October 31, 2011
I still can’t quite get my head around what has happened, what have I done so wrong to deserve this? Everything seemed so perfect, my life was just exactly how I’d always dream about it: I had the man I loved with all my heart, and his baby growing inside me. And now look, it’s been viciously taken away from me. I suppose I should talk about how I am feeling, but I can’t. Why?
Because I am feeling nothing, not a thing.
I am…….. empty.
The only thing I know for sure is that I have to survive; I have got to pull myself together and get through this for our baby. If I didn’t have this wonderful gift growing in my stomach, I would be joining you my love – of that I am sure.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to write in here. All I want, my only wish, is that I could see him once more. I would willingly give my life, for just one more moment with him, just to be near him again, to hear him whisper my name.
I haven’t spoken to anyone since that night. Everyone is full of “I’m Sorry’s” and “Things will get better,” but what do they know? From what I can see they all have their significant other still by their sides. I refuse to leave the refuge of my bedroom at my parents’ home.
Mother leaves food outside the door that I only eat to satisfy our child. Mom wrote me a note today that she placed with my dinner saying that things would get better and that as the days passed, I would see that all things happened for a reason. That everything will get better with time.
All I wanted to do was scream. What did she know? Personally I don’t see how. This hole in my life still hasn’t healed, the emptiness never goes away. It’s with me all day and night. Eating away at me.
It feels like someone has completely wiped away all of my senses. I’ve lost the ability to do anything. I am just an empty shell, just…just, there. Everything of ours was lost; I have no memento of our time together, nothing that smells of him. Actually, I do have one thing but I won’t get to see that for some time yet.
I can’t remember the last time I actually slept. I’m too scared to sleep because the nightmares follow me, but at the same time I’m too scared to stay awake, knowing the only place I’d ever find him again were in my dreams.
I lay on the bed, my arms wrapped around my stomach protectively, when there was a knock at the door. Today was the day that I would get up and go out. Today I had to do something. Something I had been putting off for…. well…. since that night.
“Yes?” I mumbled, really not wanting to talk to anyone. Nobody understands what I am going through. I gave Johnathon my heart and now it is gone forever.
As the door slowly creaked open I could see my mother staring in, probably wondering what sort of state I’d be in today.
“What do you want, Mom?” I said, feeling slightly annoyed. To be honest, I’m getting really fed up with people trying to cheer me up. I just want to be left alone. To grieve in peace.
I got up, feeling nauseous. As much as I wanted to lay in bed all day drowning in my sorrows, I knew today was the day I had to get up. I have to go and see Mr and Mrs Walker.
I slowly got up from the bed, stretching my muscles. Aside from using the bathroom, my legs hadn’t had any use in the past few weeks – and the muscles had begun to seize up. I resisted the temptation to wince as I took my first steps toward the bathroom to draw myself a bath.
“Esme darling?” came my Mom’s voice. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, I’m absolutely superb. I’ve lost the only man I have ever loved,” I called back angrily. I knew I was being mean, but honestly, if she’s asked me if I’m okay once, she’s has asked me a thousand times. Does she honestly think I am just going to “snap” out of it?
She stammering, shocked by my cold response. “Esme, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean….. “
“No, I’m sorry Mom. I shouldn’t talk to you like that. It’s just…” I veered off, not knowing how to finish the sentence, desperately trying to prevent the tears from flowing again. What I was about to do was extremely important.
“I’m going next door once I’m dressed.”
“Really?” Mom asked, sounding rather shocked.
“Yes,” I sighed, stepping into the warm bath. I heard her leave almost immediately; hopefully she was beginning to notice I wasn’t enjoying the fuss. I allowed my body to soak peacefully in the tepid water. Mother had told me that having the bath too warm when you are expecting wasn’t the best thing to do. I didn’t know how right she was, but I wasn’t prepared to take any chances – our baby was all I had left of Johnathon now. I would go to the ends of this earth to cherish it, the one piece of my love I could still cling to. I would never allow myself to be parted from him.
The bath water grew cold rapidly. Getting out, I stared in the mirror at the minute bump that showed the life inside me. Once I was dried and dressed I looked over to the mirror, contemplating silently on whether I should bother with a small touch of make-up. What’s the point? my sub-conscious told me. There’s no-one to impress.
I walked to the full-length mirror and looked at myself; I was wearing one of my mother’s old maternity dresses. I had no clothes remaining after the fire. I smoothed down the plain black dress before picking up the shawl from the vanity and folding it over my arms, trying to be sure that my bump wasn’t visible.
I was not ashamed, only wary. I still hadn’t had a full conversation with Johnathon’s parents regarding our baby. I took a deep breath before turning the door handle and stepping out into the hallway.
It was the first time I had been out of my room in weeks; this house seemed so familiar, yet foreign to me. As if the last time I had been here was in another lifetime. A lifetime where I had the ability to be happy.
I walked slowly down the stairs, reminding myself to breathe with each step that I took.
“Esme?” Mom called as I reached the front door.
“Yes?” I sighed over my shoulder, not wanting to face her at the moment. I wasn’t looking forward to the task at hand, and quite frankly wanted it over and done with sooner rather than later.
