This week’s photo prompt from Sue Vincent. Please note that the following story is a work of fiction.
Whenever I was having difficulty with kids at school or people at work, Grandma used to tell me that she had an arranged marriage with Grandpa.
She started with her wedding day – the first time she saw Grandpa. “I was unveiled, carefully. His face wasn’t special; he was anyone and everyone on the street. I kept repeating my father’s words, ‘He is from a good family and he will take care of you,’ veiling my desire to run back home to have mom’s spicy chicken dinner. I couldn’t run away.”
Right after the wedding, Grandma was escorted to Grandpa’s house and everyone in his family, and I mean everyone lived there. His grandparents were there, his parents, his brothers and sisters and their children, and pigs and chickens.
“The beginning of our marriage was aflame. We fought all the time about every thing. If there was a spot on the floor, he had to say something. If dinner was cold in winter, he had to say something. If I didn’t look perfect for a second, he had to say something. That fool couldn’t keep his mouth shut.”
She used to include stories about everyone and say that the pigs and chickens were the best behaved. It was not my place to ask how she handled it, or ask if she fought back, or ask questions like “did he ever hit you?” I was obedient, listening and nodding.
She skipped a lot of the daily struggles she faced and continued with the time that our first uncle got really sick. She always fought back tears and controlled the tremble in her voice. “It’s the hardest thing when your child is sick, because you don’t know what to do and always wish that you would be sick in their place. He got sick before and he always got better. The last time he got sick was the last time he got sick.”
“Grandpa was silent. I didn’t hear his footsteps anymore. The spot on the floor didn’t matter anymore. He didn’t eat for such a long time that his bones under his gray skin were showing.”
“I was silent, too. We laid on the bed with our backs facing each other. His mother beat me several times a day for staying in bed and not doing my duties. On many occasions, she beat me until the bed was soaked in blood. I didn’t care and I couldn’t be moved. When she had enough, she sent a messenger to the go-between to tell my family to take me back.”
It was years later when Grandma and Grandpa saw each other at the market. The feeling of devastation of first uncle’s death engulfed them both, but they gradually talked and became friends, and then became a couple again.
As I sit here beside you, looking at this sunset and thinking about how fiery their marriage was at the beginning, they eventually developed common ground, and now they’re spending time together in peace.
Thanks for reading.