Janice (pt. 4)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Taco Bell was glorious. It was in the middle of downtown, and at 9pm, it was a little strange to see a woman walking in to eat by herself in an evening gown. But then again, the patrons of this town had seen stranger for sure.

She sat down, ate her steak quesadilla with cinnamon twists, stood up, and left. The whole affair took little more than ten minutes, but in those ten minutes, she felt more alive than she ever had. All eyes were on her, and even though it was because she was so out of place, it was the first time she had really been the center of attention at all.

She had that plain beauty that doesn't dazzle but doesn't disappoint. Her smile could brighten a room, but you had to be paying attention to notice it at all. Throughout college she had been that girl that everyone knew of but nobody really knew. She guessed it was only Marcus, her former husband, who had ever noticed her.

As she drove home, she thought about how they met. It was a crowed party with a couple of kegs, and she had only come along because her friends needed a designated driver. She didn't drink, so she agreed, but she felt so awkward standing in this stranger's house in the middle of winter.

She wore jeans and a turtleneck while her friends wore mini-skirts and tank tops. She didn't dress for style or beauty, she dressed for practicality. It was cold, so she dressed warmly. It made sense to her, but she thought that somehow the rest of the female population had missed that memo.

His eyes had that sparkle where he didn't have to say a word and she felt beautiful. She hadn't even spoken to him, but she already felt like she knew him for years. Catching him staring, she glanced at her feet as a heavy blush danced its way across her face.

"I really like your sweater," he had said as he approached smoothly; she had barely noticed his presence.
"Oh, um, thank you," she muttered as she stared at her friends and their outfits.
"Don't worry," he said as if he read her mind, "you look far more beautiful than they do."
"That skirt screams, 'I'm easy.' Your sweater whispers, 'I'm smart, interesting and beautiful; talk to me.'"

Already, she was taken. He didn't drink either; he was a biology major as well, and he loved animals. They spoke extensively about religion and music, and when he spoke, she listened to every intonation of his voice.

"'Tis man's perdition to be safe,
When for the truth he ought to die," he said as he spoke of religion.
"Well, yes," he replied a bit stunned, "how did you know?"
"I love poetry."

It went from there. They went out to dinner the next night, and less than a week later, they were an item. She loved the way being with him got her noticed. He was significantly more attractive than she was (or so she thought), and he was outgoing and influential on the campus. She met new people when she was with him--new people that actually listened when she joined the conversation.

They had been dating for months, when she called him one day.
"I need you to come over now."
"Just do it."

And with that, their relationship would be forever changed.

In her hand, she held three pregnancy tests. Dark pink lines taunted them from each one, and he didn't say anything other than "are you sure."

She laughed, but he didn't understand why. Was she sure!? It wasn't like she woke up, thought "hm, I'm pregnant," put her hand on her stomach and said, "yep, sure am." She hadn't made the discovery, the tests had. Each one of the tests was sure. It didn't matter if she was.

He was surprisingly excited about it. He brought her flowers one day while she was on her way to class. The next week, he took her out to dinner just for fun. He'd sit on the couch watching TV with her, and he'd put his head on her stomach, and talk to the baby inside.

One day, he came to her with a very concerned look on his face.
"Marcus, what is it?"
"I've been thinking."
"Well shit," she said, although she had meant to think it.
"I love you very much."
"I know, I love you too."
"I love this baby."
"I um," she stuttered, "me too."
"And I can't be content with this situation the way it is."
"Me t--wait, what?"
"Janice," he said grabbing her hands passionately, "will you marry me?"

She didn't have to think. The "yes" flew out of her mouth as the tears ran down her cheeks.

And the next weekend, they eloped.

She stopped going to college in the middle of her Junior year's Spring term. She was only 3 months pregnant, but she was too sick to make it out of bed most days. Marcus stayed enrolled because they figured one of them would need a degree and a real job once the baby was born.

They moved into a small apartment, and he took care of her as if she were a sick puppy he had found on the side of the road. Always thinking ahead, anticipating her needs, buying her nausea medication, or running out late at night for some food. He was the perfect husband, the perfect father-to-be.

Perfect, that is, until the bleeding started.

"I'm fine," she'd say as he paced around panicking.
"No, you're not."
"It's just a little blood."
"We're going," he glared at her, "now."

So at 3 in the morning, he took her to the emergency room, where the first year resident tripped over his words as he said, "miscarriage."


AnniforsciA said...

Oh my love.



Chris said...

Best bit soo far.

Keep them coming!

Evil Lunch Lady said...

Great job! Keep at it:)

tracy said...

Soooooo good, more, please...i'm addicted...in a good way...!

Epijunky said...

Just as anni said...


Anonymous said...

Absolutely excellent! Like what Chris said, this is definitely the best so far...and I just know that you will develop this story to be something where we all will enjoy reading. Keep it up...take care.

Alaina said...

Beautiful and heartbreaking. I got chills reading it.

Philip said...

Jesus. I don't even know you; I wandered on this page at complete haphazard and with the faintest foresight. But that's damned good writing; thanks, for that.

Chapati said...