She ran her nails across her face the night he told her. Bent over at the middle, she was a flower with a broken stem. She held her stomach as though it were all she had left, as if it too, were about to betray her.
She had never felt such pain; such a tearing of self. She had never felt so naked, so rubbed raw. Her body felt hot and shameful, full of blood, ready to break out of itself. Her chest was an intense, tight thing, no longer beating, no longer fluid and constant, but frozen; frozen in the hottest way, for ice would make her numb.
"How . . . how . . ." stumbled from her mouth, tears spilling down between her lips, burning her tongue, "could someone . . . do this to another person?"
She would not wish this on her worst enemy. This was not a fate deserved of the most base of human beings. This was hell for the living. She could not breathe. Though she wished more than anything to be rid of it, she could not even tolerate the thought of giving it to another.
Betrayal was an overused word; it was empty of the emotion she needed to convey. All she felt was worthless - her being, her very body itself felt useless, devoid of purpose. Made unnecessary, extrinsic, superfluous. Before this moment, she never would have known so much of her was tied up in what this was, that one action - one word - could sweep it all away and leave her as this.
She could not bear it, the sight of his face; something that once invoked shelter now made so foreign. She did not hear his apologies. Her body pushed out air without taking any in. She felt her hair brush her knees as she sank onto them; her world was a searing blur.
He did not try to touch her as she clutched herself on the floor. She did not know if this was better or worse. He joined her on her knees and she could not look away.
"I . . . I . . ."
She was shocked by the flash of pain across her belly, something alive in a dull world. Electric pain across a slow burn. It woke her up, snatched her awake. She felt a seeping, an outpouring. A vital, vital loss.
Her hands made the slow travel down her swollen belly and between her thighs. They came back wet and red, shining bright against the diamond on her finger. In dull horror, she held them out to him. The ring slipped from her finger and fell, bloody, onto the carpet between him.
She stared at the open fear, frozen on his face. She felt her body open up and she knew it was too late. Once again she could not look away.
He moved to take her bloody hands and she pulled them away before they met.
"You did this," she whispered as her body let go. "You did this to us."