Warning : Self-harming scene.
Chapter 7. Jessica : Regrets.
My world fell apart.
A dream of a future I held dearly to my heart had turned into sand, slipped easily between my fingers. I suddenly fell into this nightmare where I desperately wanted to hold my baby in my arms but I just couldn't. Not even after I cried over and over again.
When I woke up, my mind had turned into a broken record. It played the same bleak moments in ailing repeat. The memory of losing my baby felt like a hurricane that had just left my soul bare, with debris that cut deep into my heart every time I tried to look back.
Three months. Ninety days had passed since that dreaded day but I still felt so empty, so aching all over. My physical pain had disappeared long time ago, but something still felt very wrong, very unacceptable.
I reevaluated my life before the miscarriage like crazy, trying to see where I had made the mistakes that cost me my dear baby. I questioned myself over and over again. Had I worked too hard? Had I not ate enough? Had I not taken care of my pregnancy well?
Yuri. My dear Yuri. I couldn't even look into his eyes anymore. He was so kind and caring. He worried about me all the time. It hurt me even more to think that I was the one who had crushed his hope of an heir.
My parents. My sister. They said anything they could to console me but their words were words, nothing could bring my baby back.
And little Jinki, our innocent little Jinki. He would climb onto my lap. He would call for me like he always do. But I couldn't even see him without turning into a crying mess. He was so healthy and happy. He was everything my baby could have been if I hadn't been so careless.
My friends didn't understand. My coworkers had no idea. They kept telling me to move on while all I wanted to do was to turn back time. I wanted to have my baby in me again. I wanted that glimpse of happiness back into my hold.
“Baby.” Yuri came to the couch where I was sitting. “Will you go to work today?”
“Huh?” I didn't really pay attention. There was a diaper commercial on TV. The chubby baby boy on the screen kicked his feet happily while his hands flailed to reach for his smiling mother. I was wondering if our baby would have been as chubby or as happy as him. I was wondering of the unconditional love that could have been mine.
“Do you want me to drive you to your office?”
“Office? No.” I shook my head. I could not go to work. Everybody at the office would look at me with pity and I did not posses the strength to prepare our next collection anyway. How would I work to launch a baby and kids collection if barely seeing sketches of baby clothes made my tears fall? “I'm still not feeling well. I'll be working from home today. Do sketches and stuff.”
I was a pathetic liar. I couldn't even sketch anymore. One lift of pencil over the paper and my mind would come back to think about my precious child. I could not stop myself from thinking of what could have been.
The TV showed cute triplets from a famous reality show now. Three toddlers played happily with their loving Dad. The happiness showed on the Dad's face wrenched my already aching heart.
My beloved husband, he would have been such a loving father too. I could picture him swaying on his feet, trying to put our baby to sleep in his muscled arms. I could imagine him playing peekaboo with our pretty daughter or our bouncing son. I could even make out the happy smile that would have adored his face if he got to hold our child for the first time.
“I love you, Jess.” Yuri's voice brought me back to reality. “Take care.”
I looked up at him, trying hard not cry. He had seen me crying far too often. I couldn't be his burden all the time. “I love you too.”
The TV screened too many baby-related stuffs so I turned it off then tried to work at the study. The Baby & Kids collection was on its way to the production stage. Designs needed to be approved. Fabrics and accessories needed to be sorted out. I shuffled between mock-ups after mock-ups, trying to think about anything else but how cute little children would look like in all these clothes.
I was doing fairy well until a particular mock-up came to my point of view. It was the main design of the collection. The item that supposed to represent the whole collection. I had designed it with our baby in mind. There was even my handwriting on the corner of the paper.
Baby Kwon's first overall.
Tears fell as my fingers traced the soft fabric. The cotton and the denim had been the best I could find. The metallic buttons were supposed to be star-shaped for baby boy and flower-like for girl. I recalled showing Yuri this sketch a few days after our first appointment. He had smiled back then, saying that the overall set would be perfect for a walk to a park in a breezy Spring. I recalled how he had kissed my stomach after, whispering promises to our baby.
I couldn't stop the train of memory. I couldn't stop crying too. I clutched the baby clothes against my chest. My sobs reverberated in the room for God knows how long until I felt something snap in my heart.
I should stop.
I could not be like this forever.
Throwing the mock-up into the recycle bin by Yuri's desk I then walked to our bedroom. I went straight to my walk-in closet. From one of the many drawers, I took out a pair of tiny red socks and an ultrasound picture. The picture was the only proof I had of my baby's existence. And the socks; Yuri had had them bought for the sole purpose of giving me strength throughout the days filled with morning sickness and nausea.
These sad memories needed to vanish. I gave the offending items one last look before chucking them into the trash can.
I wanted to forget.
I needed to forget.
My breath caught in my throat. Even after I threw the mementos away I could still feel the aching of my heart. My tears wouldn't stop falling.
I felt like running away.
I felt like dying.
The bathroom tiles felt cold to my bare feet as I got under the shower. I pushed the button and hot water fell onto my body. My shirt got wet, my pants soaked and I could feel the water burning my skin.