“Would you like me to come with you, dear?” she asked, sounding concerned.
“No Mom, I’ll be fine,” I answered, reaching forward to open the door, then stepping out into the open air. I walked down the pathway, breathing in the open air as I went. I could have sworn I could still smell the fire, taste it. My tongue burned.
Was this what it would be like for me now? Never being able to enjoy air again? I turned at the bottom of the path and immediately walked up the adjacent one, leading to Mr. and Mrs. Walkers’ house. I allowed myself another deep breathe before I knocked on the door.
Mrs. Walker answered, wearing a fine black gown, and tear stains clearly evident on her face.
“Oh, Esme,” she sighed, seemingly disappointed to see me. “Do come in.”
I nodded slightly before stepping through the door, into a house that was basically just the reflection of my mothers’. They even had a similar taste in decoration. I had, of course, been to this house on many occasions before the Walkers had moved in. As a young child I was very good friends with the girl who lived there, and our parents would often arrange for us to play together.
“I had expected to see you at the funeral,” she said, gesturing to the empty seat in front of the couch, where she was now sitting.
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t bear to go. It was hard enough knowing he wasn’t here anymore, without having to see him, my Johnathon, being lowered into the ground and covered by plain, miserable dirt.
I shuddered slightly at the thought of it before turning to face Mrs. Walker. “I do apologize,” I sighed. “I couldn’t face it, and to be honest I was unsure of the welcome I would have received” I admitted.
“Yes, well…” she shook her head, “…I won’t lie Esme, your relationship with my son has caused somewhat of a stir, but it was obvious to those who knew him that he cared about you. The decent thing to do would have been to say goodbye.”
“I have said my goodbyes Mrs. Walker, in private.” I tried, but failed, to smile.
“I see.” She frowned, eyeing me. “Your mother tells me you haven’t been eating?”
“I have forced myself to eat when I feel hungry,” I sighed, wondering where this conversation was headed.
“Well, if what you say is true, then that baby is my grandchild. For that reason, and that alone, you should make sure you eat regularly, should I have the cook make you something?”
“No thank-you,” I said, shaking my head, slightly annoyed at her accusation. “I will eat with my parents tonight.”
“Very well,” she said, reaching over to take a cigarette from the casing and lighting it. As the thin smoke filled my lungs, I began to cough.
“Oh sorry dear, is this affecting you?” she asked, looking slyly at me. I didn’t want to give her any more reason to hate me, she clearly was unhappy about my relationship with Johnathon, so I simply shook my head.
“Good.” She smirked before calling over her shoulder, “JOHN?”
Did she just call Johnathon? But he’s… he’s… gone? Was she just trying to upset me? I was so away with my thoughts that I almost missed it when Mr. Walker walked into the room.
“Yes?” he answered.
Oh, that’s right. Johnathon was named after his father.
“Do you have the box?” Mrs. Walker asked.
“Yes dear.” He nodded, the pain in his eyes nearly causing me to break down, swiftly exiting the room again. I didn’t know what they were referring to, and quite frankly I didn’t care to know.
“Mrs. Walker?” I asked, regaining her attention again. “Mother said you wanted to tell me something?”
“Actually Esme, there is something I have to give you,” she sighed. “If it was up to me, I would not have given it to you at all, only, as my husband rightly pointed out, this showed that my son was willing to do the right thing.” I was sure I heard her add “eventually,” but I may have imagined that.
I sat in silence until Johnathon’s father entered the room again. He handed his wife a small box and took the seat next to her, looking expectantly at me, as if gauging my reaction.
“Esme,” he began. “After the fire, we found something, it was thrown from the house just as…” he paused, clearly looking for the right words. “…Well, just as the explosion hit. We believe it was for you.”
“Me?” I asked, dumbfounded, what on earth could be this important?
“Yes,” Mrs Walker nodded, handing me the small, charred box. I looked at them, feeling extremely confused as I took it from her hand. I took another deep breathe before opening it and gasping. Inside was a plain, yet beautiful, gold ring with a single sapphire encrusted with tiny diamonds.
“We think this is what he went back for,” his father told me when I said nothing. “It was thrown from the window when the explosion happened.” I looked up and stared at him.
“Oh,” was all I could manage to say as the tears finally began to fill my eyes. Since that night, since I’d woken up, I had been unable to cry. I willed the tears to come, but they wouldn’t. There was no stopping them now, though, as they started cascading down my face.
“I- I- have to go,” I choked out, getting up from my seat and turning towards the door.
“Esme?” Mr. Walker called, stopping me in my tracks.
I turned around to face him again, tears still staining my cheeks. “Don’t be a stranger, okay? We have a common interest now,” he added, nodding towards my stomach. I nodded as quickly as my head would allow me and ran from the room and out the front door. I shut the door behind me and collapsed to the ground, allowing the sobs to take control of my body.
I sat there for a while, trying to regain control of my breathing whilst I tried to calm my tears. I was so focused on it, that I didn’t hear them when they started talking. Once my sobs were slightly under control I heard them, they were in the living room with the front window open, their voices drifting quietly out the window.
