Próza - Povídky & Drabbles

~by Estriel~

i. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words.
ii. Sometimes it’s hard to say the words that have to be said.
iii. Sometimes words are all you have left.
iv. Sometimes even empty words are too much.

“There’s… there’s something I’d like you to know,” she says and Clara looks up from her book, watching her friend shift her weight from one foot to another, wring her hands together awkwardly.

“What is it?” she asks simply, smiling, and pats the couch she’s sitting on, inviting Denise to sit next to her.

With three small steps, Denise reaches the couch and sits down gingerly, her look downcast. Her cheeks are tinged with pink and when she pushes her glasses up a little, Clara notices that her hand is shaking. She reaches out and takes her hand, massaging her palm with her fingers.
“What is it? You know you can tell me anything.”

“I know,” Denise nods and meets Clara’s eyes for the first time. “I just… Don’t know how to say it.” She smiles shyly, embarrassed about her own awkwardness. “I’m afraid that… it won’t sound right. Or that it won’t be good enough,” she whispers and worries her lower lip with her teeth.

“Everything that comes from the heart is good enough,” Clara replies and strokes her cheek encouragingly.

Denise takes a deep breath, looks up and locks eyes with her, determined. The short silence that follows is not at all awkward, it’s nice, somehow, and filled with anticipation.
“I love you,” she says then, her voice a little shaky, a little uncertain.
Clara feels the happiness bubble up inside her and finally surface in the form of a relieved laugh. She buries her hands in Denise’s hair and touches her forehead to hers, not at all ashamed about the tears in her eyes.

The young doctor smiles at her – and the smile scares Clara more than anything she’d ever seen before. It’s a sad sympathetic smile, a smile that says it all without a single word. Rooted to the spot Clara watches the woman in white approach. The doctor starts with polite small-talk, as if Clara didn’t already know.

“Please just tell me,” she begs the doctor, suddenly very tired.

The doctor sighs and her courteous smile fades, making her face look older. It’s obvious that she doesn’t like this part of the job.
“I am so sorry. The baby was too weak. We tried… but we couldn’t save it.” She puts a firm hand on Clara’s shoulder, waiting for her reaction. Clara thinks that maybe the doctor expects her to crumble down crying, or faint, anything dramatic. She feels hollow and dry, she couldn’t cry even if she tried. For a moment, she wants to ask whether it was a girl or a boy, but then thinks twice about it.

“Can I see her now?” she asks weakly and when the doctor nods, she follows her to the room where Denise lies on the bed, numbed into artificial sleep. Clara can’t help but stare at her belly, still round, but empty now. She drops onto the chair next to the bed and holds Denise’s small hand for long hours, staring at the opposite wall.

“I’m sorry,” Denise says and Clara knows that somewhere deep inside, she truly is. She knows because she feels the same, sorry that the brightness and beauty they had shared turned bleaker and uglier with every day they spent together, slowly losing the battle to the demons that were stronger than their bond.
“It’s all my fault,” she adds and Clara shakes her head.

“No, it’s not. It’s nobody’s fault,” she says and the words sound like a horrible cliché, but they’re all she can give now. “We just weren’t meant to be.” She’s not one to believe in fate, but sometimes, it’s easier to persuade yourself that there was nothing you could have done. It’s easier to blame fate than face the ugly truth.

Denise nods, accepting the lie without protest. She’s just as exhausted as Clara.
“It was nice. Really nice,” she says broodingly.

Clara doesn’t know what to do, how to overcome the walls they have built between them in the past few weeks, so she just mutters a quiet Yes, aware of how meaningless all their words are now. Words are not enough, they’re empty and shallow, and could never encompass the entire depth and breath, but there’s nothing else left.

When Denise hands her the spare key, hugs her one last time and closes the door behind herself with a final goodbye, Clara is glad. Glad about the silence, for sometimes even empty words are too much.


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