The Beginning of the End

She watched the bath water go down, down, down. She sat there naked, her arms around her knees, her belly protruded. She felt not cold or warm, but numb. Then...did she feel a kick? She waited. Nothing.

A few days earlier, she had considered bringing up that dreaded topic with him. He was lying in bed, reading. She came into the bedroom after brushing her teeth. The word screamed in her head. She couldn't say it outloud. DIVORCE. It sang like a chorus.

Most people she knew didn't divorce until the love had faded followed by, or as a result of, a series of negative events - infidelity, most commonly, addictions, restlessness, mid-life crisis' of various degrees of severity - on and on the list would go. One close friend of hers had gotten a divorce after taking a trip to Italy with another female friend and realizing that there was a whole world out there she hadn't yet seen. Living in the suburbs, working the 9-to-5 no longer interested her. She was childless and still young, and her husband Thomas was happy with their life in the 'burbs - a life Lauren had referred to as "unbearably boring!"

She had nodded and listened to Lauren, pretending to be sympathetic. She looked at her and realized long before Lauren would, that she was making a mistake. But it was too late to tell her this - she had made up her mind. Out with the old, in with the new, as they say.

She stood up and looked down at her swollen belly, swollen breasts, down to her swollen ankles. She felt alien in her own body. She loved her husband so much. Why would she put him through something so awful as a divorce? One day some time after this, he would ask her this question again and again: Why? His eyes would betray confusion, fear and sadness all at once. Each time, he would look like as if he were about to cry, but the tears would never come.

She would list all the reasons, calmly. Gripes, mainly. Things that could be resolved over time, or just accepted through patience on her part. Their relationship could survive, but her bitterness would always be just under the surface, bubbling up from time to time, and then disappearing again, only to resurface and begin the cycle once more. Again and again.

No, those gripes were not the reason. His bad habits, his lack of ambition - all of those things were excuses. She wanted the divorce because she wanted to save him from her bitterness and her resentment. In her mind, she reasoned, this was an act of kindness. This was her way of truly loving him.

She rubbed her belly. And then, the baby kicked.

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