Greg arrived shortly after two in the morning, just when I had given up hope of him coming at all.
He let himself in, opening the door quietly, obviously thinking I was asleep and not wanting to wake me. When he saw me sitting on the couch, he smiled.
“Hey,” he said softly, and then closed the door before coming to wrap me in his arms in a close embrace.
As I hugged him back, it felt like he was seeking comfort from me; like he was the broken one in need of fixing, and not the other way round.
“I’ve wanted to do that for so long,” he whispered against my face.
“I’ve been right here,” I reminded him wryly. “I know, I know, and I’m sorry,” he apologised, as he finally released me and we sat down.
“Don’t tell me you’re sorry, just tell me why you wouldn’t even call! I understand things might have been too hectic for you to come, but you could have called, Greg,” I begged him to help me understand.
“I needed some time to get a grip on everything. You say you understand that things have been hectic, but you have no idea just how hectic they’ve been. Linda has been a complete wreck since the baby arrived; I don’t even know what it is - postnatal depression or something.
She isn’t sleeping much, she cries as much as the baby does, and sometimes I get the feeling that she’s not altogether here; like she’s going through the motions of whatever it is she’s doing, but her mind is in a different place entirely,” he began.
“Her sisters came to help out after the baby was born, but she sent them away after just two days, saying she didn’t need their help and wanted her space, like there’s any shortage of ‘space’ in that six-bedroom house.”
I sensed that Greg had not talked to anyone else about what he was telling me, and he needed to get it off his chest; so, I did not interrupt him and simply listened as he went on.
“I knew she needed help even if she wouldn’t admit it; so, I called my sister over, knowing she couldn’t send her away, but that didn’t work either for she would literally barricade herself in the bedroom with the baby all day.
So, my sister couldn’t do much and started feeling very unwelcome. When I brought it up, she threw a fit, saying I didn’t think she could look after her own baby, that she was a bad mother, and stuff like that; so, I decided to let her be, and pray her hormones settled down soon so that things could return to normal. That hasn’t happened yet.”
“My sister left and nothing changed except that she now had even more work; while my sister couldn’t help with the baby, at least she would cook and clean, which Linda now does as well.”
“Thankfully, she lets me help with the baby when I’m home, but obviously with my schedule, there’s a limit to how often that happens. So, when I’m not there, she’s on her own, and to be honest, with the way she is, that actually worries me,” he concluded sadly.
“And yet you’re here now,” I pointed out questioningly.
“Yes, and I suppose the explanation for that is really simple: I didn’t see the point in both of us turning into wrecks. Watching Linda unravel because of the child she had struggled so hard to give me, made calling you seem like a really callous thing to do, even though I wanted to, so badly.
I love you, Stephanie, you know that, and I know that, and I couldn’t stay away any longer without going crazy myself. I don’t know what demons Linda is fighting, but they’re her demons, not ours.
Of course I’ll be there to help her as much as I can; I’ve been doing that, and I’ll keep doing it, but I can’t help her if I’m breaking down too; so, here I am – if you’ll still have me, that is,” he concluded.
“You silly man, of course I’ll still have you,” I sighed, then smiled as his face lit up and he moved in for a kiss.
As our lips met, one thought run through my mind: it was hopeless; no matter what he did, I would always take Greg back. For just like him, I was broken without him.