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"Empty Words" by Delphine Gauthier-Georgakopoulos

CW: mention of miscarriage

It’s the tilt of her head that catches your attention first. Such an attitude! You envy her for a fleeting moment, then sigh; such conspicuous confidence rarely reflects reality.

The bus is not busy. The two women are the only ones standing. They linger by the door, rocking lightly, as if to follow a slow melody only they can hear. Her Attitude blocks the exit and rolls her eyes when a man pushes his way to the door at the American Embassy stop.

A hundred metres after the stop, you look to the left until you see it.

The building is now abandoned; front yard gone wild, planks roughly nailed closing windows and doors, suffocating the memories locked inside. There is a graffiti with two hearts intertwined, one cracked open and bleeding, and a quote. “The past beats inside me like a second heart,” John Banville.

You close your eyes and breathe a little faster.

You glance at the women and eavesdrop as Her Attitude lectures her friend loudly enough to be heard over the rickety rackety of the engine. 

“That is preposterous. You should not speak of what you indubitably know so little about.”

The practice was on the first floor. You always used the stairs, but not that day. That day, you felt too weary, not brave enough, so you took the lift. 

The waiting room was spacious and minimalistic. The only decoration was on the main wall: a large frame filled with grinning mothers and baby faces.

You gazed through the room and sighed because the good seats were all taken; you had to settle for the sofa. The leather always stuck to your legs and bum in the heat, making a weird soft sound when you stood up. 

Her friend’s cheeks turn the same colour as the bus. She glances around, gaze darting from face to face, checking whether someone took heed of her public humiliation. Your eyes meet. You smile, hoping to convey sympathy. She looks down, slumps, and blushes further.

You knew something was wrong the minute the kicking stopped. There had been no movement for two days. You just knew.

You wonder what their discussion is about. What could be so indubitably preposterous? Who talks like that anyway? You stand up and move closer.

You stood up when the doctor called your name, unsticking your heavy frame from the leather sofa—soft popping sound—but that day, you didn’t care. 

“That dress was not ‘beige’, as you put it. It was ‘Desert Mist’.”

 She tilts her head further to the left at an angle that must be uncomfortable. Your neck slants to the right in response.

Indubitably preposterous, indeed. 

He placed the blue gel on your immobile belly before doing the scan. He frowned at the monitor in silence. You held your breath. When he turned back to face you, his blue gaze was an ocean of sadness. 

“I’m sorry.” He replaced the scan on the metallic shelf. 

"I'm sorry." You push your way to the door.

Delphine Gauthier-Georgakopoulos is a Breton writer, teacher, mother, nature and music lover, foodie, dreamer. She loves butter, needs coffee, hates easy opening packaging, and likes to create stories in her head. She lives in Athens, Greece. 

Twitter & Facebook at @DelGeo14.


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