The 16th Thread: a scandalous couple

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Yes, they were happy, why do you ask? My father spoiled my mother while you could hardly have called her a beauty, all yellow and skinny. My grandmother protected the best she could our reputation which my parents had little interest in. She waited on the doorstep for my mother to return to our quarters:
– You were out together again! This is not how a woman and her husband behave. The whole town is talking about it. My cousins visit, my nieces, my brother’s sister-in-law, and I, ears throbbing with shame, have to listen to their ironic comments.
– I do as my husband tells me, mother. Would you want me to disobey him?
– There are ways, as all women know. You are compromising your daughter’s chances to get married. Do you think of her? You bring shame on us, and only care about yourselves. Where have you been this time?
– At a friend’s of my husband.
– A man?
– Yes.
– From bad to worse.
– If we do not talk, mother, very few people will know.
Socrate-tête-head-fil– That’s likely! His friend the orator?
– He’s not an orator.
– What is he, a procurator?!
– Exactly.
My mother pushed her way by Grandmother who kept on trying to reason with her. She joined me at the loom, but I ignored her. Despite leaning together over our work, as we are now, you and I, we were not close. She spit out, her hands shaking with fury:
– I’ll ask your father to send her to my sister’s. I can not endure her reproaches anymore. What insolence! Blaming the conduct of her son-in-law who fulfills all her desires, while others treat their mother-in-law like a servant. She will see how my sister’s husband will order her about. And your father and I will continue to live our lives as we see fit. I wish you a husband as good as mine. They are rare. Generally, if they pay attention to their wives early on, they abandon them once the succession is guaranteed. Males. Because I lead a privileged life, that harpy is jealous! I would be bored to death if I spent my days at the loom, managing the house servants the way she would have me!
I did not bother to answer.
When my father arrived, she regained her cheerfulness immediately. He would whisk her off. To our farm, to market, to the port. At dawn, before my father received his stewards, they would flee together to watch the fishermen bring their boats back, to buy their fish, as only the poor do.O-Keefe-shells:coquillages-feministes-fil I would hear them when they returned, laughing, kissing even. They went to the kitchen and then to their rooms. The servants, their faces twisted with malice, made  bawdy jokes behind their back, thinking I would not understand. All their life, my father and mother persisted with this unseemly intimacy. Oh no. Here comes your father’s cousin. Let us work. If she addresses you, try to answer her courteously, I beg you, she will not stand any straying  from tradition, what a bore!Y-Kusama-Everything-About-My-Love:Motifs-du-monde

 

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Showing 6 comments
  • Denise Goins
    Reply

    Great story telling. Family tales never disappoint. Keep ’em coming.

  • sonia Hu
    Reply

    Awesome Article! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • no name
    Reply

    Hutter is inventing a form as she goes along. Read and reread one, twisting the thread around your finger till you feel the pulse of it. Read them all in one go, and catch the float of a shawl settling over your bare shoulders. No sentimentality with the beauty, Hutter’s sensibility if far too prickly for Hallmark card moments. The barbs cut, the laments keen, but the song is sung. Be back for more.

    • Arabella Hutter
      Reply

      Very interesting comment. It’s rewarding to see the various reactions to my writing.

  • Ainslie Binder
    Reply

    Fascinating, Arabella! Thanks so much for sharing!

    -Ainslie

    • Arabella Hutter
      Reply

      Thank you! While quite a challenge, I’ve been enjoying writing these!

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