“The poor girl looks distraught,” came Mr. Walkers voice.
“So she should,” his wife snapped back. “After all, if it hadn’t been for her, our Johnathon would still be here.”
“Now Margaret, you know that’s not fair,” he answered. “We all know it wasn’t her who started that fire don’t we?” he asked, sounding as if he was making an accusation.
What a ludicrous thing to say, as if Mrs. Walker would start a fire and endanger her own child’s life.
“We have no proof it was Charles, John. None whatsoever.”
Charles? Why would Charles start the fire? Sure, he was upset, but would he really go that far.
“You should have never told him Margaret,” John emphasized.
Told who? Told him what?
“He deserved to know what his wife was up to whilst he was out fighting for this country,” she protested.
She told Charles about the baby? That was the only explanation. He already knew about me and Johnathon, but why would she do that? Didn’t she know what he was capable of? If he knew about the baby, then of course he would have started the fire. He was always angry that I had never provided him with an heir. He would have seen this as a personal insult.
I ran from the doorway as fast as my legs would carry me, and burst through my parents’ front door with such force that I was sure I had damaged the wall as the door banged into it.
How could she?
“Esme?” my mother exclaimed as I ran up the stairs. “What on earth is wrong?”
“Leave me be!” I yelled back over my shoulder, as I reached the top of the stairs. I ran into my room and slumped down in front of the door, pulling my knees up into my chest and rocking myself slightly for comfort.
It all made sense now, he would have despised the fact that I could have a baby with another man and not him. He wouldn’t have let it be. If this had gotten out he would have been embarrassed.
I lowered my knees and looked down at my belly. I knew I had to leave. And now. Charles wouldn’t be content with Johnathon being dead, he’d want us gone as well.
“Esme, open this door!” Mother yelled, banging frantically on the door.
“I am fine, leave me alone,” I all but whispered, unable to make my voice go any louder.
“Call me when you have calmed down,” she sighed, before I heard her soft footsteps move away from the door.
I threw myself at the foot of the bed, pulling out a small overnight bag I knew was packed away there. I raced around the room, storing away the few clothes I had ‘borrowed’ from my mom. I knew I wouldn’t have much time for shopping in the coming weeks.
Once the bag was full I looked around the room, taking everything in one more time, before preparing myself to walk downstairs. I threw the bag over my shoulder and headed towards my bedroom door. I sucked in a deep breath, then opened the door and stepped out.
“Esme?” Mom’s voice called again. Would she ever leave me be? I thought, sighing to myself. Then I realised there was no way she would allow me out the door.
“Y-Yes Mom,” I called back. “Could I have a cup of tea please?” I called asked, naming the first thing that came into my mind.
“Of course,” she called out as I headed back into the bedroom. I placed my packed bag back underneath the bed, out of sight in case anyone walked into my room. I would leave tonight, but while everyone was sleeping. That way there would be no-one to stop me. I could slip away, under a cloak of darkness, never to be heard of again.
Mom brought me my cup of tea, along with some freshly prepared toast and jam. I lied and told her I was just overwhelmed with seeing Johnathon’s parents. She seemed to accept my answer and when I told her I wished to rest, she left the room without an argument. I walked over to the vanity and took out a pen and paper and began to write:
I must leave now, but first I ask a favour of you. Charles started the fire. After Mrs. Walker told him about the baby. I do not want you to jeopardise yourself in any way, but please hand this letter to the police once you have finished with it. Charles clearly couldn’t handle the fact that I was having a baby with another man, after failing to provide him with an heir.
As for you, I love you Evie. You are, and always will be, my one true friend. And I know you understand that I must leave for my baby’s sake. Charles will not stop, I have to go. I will try and write when I get a chance.
If you see my mom tell her I love her, and that this is something I had to do.
I Love You Evie,
I folded the letter and put it in the front pocket of my bag. I would post it through Evie’s door before leaving town. I turned my attention to the toast on the side cabinet. I knew I had to eat; I didn’t know if or when I would have any money to eat again. And I needed to keep my strength up.
After forcing myself to eat every bite of the toast I laid down on the bed. Although I hated the thought of sleeping, I knew it was the only way I was going to make it through the remainder of the day.
I drifted off into a somewhat peaceful sleep; Johnathon was there, only he was out of my reach, but the further I ran, the nearer I got to him. After seemingly hours of running, I was awoken by my Mom’s footsteps coming towards me.
I squeezed my eyes shut again. I wanted her to believe I was asleep. I could feel her hovering over me for a few moments before she spoke. “I love you my child, sleep well,” she whispered before she bent down and kissed me on the forehead.
I wanted more than anything to open my eyes and tell her I loved her too. But I couldn’t risk my plan. I held back a tear that began to build up behind my eyelid until she left the room. Once the door shut I opened my eyes and allowed the lone tear to escape. I was going to miss my Mom so much.
I waited until I heard her bedroom door shut before I reached under my pillow to retrieve my diary and begin to write on here.
But now, I must leave. I am certain she will be asleep by now, and the sooner I go, the further away I will be when she wakes.
I will pack you in my bag now, and write as soon as I am settled.
Farewell for now,