I waited and waited. But instead of subsided, my tears turned into crashing waves, rolled me into more pain. I closed my eyes and all I could see was the ultrasound picture with a tiny blob in the middle. I willed to forget but I kept on remembering my poor baby.
The skin on my back started to hurt so much and I decided that hot water didn't do anything to help me forget. I moved to the tub, discarding my clothes on the way and turned the cold water on.
It felt good, the cold water. I let my head submerged under the surface, closing my eyes again. My mind went numb and I liked the feeling of nothingness. The need of oxygen forced me to sit up though. I could feel the air being wheezed out of my lungs and I suddenly remembered my baby again.
That wasn't what I wanted.
With my hands gripped the edge of the tub, I forced myself to go under the water once more.
The painful memory faded as I closed my eyes and it felt so good, so relieving. My back didn't feel like the skin was burning anymore and I loved the feeling of complete oblivion.
Maybe if I held my breath a little longer, if I stay still, I would be able to completely forget.
But someone yanked me out. I felt strong hands slid under my arms and hoisted me out of the water.
“Jess! Oh God.”
It was Yuri.
“No! Yul! Let me go!” I coughed, trying to break free from his hold but he carried me to the bedroom, disposing my body onto the bed.
“Let me go, Yul! I want to forget!” I hit his chest, trying to sit up.
“Jess! Stop!” He hold my wrists, eyes digging deep into mine. “Are you crazy? Stop!”
Then I saw it, tears welled up in his eyes. The sight shocked me. I stopped struggling, staring at him while shivering on the bed.
“Please, Jess.” Drops of tears fell on his cheeks now. “Don't do this to me. Don't do this to yourself.”
I had never seen him this vulnerable before. I had never seen such disappointment in his eyes. I rolled over and buried my face against the sheet, feeling so guilty, so helpless.
“I want to die Yul.” My heart broke into pieces as I said those words. “It hurts too much”
“If you really want to die, please have the decency of bringing me with you.” His words were icy cold as I heard him taking off his wet pants. “Or at least kill me first, because I'm not gonna live in this world without the woman I love.” His belt buckle hitting the floor with a loud thud.
Then he said nothing, just gently dried my back with a soft towel. I flinched when he reached the burnt patch of skin. He stopped dabbing with the towel. Then after a while, I felt him spreading cool gel on my back. No words came out of his mouth and the eerie silence disturbed me more.
“It was my fault. I deserve to die.”
“No. It was fate.” He said coldly, fingers still applying the gel to my hurting skin in a painstakingly slow manner.
I wanted him to scream at me. I wanted him to be mad at me. Why did he always so full of forgiveness and acceptance? Why didn't he blame me for losing our child?
When he covered my trembling body with a blanket, I could not stand it anymore. “Get angry at me! Blame me!”
“And then what, Jess? Hurting ourselves even more?”
“I want the pain to stop, Yul. You have no idea how much it hurts.”
“I have no idea?” I heard him saying the words bitterly. “Do you seriously think I have no idea?”
“Look at me, Jess.” He turned me over, holding my wrists again and forced me to look at him. “Can you see my pain? Or I have to put in verbal how much it hurts to lose my baby and see my wife crumbles after.”
I was sobbing now. His words pricked my heart.
“It's double the pain for me, Jess. It hurts like hell to see you slip away like I mean nothing for you. Is our baby the only thing in your mind? Don't you love me too?”
“I love our baby. God knows how much I wish for the power to turn back time so we can have another chance. But I love you more. It kills me to see you this weak.”
“I am weak, Yul. I couldn't even keep our baby safe”
“It's not your fault. It's not anybody else 's fault. It's not about what was wrong, Jess. It's about how we can prevent it from happening again.”
“Do you love me, Jess? Do you love our baby?” He held my gaze, his jaw tighten with what I recognized as anger. It relieved me somehow, seeing that raw emotion that he rarely showed before.
“I... I love you.” I nodded. “Our baby too.”
“Then be strong for us.” He finally let go of my hands. His hand moved to caress my cheek. “Be the mother our late baby deserved because I'm sure, in heaven, our baby is watching you with disappointment right now.”
I nodded again, tears falling some more at the thought of our baby.
“I don't want to see sad tears anymore.” He cupped my face in his hands. “If you want to cry, cry for the beautiful memory we shared with our baby however short it was. Cry because you are willing to let our baby go to a better place.”
That was when I noticed the wrinkles on his forehead along with the heavy bag under his eyes. My Yuri seemed so tired and sad yet he still put my feeling first.
“I'm sorry.” The apology came out of my trembling lips. My heart filled with regrets.
He sighed then smiled. “Our baby and I are not accepting apologize until you promise you will stop hurting yourself. Promise me we'll work our way out of this, together.”
He kissed my forehead, gathering me in his arms, blanket and all. His hug felt so warm, soothing my aching heart. I leaned my head on his chest and he caressed the back of my head. “I can't bear to lose you, Jess. I love you too much.”
“I love you, Yul. Forgive me.”
___ tbc ___
Author's Note : Aaargh. I hate working in past/past perfect tense. I hope this chapter comes across well. :)
And as always, thank you. ^^