BARREN

By Ann Marie R. Harvie
“The tests came back yesterday,” Dr. Henry started. “I’m sorry. You can’t have kids.”
Mara stared at the doctor as she felt the panic start to consume her. “But he really wanted kids. I really wanted kids,” she said.

Dr . Henry shook his head. “I’m sorry. Medically you are unable to conceive a child. There is always adoption.”

Mara’s heart thumped hard and fast against her chest. Tears welled up in her eyes and cascaded down her face. “We wanted our own.”

“An adopted child would be your own,” reasoned the doctor.

Mara tried to wipe the tears from her face, but they were quickly replaced with new ones. “He’s going to divorce me,” she sobbed. “He’s not going to want me as a wife because I can’t give him kids.”

Dr. Henry put down the papers he held in his hand and touched Mara’s shoulder. “This has been quite a shock for you,” he said. “I know you were optimistic that the test would come back positive. Take some time to absorb what you’ve heard. Don’t panic. As I said, you have options if you really want children.”

The doctor took a pad from his desk and scribbled for a moment. Then he took his prescription pad and scribbled some more. He handed Mara a box of tissues and the two pieces of paper. “This is Valium to help you sleep these next couple of nights,” he said. “This is the number to an excellent grief counselor who specializes in sterilization diagnoses and loss of children. Get some rest tonight and call her in the morning. Everything is going to be all right.”

Mara blew her nose, wiped her eyes and sniffled a little before leaving the office to go fill the prescription the doctor gave her.

***
Mara’s husband Nick arrived home late from work that night. Anticipation caused his hands to shake as he put the key in the lock of the front door. He wondered why Mara had not called him to tell him the test results. He smiled to himself. She probably had some sort of celebration planned for them. Maybe a special dinner she made, or a special baked goodie. He opened the door and found it dark inside. Nick frowned in confusion. He didn’t smell anything cooking or baking. Was she hiding in the dark to surprise him? “Mara?” he called. “Mara, are you home?”

Nick fumbled for the light switch and flipped it on. The kitchen light made him squint, he was so used to being in the dark. His eyes quickly adjusted. The kitchen was tidy. No dishes in the sink and the pots and pans all hung above the butcher block island. “Mara?” he called again.

No answer. Nick took out his Smart Phone to see if his wife texted or emailed him to say she would not be home, but there was nothing. Confused, Nick headed to the bedroom, dialing Mara’s phone as he went. He opened the door and turned on the light.

Nick dropped his phone.

Mara lay crumpled on the plush gray carpet clutching a pill bottle in one hand and a white teddy bear in the other. Her death stare told him everything that happened and that it was too late to do anything to help her. He dropped to his knees, a long, loud wail escaping from deep within him. He scooped up his wife with one hand and dialed 911 with the other. The teddy bear fell out of Mara’s hand and bounced away under the bed, disappearing like the hopes and dreams of the young couple.

Copyright 2017 Out of this World Publishing. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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