David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.
I was about four months along, when I woke up feeling sick. Unlike the morning sickness of my first trimester, this was a different sort of ‘sick’ – the way one feels when they are coming down with a cold.
Brushing it aside as a new pregnancy effect, I dragged myself out of bed and went to put the kettle on for some coffee. I had hoped that a shower and some breakfast would make me feel better, but neither helped, and by later that afternoon, I was back in bed and beginning to run a fever.
Realizing this was a lot more than just an ordinary pregnancy symptom, I decided to contact David. Over the past few months, my communication to him had consisted of basic updates; a screenshot of a receipt or results from my antenatal check. I hoped this would grab his attention.
‘Hi. I’m not feeling well and have a fever, not sure what’s wrong.’
‘Go see a doctor and find out,’ his reply came a few seconds later.
I felt angry tears of frustration begin to build up as I tossed aside the phone; how could he be so uncaring! Surely, at the very least, he could have pretended to care and called for more details. How could he just tell me to go see a doctor when he did not even know if I was physically capable of going to the hospital on my own?
As the tears of frustration that had been building broke their dam and spilled down my cheeks, I tucked myself deeper into my blankets; I would just sleep for a little while to get my strength up, and then I would call a cab and take myself to the hospital, I thought sulkingly.
I had just come out of a particularly long and difficult meeting when Julie texted saying she had a fever. I knew she had money for a cab and to see a doctor, so I did not see the point of her texting me; I was not a doctor and she knew I was at work, so what was I supposed to do?
Slightly irritated, I replied telling her to go see a doctor and pushed the matter from my mind. A few hours later, as I was tending to the last of the day’s business, another text arrived: ‘I’m worse David. Something is very wrong. Please come!’ Oh for goodness sake! I groaned in exasperation.
She was clearly just looking for attention and this was probably all nothing more than a desperate ploy to get me to the flat, or she surely would have done the sensible thing and headed to a doctor long ago, I reasoned, as I texted back: “Why didn’t you go see a doctor when I told you to earlier? Go see a doctor!”
A few seconds later, she called, and this time I actually swore beneath my breath before answering.
“David, you’ve got to come for me! I don’t think I can even walk to the door! I’m feeling really, really bad, David; I think something is wrong with the baby,” her panicked, sobbing voice came across the line.
I sighed and quickly mentally analyzed the situation; chances were she was just being dramatic and there was nothing wrong with her or the baby, and if there was, it probably was not as serious as she was making it out to be. At the same time, she was crying and sounded desperate; so, I could not very well ignore her, or brush her off.
I still had a few emails to send and some drafts to edit, but I knew they would have to wait.
“I’m on my way,” I sighed in resignation and hung up.
I had been busy supervising the dinner preparations in the kitchen; so, I did not notice David was late getting back, until seven, when the children came in to shower and start on their homework.
Initially, I was not overly concerned; I figured he was probably caught up in traffic and would be arriving any minute. When I tried calling him, he did not answer my call, which only confirmed my suspicion that he was probably driving.
However, a few minutes later, he texted saying he was still at work, but would be leaving soon. I found that odd, as he normally called or texted early if he knew he was running late, yet he had not brought it up until my missed call.
Nonetheless, I gave him the benefit of the doubt; maybe he had been so busy, it had simply slipped his mind to call. In any case, he had said he was leaving soon, so he would still be back for dinner by eight, and in all fairness, that really was not that late.
It was only when it got to eight thirty and I tried calling him again, only to find his phone was turned off this time, that I really got bothered. He had said he was leaving work ‘soon’ at seven; even with traffic surely he would have been back by now, and why was his phone off?
Although I tried to fight it, a sixth sense told me he was with ‘her’; I had no proof of it, but somehow deep inside, I just knew she was the real reason.