When your gaze first met his, you didn’t think much of it. Just another random meeting of the eyes. Best to disengage before any awkwardness ensues. But the lobby in the hospital was quite empty, the magazines on the desk weren’t your thing and you never understood the concept of soap operas. There really wasn’t much to do but look around. The final alternative being; staring at a fixed point and appearing like a person in deep thought. A woman in deep thought. A depressed woman in deep thought. Given the stage of your pregnancy, there would be no separating that image from the “single mother, damsel in distress” stereotype. And looking desperate was not on your agenda. So you looked around.
Your eyes locked a second time. A fraction of a second longer this time. You would have disengaged earlier, but you wanted to closely analyze the expression on his face. Curiosity.
At once, the stranger who shared a room with you transitioned from a mild annoyance to a thorn in your side. To discourage any further attention from him, you started to make small changes in body language. The muscles on your face worked to make a more distinct frown and you angled your body away from him.
Minutes later, you were almost at your car when you heard someone walking towards you. Before you turned around you already knew who it was. Given that the doctor didn’t really tell you what you wanted to hear, you weren’t in the mood to entertain anyone. Particularly not that creep.
There was something about him though, and you decided to lend him your attention just a bit. You focused more on his appearance than his words. If you were the stereotypical damsel in distress, he wasn’t exactly the knight in shining armor. More like not-so-faint-heart.
You wondered exactly what his motives were. Why would he be attracted to a woman at this stage of pregnancy? You knew looks could be deceiving but you couldn’t help but conclude that he didn’t look the kind of guy who had anything sinister or malicious planned. He was a sweet talker, and he so desperately wanted to woo you, so you allowed yourself to be wooed. Perhaps you had ulterior motives of your own. Perhaps despite your adamancy in appearing as a strong independent woman at all times, subconsciously you wanted a savior. Responsibility really wasn’t looking as alluring as it was often romanticized.
A few days later, you heard the doorbell. You know you shouldn’t have been, but you were quite surprised when you saw that he had bought some daises and a bottle of wine. The dinner table was already set. The fact that the aroma in the room didn’t repulse him was a good sign. You were actually quite invested in this now, so you put some effort into making a good meal. If the cow had milk to give, why shouldn’t you have your share?
You knew the small talk was inevitable, so you made your best impressions of a social creature. You were quite smug when you realized that being a less endowed natural actor wasn’t going to be much of a problem here. He was so much into you that he was ignoring all the little things. Your mirthless laughter, the blankness of your eyes, the flatness of your tone. Poor guy.
Eventually, the conversation started to go down more relevant pathways. Work, finances, personal life. You didn’t really know the dos and don’ts regarding personal information but you felt it was the perfect question to ask. Not too casual, but serious enough for you to seem like you were actually interested. You asked him how much time he had left to live. His answer alarmed you immediately: 12,056 years.
Moments after he stated this figure, your heart began to beat very very loudly. A thumping so intense you could feel it in your skull. How could he possibly have that long to live? Even your 120 years, among the vast majority of the population, was considered to be quite a lot of time. But this guy. Five figures?
The only people with numbers that high were serial killers. People who added to their own lifespan, what they stole from others. If this guy had five figures, he was either really old, or really prolific. And none of these options boded well.
You did not even delude yourself into thinking you could escape. All this while, you believed you were in control of the situation. But now you knew, like a fly in a web, there was no other fate but the cocoon.
You closed your eyes and tried to control your breathing. While doing this, he laughed. There was something about that laughter though. It wasn’t malicious. It wasn’t even emotionless. It was almost………..innocent.
Amidst all the emotional turmoil going on inside your head, confusion seeped in, and took center stage. Was he lying to me? Did I fall for such a cheap trick?
Your blood started to boil.
Seeing that you were far from being amused, he hastened his explanation. He wasn’t lying, but there really wasn’t any reason to be terrified. Those figures were from a serial killer sure, but not him. And he didn’t steal that time on purpose. Turns out this guy had hit the apotheosis of all jackpots, literally. The one time he gets a little carless with his driving, he knocks down an injured killer fleeing from the police. And just like that, twenty victims worth of life, added to his own. How fucking lucky.
He starts to get all emotional. “I really wish you wouldn’t but I understand if you want to leave me because of this”.
Leave you? You almost burst out laughing. The pounding in your chest is still there, the throbbing in your skull is still there. But something has joined them now. Control, it feels good to have you back.
What follows is a performance worthy of the greatest stage in all the world. A stroke of genius seemingly ex nihilo. Perhaps your natural talent for acting wasn’t as diminished as you thought.
You let tell him not to fret. He might outlive you and all your great grandchildren. But, you will enjoy your time with him while it lasts. Like a grizzly bear, he guzzles your words like sweets from a honey comb.
After a hug and a kiss, he tells you he needs to leave. You smile and he wishes you goodnight.
What he believes to be the falling action, is, in reality, the climax. Your heart is pounding faster now. A beating so intense you start to wonder if he can hear it. Dead giveaway if he can. Beads of sweat start to form on your forehead. He turns around and starts to walk towards the door. Your fingers strengthen their grip on the kitchen knife on the table. Now or never.
A perfect arc is drawn through space. One which spans air, flesh and air again. Your knees weaken but only one of you falls. You wonder if you have to cut him again, just to make sure, but the rapidly widening pool of blood takes away your doubt.
In hindsight, it was probably a good thing that the doctor refused to perform your abortion. You would have been settling for a shiny rock when an entire mine lay around the corner. This cow here had milk to give.