I never really liked the Halloween events, the trick or treating, the over hyped fun horror of the day and the way people basically poke fun at death, but perhaps that is my inclination towards the more macabre anyway. That said though… since a fair amount of years a very real and very fresh horror of this day has been added, one that still hurts me more than I ever can care to explain. But perhaps a small introduction to this rather messed up day of my past.
I arrived a few weeks prior to starting work abroad, it would be my first real emigration to a new country, new customs, new everything… Maybe this was the start of something good. I was going to be with my then girlfriend for a few days, then travel up north. She lived in a small student room, barely big enough to fit a bed and a desk, let alone enough room for a proper chest of drawers or any type of wardrobe. The small window to the outside overlooked the small canal and a pub on the other side. Most predominantly was the large hospital just a little further, looming over the area with is ashen yellow brown bricks and always closed curtains.
We hugged, we slept together in a cocoon of our love, we danced, we spent time out and about and played games. We wrote together and shared ideas. I held her in her sleep and woke up every single time she even remotely stirred. I was not tired though, just very aware of everything her body was going through. I felt it, I noticed, I loved every single second, I cried all her tears at least twice over, but not of sorrow, I was truly happy. Never have I felt more happy or alive as in those few days. Basically ignoring all that troubled me or her about it… this was my dream and I was going to see it through, one way or another. I would sway her mind, I would… But I could not.
The small life that started to grow had been there for little over three months. Yes we were not really careful, yes it was perhaps an accident, but to me… it was that extremely bright light at the end of a tunnel filled with dark. She was pregnant with my baby, I was to be a father. The day she told me… I remember it so very very well. It was high summer, temperatures were close to the 25 degrees, even in the early morning, or early afternoon. I was working in a bar at the time and she rang me. I had worked all day and night prior, but as I heard her say that she was expecting… I was elated, people looked weirdly at me and obviously asked what was happening. I toasted later that day with everyone on this occasion.
But I knew the day was soon approaching, I felt it in her tummy, fluids had begun to really be noticeable to the touch and I could not stop myself from wanting to be near and feeling the tiny life grow and develop. I also woke to her morning sickness, she really was having a rough time with it, something I still am sorry for to this day. But I knew… She had told me already, made up her mind, never even considering to ask me, merely informing me of the situation. The child was to be aborted and the day this happened was on a Friday, which coincidently also happened to be Halloween.
We woke up late that morning, well she was up several times, throwing up while I tried to fake to still be asleep, seeing the first time I tried to comfort her she cried and shoved me away. Early in the afternoon the procedure would take place. So we got up, ate some light breakfast, well I did anyway, she only had a glass of water, seeing she had to be sober. We exchanged looks several times before she actually left and I was left alone, in her room. She told me not to come with, it would be hard enough on her own already. I suspect she was crying the whole way there and with me there, she would not be able to go through with it. I know the building I looked out over very very well still. I see it in my dreams go past more than once, well dreams… nightmares more likely.
There are no words to what I felt that day, I tried to not look at the hospital, one that already loomed over the area, but now this had an extra sinister feel along with it. It felt like a place of death, a place where hope dies. In a vein attempt to get my mind off of things I booted up a game, but much further than the title screen of Dungeon Keeper 2 I would not get. At least not in mind. I aimlessly played a few levels while keeping my gaze fixed on the hospital. I felt lost, alone and completely insignificant. This was the end, the darkest things would ever get, I was sure of it. I counted the seconds, the bricks, windows, the number of curtains that were closed or slightly open.
One of the curtains was harshly closed and I fixed my eyes on that window. But aside from the dark curtain, nothing could be seen. Time was moving ever so slowly, each second a tormenting eternity in solitude. As if the weather was in agreement with my feelings the overcast sky grew darker and there was a light drizzle. Hardly enough to be audible on the window, and not nearly damp enough to linger long on the surfaces. My heart slowly falling apart.
The longest afternoon in my life was interrupted as she walked back into her room and saw me staring out the window, fixated, like a stone gargoyle, unmoving. She turned around and ran to the bathroom. There she cried and I ran after her, trying to get her to let me in, let me comfort her. I was going to be there for her, my feelings would have to wait. And that is where I put those feelings, buried them deep within, never letting them get out. I even did not tell my parents for a few years, not did she to hers. It was to be a long time after that we finally decided to come clean with all four of them. Her friends already knew. But I had buried the feelings deep, hidden them well and I never really let them out.
She was told that the baby they removed from her was a girl and she named the baby, again without any input of mine, not even an objection or suggestion was welcome at the time. I am not going to say she is to blame, she made a choice, her way. Like she did so many things, but that is how I found out she managed to cope with her bipolar issues. Any time something big was to be decided, she made the choice, on her own. She is a lovely person, flaws and perks in all, but I think this alone is already the epitome of why were not meant for each other. I was not hers, maybe she was not mine. That said, I still love her… and my heart aches without her, or maybe that is the part that still thinks about what could have been.
Several years later I made an appointment to go to the beach or at least go out for the day with a colleague who was having a rough time. So we went to the beach, the dog, my colleague, her daughter and myself. The little girl was no older than 3 at the time we went there. We were talking and having musings about how things were while she drove. She talked to her daughter in her native language and hearing the little girl respond somewhat in kind was extremely adorable. She was watching sesame street on the iPad to keep her occupied during the drive. The place we went to was only a short 20 minutes away, so she had little time to really get bored. We walked up to the dunes and towards the stairs leading to the beach. I was walking the dog, she with her daughter and as we approached the stairs a tiny hand grabbed my hand and held on for her dear life, or so it seemed.
I knew not what happened, but I gently took her hand in mine and lifted her ever so gently with every step, both on the way up as well as on the way down on the other side. I think my heart pounded in my throat and I felt an euphoria I had not ever been able to experience before. This little girl entrusted me with her most precious possession, her safety, without even the hint of doubt. I must have beamed with extreme pride as I got a few sly giggles from my colleague, she never had seen me in such a way either. We must have looked like a very happy couple, just on a day to the beach and that is how it felt… I finally got to experience that exact feeling. Something I still hold very fondly in my heart. The memory, that first shock and the seemingly natural reaction to oblige and keep her safe. It still moves me to this day. And is to me one of my most fond memories, a small glimmer of hope for the future.