The Fisherman and His Wife

I paced about anxiously as I waited for his return. How am I going to tell him the news? How would he react? What would he have to say? These thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to figure out a way to break the news gently to him. My husband was not known for being the most complacent person in our village. His terrible fits of anger had the tendency to bring a few of our neighbors to our doorstep a few times too many. Yet, when he was not so temperamental, he was a loving husband and he did take good care of me.

He is an extremely hard-working man and he does try his level best to maintain our household, but regardless of that, his constant absence will continue to be a strain on our marriage. He spent most of his time at sea, engaged in an occupation that was extremely dangerous, so that he could have the money to run our household. There are times when I do not see him for days and weeks at a stretch but I am expected to come to terms with this and be the “dutiful wife” that I am expected to be. There are times when I wonder why my parents forced me into such a marriage, a marriage in which they knew I would be lonely in.

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Perhaps if I had not listened to the elders I might have not been in such a situation, standing here, waiting for my husband to return after being away for four days. All at once I heard a knock on the door. “Is anybody home? ” I heard my husband call out. The familiarity of his voice sent a resonating feeling of fear throughout my entire body. I was clearly not prepared to face him but I had no choice but to do so. “I’m in here! I was preparing some food for dinner” I said, walking towards him to greet him. The last of four days had clearly not been kind to him.

He looked even more worn out and tired than before, which I had not thought possible. Yet, as soon as he saw me, his whole face lit up and he at once embraced me. This man, beneath his “tough guy” facade, was actually a loving husband and it was heartbreaking to think about what he would do when I told him my news. “How has everything been? Did Amma come and visit? What about aiya”? He asked, as he sat down on the small wooden bench in front of the hearth. “Aiya came yesterday with some prepared lunch but Amma didn’t” I replied, anxious to tell him the news I had been waiting deliver since the time I found out. Dear, I have something to tell you but please don’t react badly to it. ” I said, my voice shaking. At once, his eyes narrowed and he stood up. “What is it, tell me at once” he said, a hint of anger creeping into his voice. My whole body started trembling as I started to tell him what it was. “I’m pregnant” I said, staring at the floor. There was silence for some time. I did not want to look up and see the disappointment on his face. After sometime he spoke up, “This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time! I’m so happy! ” he said, sounding gleeful.

I looked up to see him approaching me but before he could, I spoke up again. “It’s not your child Kamal; I’m not with your child. ” I said, tears pouring down my face. The look of disappointment on his face was the heart wrenching but the least he deserved was to know the truth. His face crumpled as he asked me, “who’s child is it Sithara?! Tell me at once! ” Beneath all that anger, the pain and feeling of betrayal was clearly evident. “Who else would it be other than the person who visits ever so often, bringing me lunch? ” I replied, turning around and running to the room with tears streaming down my face.

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