In an unlit break room, at the end of lunch, two coworkers chat. The first tries to comfort the second, because she has just had a miscarriage. The worst part, she admits, is that while she has accepted the loss, her body hasn’t, awaiting something that will not come.
“How does it feel?”
“My breasts still ache.”
“How’s Jimmy taking it?”
“Don’t you two text?”
“But you’re his wife, you tell me.”
“He still kisses me, but when he does it’s like he isn’t there.”
Both coworkers hold warm cups of espresso, full of bitter aroma, while they stare out a wet office kitchen window, streaked with blue rain, washing away the outer grime, while the inside of the glass fogs with their breath.
“Did you always want to be a mother?”
“What do you think?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Will you try again?”
Lightening strikes, followed closely by a thunder clap. Dark clouds mix between heavy gray and flash white. The street lamps look like they were painted by watercolor. And a broken, half-opened umbrella, carried by the wind, rolls across a puddled street like tumbleweed .
“Are you afraid of losing again?”
“I’m not getting any younger.”
“There’s still time.”
“. . . Look at me!”
A clock hung on the wall shows it’s the end of the hour. Dishes are washed. Espresso has been drunk. And keyboards can be heard clicking and clacking away. Meanwhile the rain outside has calmed, although the break room remains unlit.
If only there were something to say, something empowering, from a man his coworker trusted, it is not like she isn’t looking up at him now, wondering what to do, confused within her skin, two months of sobriety for nothing, opening up about her problems, avoiding advice, but in strong need of it, or else some sense to fill her up again, nothing in the center of life these days except the natural malfunction which passed under her stomach, not even the widening gap between loved ones, nor the alienation with herself. Perhaps only the chance for empathy, to be turned on to act.
The two coworkers hugged.
“If you need anything–”
Before leaving the break room, she switched on the lights. Others were walking in.