped the door frame for support. She tried to hide her pain and hoped that Ivy wouldn’t notice.
“If it’s alright with you, I know this is my first day back, but I need to leave early.” Sara requested, knowing the backlash she would probably be met with.
“Did you not just get back from two weeks off?” Ivy asked incredulously.
“Well, it seems that some of that two weeks is still wearing off.” Sara tried to play off the pain coursing through her to her boss as too much partying.
“Go then, but make sure you are back tomorrow bright and early. I need you working hard for this company. This month is a big one and we have already suffered with your long absence. Don’t make this any harder than it already has to be.”
Sara nodded, “Thank you, Ivy.”
Ivy was too busy to notice how pale Sara had gone as she walked away. Sara made it back to her desk and slowly picked up her purse and her water bottle and made her way to the elevator, taking short deep breaths. Charlie saw her standing at the elevator and looked at her with his worried mother hen expression.
“At least let me help you downstairs.” He offered, giving her his arm for support.
“Thank you, Charlie,” She said taking the proffered hand.
When she came off the elevator she let go of his arm. “I’ll be okay, I can make it from here.”
Charlie was worried, but didn’t press her. “See you tomorrow, Sara. I really hope you are…”
“I’ll be fine, Charlie. Thank you for the help. You should get back up there before Ivy starts looking for you.”
Charlie nodded and jumped back on the elevator, waving as the doors closed. Sara took a deep breath and walked out the glass front doors of her building, stopping and leaning against a pillar outside to catch her breath again. She just wanted to get home, but knew it would still be another twenty minutes to the subway and thirty more on the subway. The pain was coming in heavier waves and she had left her prescribed pain medication at her apartment. She thought about hailing a cab, but didn’t want to end up paying so much more when she could just take the subway back. She glanced around trying to compose herself and not pass out right there in front of the hub of people starting to leave at the end of their work day.
She gathered her strength and started walking forward when she looked up and saw him, relief washing over her.
“Michael, what are you doing here?” She asked as he came up and gently wrapped his arms around her.
“I knew you weren’t okay today when you left this morning and I have been worried all day. Boss let me off early and I came right over.”
“I told you that I would be fine.” Sara tried to brush off the pain and be strong, but it wasn’t working and she couldn’t help but feel gratitude to have her husband there.
“I know, but you shouldn’t be.” Michael said, the sadness in his eyes reflected that in her heart. “Let’s get you home.”
Sara nodded and leaned her weary body on him as they walked. He hailed a cab and they got in, riding the fifteen minutes to their apartment. Michael paid the cabbie and helped Sara walk slowly up the steps of their building.
“Can I get you anything?” He asked her, once they were inside.
“Just water, I need to take some medicine.” She said as she eased herself onto the couch.
He grabbed a bottle from the fridge in the kitchen and handed it to her before he sat down on the seat across from her. His face was etched with worry.
“Is this normal?” He asked.
“Yes,” She managed after she had taken a couple of the pills and lay back on the couch, still in her work clothes.
“Sara,” Michael began. He didn’t know what to say. He got up and walked down the hallway, passing the door that had stayed tightly shut for the last two weeks now. He knew what was there, but neither of them could bare to go in the room. He grabbed a small blanket from their bed and brought it back to her. She had her eyes closed and looked to be asleep when he got back. Her eyes fluttered open as he lay the blanket on her.
“Michael,” she said, taking his hand. “Stay with me, please.”
Michael lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom and gently lay her down, before lying down beside her.
She took his arm and wrapped it around her body, holding his hand and hers over the small bump that was now a hollow shell of the future it had once held, letting the silent tears fall as they lay there.
Song Inspiration: Ed Sheeran – Small Bump