Women Lead Pendidikan Seks
October 03, 2022

Everything in Between

As their wedding draws near, a distance begins to stretch, and she wonders, will they ever meet halfway? A short story.

by Tasya Taranusyura
cara menjalani childfree

Ever since their engagement, Mara and Hadrian’s free time was filled with the schedule of wedding planning, visiting their family, and finishing their soon-to-be-home. They had been together for five years, but seeing the place where they would live together felt strange for Mara. 

Our home.  Her and his. Mara tried to swallow her anxiety and fear, but to no avail. Did we make the right decision?

She glanced at the window, through which sunlight fell gently on the parquet floor. From here, she could see the houses, the roads, the vehicles, the high-rise buildings, the blue sky, the mountains that surrounded the city. 

“What do you think?” 

She flinched at Hadrian’s sudden question. Turning to him, she tried to remember what he had said, but failed miserably. 

“I’m sorry, it’s not that I don’t care, I’m just…,” she trailed off, unsure how to explain herself without lying.

Hadrian stared for a few seconds, then smiled. He guided her to sit down near the window and took out two bottles of lemon-soda and a box of apple pie, “It’s okay. I know we’re both exhausted. We should have started slow today, maybe with the apple pie first, take a breath and then take our time to see this place,” his eyes scanning the room before looking at Mara again. He grinned, “But I accept your apology. Try the apple pie, father baked it.”

“Oh, my, thank you!” Mara beamed instantly. Hadrian’s father was the best baker she ever knew. A bite was enough to make her groan silently as she the tastes of cinnamon, apple, and honey came alive on her tongue.

Also Read: Why No Kids

“So, about the wardrobe, I was saying maybe we can use mirrors on the doors? I think it makes the room feel bigger.” He asked. 

“I like it, but I prefer to just use the wooden panel. I mean, don’t they look scary in the middle of the night? But it’s okay if you want to use the mirror,” I may have to close my eyes every night when I go to the bathroom, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Hadrian's eyes widened, as if a bulb had just switched inside his head. He smiled apologetically, “I’m sorry I forgot you get scared of mirrors in the dark. It’s no problem – we can just use wooden panels.”  

Her heart clenched, although their relationship was not easy, compromising was never difficult with him, because Hadrian never asked for more than what she was willing to give. But could they go on like this? Was it fair for both of them? What if what she asked of him later was not a compromise, but a sacrifice? The line between the two was so thin, she tended to mistake it. 

The thoughts pushed Mara to blurt out what she had been trying to hide for so long, “Do you still want to have a child?” 

He froze for a few seconds before asking her back with a voice so low, almost a whisper, “Don’t you?” 

“I know life is a blessing. But, Hadrian, we also know that sometimes it could be cruel. Even to children. I know we will try our best to protect them.” Of course they would, just like how her parents had tried. She reached out to him, interlacing their fingers together lightly, “But there are just so many things we can’t protect our children from, so many things out of our hands, so many things we can only leave to hope–

“And I don’t know if I can bear it.” Mara’s voice cracked; her hands gripped Hadrian’s tight. She was so, so, so scared. Scared of losing him, of losing their future, of her own inexplicable fear that drowned her.

A heavy silence hung around them, almost coiling around her neck. She didn’t know how long time had passed until Hadrian spoke. 

Also Read: To Have or Not Have a Baby

“I don’t really know why I want a child either. Is it because I love children? Or because I want to be a father? Or because a family with children is all I ever knew?” He gazed outside the window, “I don’t know. Not really.”

“I’m so, so, sorry that I didn’t tell you before. I thought it was just a phase, that I was just not ready,” Mara said, “But I don’t think this is a phase at all.”

He shook his head and looked at her, “I kept saying things about children; what we need for the first years of their life, the school that will be good for them, how we will bring them up. But I never asked you.” He stopped for a second before continuing, “I’m sorry I never asked you.”

It made her feel like crying, between happiness of him by her side, and the sadness of the distance that was still stretched between them. She briefly wondered, would they ever meet each other halfway? Or was a relationship always like this, trying to reach and sync with each other over and over again, because as humans, they were constantly changing?

“What should we do now?” she asked.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Hadrian answered

“I want to live with you,” God knew how she wanted badly to be with him, “But I don’t want you to give up on yourself and the life you want because of us either. I don’t want us to be trapped in a miserable marriage.”

“Thank you,” he whispered, while squeezing her hand lightly, “Don’t give up on yours too, okay?”

She squeezed his hand back and finally smiled, “Okay.”

“But maybe we should see first, where we really are, where does each of us want to go, and then maybe we can decide where we will go?”

She nodded, and her sight caught the apple pie, of which that they had only taken a few bite, “How about we finish this apple pie first?”

Hadrian’s eyes crinkled as he laughed, “Of course. Let’s start from there.”

They ate in a comfortable, but melancholic silence. Time moved slowly, much slower than before, knowing that the moment might be the last. She was still afraid of losing him and the future she always knew, still afraid to face the past she had run away from. There were still as many things she feared as before, but strangely, there was also relief. 

Perhaps it was because knowing whatever they chose later, they wouldn’t give up on their own self. Yes, they might lose each other, but at the very least, they would not lose themselves, all the things that made them who they were, all the things that made them fall in love with each other.

And so she hoped, for her and him. 

Tasya Taranusyura loves stories for they are tools that give her the possibility to see many different perspectives and find more than one way to live.