Nicky's Failed Flight

I felt the name hit me like a slap across the face, my legs almost buckling underneath me. Hers was so similar to mine, she had the same protruding belly… it was as though my own doppelganger had appeared on my doorstep. A real life Twilight Zone episode.

What was going on here, who was this woman? An ex-wife, still clinging to Jamie’s last name like a faded and torn photograph? No, my beloved would have told me if he had been previously married. He could never keep a secret from me.

Oh, of course - a sister! I hadn’t met his family yet, plans to go visit them always seemed to fall through at the last minute. Jamie was always so busy and his parents sounded the same way, it was no wonder really. Definitely after Bumpy was born though, he had promised me. He had never mentioned a sister though…

“When are you due?”

Oh my goodness, my manners had deserted me. I was just standing there staring into space while Jamie’s poor sister stood waiting politely. I apologized and admitted to not knowing of her; terrible etiquette, I know, but I was still recovering from that initial shock.

“Do you mind if I come in?”

My face flushed and I ushered her inside, away from the neighbour’s prying eyes. Always so nosy, they were - Jamie and I had not gotten on with them right from the start. I led her to the sofa, moving like a blimp down that too narrow hallway, and retook my armchair, placed my hands on my belly and kept my feet firmly on the floor that time.

My eyes fell to her ankles which were so… normal looking. Why had I been cursed with my own blubbery things, what had I done to deserve that discomfort? What made her so special that she didn’t have to deal with that? No, that was an unkind thought.

We compared our pregnancies - she was just a week behind me which, for some reason I couldn’t explain, made my tummy feel all queasy. Jamie had been away the week after we conceived, I’d had to call him with the news… no, I couldn’t think such thoughts.

I was speaking too quickly, like I always did when I was nervous or… scared. But what did I have to be afraid of? There was sure to be a good reason why Jamie had not mentioned his sister - perhaps they had a falling out?

So what was she doing here now?

“I don’t know your name.”

What? Had Jamie not told his family about me after all? No, that simply was not possible. He was so proud of me, of us. But then, if this was not his sister who was she? My eyes travelled of their own accord to the book I had placed on the coffee table when I went to answer the door. A Change of Heart. Suddenly the title had taken on an all new meaning for me.

Is that what the visit was all about then? Had Jamie tired of me and escaped to the arms of another woman? No, never - I was the perfect wife. We never fought, I took care of all his needs. He had no reason to be displeased with me. So it was her then - she had failed Jamie and he had found solace with me. She was too old for him, too stern. Too cold?

No, no, none of it made any sense. I was thinking terrible thoughts; unfair, petty things. There had to be another explanation.

“I’m not his sister, Nicky,” she told me, confirming what I already knew. “I think you know who I am.”

I stared down at the envelope which lay crumpled in my shaking hands. Why couldn’t she just go away, why couldn’t all of this just go away? The tears were streaming down my face, hot and burning. I couldn’t stand to be in front of that woman for a moment longer. So I fled.

I made it as far as the hallway, my breathing shallow, ragged, harsh. A moan escaped from somewhere deep within my chest before darkness clouded my vision and I was falling, falling, falling…

The End

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