Contemplating Her Goodbye

Author’s Note: Funerals tend to make a person introspective, and Fi’s not immune to that. This is right before “A Visitor with Good and Bad Timing.

Contemplating Her Goodbye

Fi and the baby were the last ones left at the side of the grave, though she knew that her reasons for being there weren’t good. She had to see all of the dirt filled in, had to watch as he disappeared into the earth, never to come back and betray her again. She didn’t understand. How had she missed what he became? How had she failed to realize how much he’d changed, how twisted he’d become in his desire to have that child? She’d thought she wanted it more than he did, so why had he been the one to go out and get someone else pregnant?

She looked down at the baby. “I don’t think I will ever forgive your father. I don’t know how to, not after what he did.”

The child did not respond. That was something of a relief, since most of the time, all it did was cry. She was ready to go out of her mind between that and the funeral arrangements. She hadn’t cared what Richard got so long as it meant that she was done dealing with him for good, and her attitude kept raising eyebrows as she went through the motions. She didn’t know how to get back any kind of… feeling for him. She didn’t have any tears, wasn’t grieving him.

He’d done something that cut way too deep.

Could she have forgiven him having an affair if he’d not gotten the other woman pregnant? She didn’t know. She couldn’t sort out the what ifs, and she didn’t have the energy to try. She couldn’t figure out how to get any sleep between her thoughts and the baby’s refusal to eat. Nothing that she did for the child seemed to help. She’d bought every single brand of formula that she could find, every different blend, and the girl would not drink it.

The only way she’d gotten any food lately was when Fi stuck her finger in the formula and let the baby suck on it or when she dribbled it into her mouth, but the baby tried to avoid that as much as possible.

She was starting to think she’d have to take it to the hospital. When she got home, she was calling that social services person again, demanding to know what the state of the girl’s family was and when they were coming for her. She didn’t have much of a choice. She couldn’t care for a baby that wasn’t hers and didn’t want to eat.

She supposed the child knew how much she resented her—she tried, honestly she did, not to hate the girl, but it wasn’t easy. Fi wasn’t that good of a person. She saw the baby and thought of her husband doing the things he’d done to her to someone else—images she didn’t need, images that she didn’t want.

When he’d told Fi about the baby, she’d already been born. That meant that the affair had gone on without her noticing—and she hated herself for that—but also that he’d been acting like he’d done no wrong. He’d made love to her, too, all the while he was with someone else, kept up the pretense that he loved her and that made it all the worse. If he’d been cold and distant, if the affair had been obvious, then she might feel differently. Instead, he’d acted the same as always. He’d still talked about them having children, about whether they should try a new drug or if they should adopt. Maybe he’d been planning on knocking up his mistress and bringing that child home all along. Fi didn’t know.

She just knew that at the moment, she hated him with every fiber of her being. She couldn’t find a part of her that still loved him, though after eight years, that had to be buried in her somewhere. Maybe in a few days or week, she’d feel it, and then she’d grieve like she should.

If she was able to give the baby to her family, if she had a chance to sleep, that would help. All she wanted now was to be alone—truly alone—so that she could start to sort out how she felt and what the hell she was going to do with her life now.

Her husband was dead. She’d been about to divorce him, and she didn’t miss him, but she had to think about the house, about where she’d live—she wasn’t sure she could afford the mortgage on her salary alone.

So many things to deal with. She had better start home, then.

Next: A Visitor with Good and Bad Timing

Back: Alone but Not Alone

Beginning: The Loss of Eight Years

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