The Life I Promised You Part #2

Her mind kept repeating all the glorious things her mother and grandmas have told her about their own pregnancy experiences. But the more she tried to convince herself that things are normal or eventually will turn out to be, the more it felt unreal. She had seen in movies that when someone tells their partners about their pregnancy, it's often a happy moment of shedding tears of joy and holding one another in the sweetest embrace ever. But this news kept making her more and more anxious. She felt guilty. Was God punishing her for wanting things more than she should? All she could think of was how their heated moments now only agitated her. All he did was to grab his pack of cigarettes from the front pocket of his uniform and lit one. He sat by the window, staring at the empty street, holding the smoke in longer than usual. He tossed the pack in his hands a couple of times, his gaze completely zoned out. “I shouldn't be smoking. It's bad for you.” - Noor spent most of her time in bed after work and Saeed didn't pushed her otherwise. In fact, the lingering silence between them appeared to be the peacekeeper for now. Noor's body was going through daily changes and nobody could handle none of it on her behalf. They haven't had talked anything through since three days ago, when she announced that she was pregnant. “I'm leaving.”, “I'm home.”, “Do you want dinner?” were the most spoken words between them. And also the sound of Noor breathing as she drifted into sleep every night. Saeed had never fallen asleep before her. He needed to know that she has entered the safe zone of disconnection first before following her into the same dimension. Noor finally decided to call home. She didn't want anyone else to know yet. She couldn't "fake smile" her way out of the congratulations and the questions she herself did not have any answers to. She needed a way to hush her constant anxiety for at least a couple of minutes. And she needed guidance more than anything else. Her mother picked up after three rings. “Noor jan is that you?” Her voice seemed to be the only thing that hadn't changed around her. “Maman jan…” She covered her mouth with her palm as tears immediately started to roll down her cheeks. She wasn't going to play strong. She wasn't going to lie when every thought in her mind ended up to be a cry for help. “I'm pregnant.” These words dug their way out from between chokes of air and subs. “Does Saeed know?” She managed to spit out a syllable equivalent to “Yes”. Her mom was silent. It felt good that she didn't try to stop her from crying. Her quietness was comforting her. Facts wouldn't at the moment. She cried and cried till her eyes felt dry and her eye lids felt too heavy to stay open. “What should I do?” A new grip formed in her throat right after she spoke these words. “Do you have a pen and some paper nearby?” Her mother didn't ask if she wanted to keep this baby or not. It really didn't feel like an option to her. She was going through enough suffocating guilt already and constantly blaming herself for not being careful. Handling something that was so distant from whatever she had learned to believe and handling two burdens instead of one was far from her current state. That night when Saeed came back home, she showed him the paper. Her mother had asked her to note down some key precautions she should be taking. They were both sitting on the edge of the bed, Noor's gaze was slightly switching between her own entwined hands resting on her lap and Saeed's fingers, holding the paper. “Noor jan.” He reached for her hands and squeeze them with his usual, familiar, warmth. “We will work it out.” Her morning sickness was almost gone as she entered her second trimester. However, moving around was becoming a new challenge. Saeed would drop by the store every evening so they could walk home together. That night, as he was helping Noor to put on her coat, he said:” Have you heard that the virus has entered U.S. now? They said that we should wear masks from tomorrow all day long.” - Saeed's step-brother, Hamzeh, who lived in another suburb located in a two-hour drive, payed them a surprise visit on a Sunday evening. Noor had a feeling that Saeed had already told him what was going on. When they first came here, Hamzeh was in fact the first person who sat both of them down in his house and talked them through on how financial dynamics really work here. Him reappearing at their door like this had only one meaning. He already knew they were in trouble.

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