Tina has been thinking about the doctor’s statement for days: we can save the mother or the baby. Not both. Mother or baby. Not both.
She wanted this child, she knew Rahul wanted it, too. Tina had lost her mother when she was young. Her father had loved her, but she missed having that female presence. On the other hand, she was grateful for her life, and wanted to give life to a child. And yet. She was grateful for her life.
She steeled her resolve, and after a few false starts, explained the situation to Rahul. He was quiet for a very long time, staring at some distant point.
“There might be another way, maybe some procedure the doctor doesn’t know about,” she said to fill the horrible silence. “Maybe we don’t have to make a choice. I know how much you want this baby. . . .”
Finally he looked at her, finally he spoke. “Tina, of course I want this baby. But I want you, too! You are my one love, my one life, Tina.”
She let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding. “Really?”
He looked surprised. “Of course!” He embraced her. “Maybe we can have a baby in the future. Maybe we can adopt. We’ll find a way.”
And they did.
Anjali had cried, cried and cried and cried over that boy. And then one day she cried less, and the next day she cried even less, and then one day she didn’t cry at all. She helped her mother around the house while she cried. She played with her neighbors’ children while she cried. She listened to sad songs while she cried. And on the day she stopped crying, she decided to start living.
She had left school, so the first order of business was to finish her education. She smiled at other boys and boys smiled at her, but she kept to her studies. She thinks about Rahul, and even though she doesn’t cry, she thinks she will never love again.
One year, while getting for Camp Sunshine, Anjali realized she loved working with children. She loved her job, loved spending time with her coworkers. She realized she could love, she did love.
Her mother would ask about marriage and Anjali was tempted. How much easier. But she had spent so much time just sort of waiting on other people. She would find a friend, she would find a match.
And she did.