Inspired by Brigitte, here is my take on her prompt–to be written in 20 minutes. I took 22, then two hours and a call to Apple on how to cut and paste into WP–about a couple possibly facing divorce. Feel free to comment!
by the time jonny mcphearson’s sister, rose, had given birth to sudi, he was in the middle of his third marriage. from the looks of things, this one was going the same route as the other two–women worn out far too early in life by pregnancies, running a house alone, helping to run a farm. their lives consisted of children, chores, canning, cleaning and cooking. up at 4am, in bed at midnight…even a strong man would eventually be worked to death. jonny didn’t marry strong women–he preferred his wives to be delicate and have the first markings of womanhood upon them. he courted and married girls–even in a time of young marriages, his were frowned upon by many.
he’d go to the city to find a new wife when it became too much to care for all himself, when his sisters and mother told him they had their own to deal with, and it was up to him to take care of his situation. he’d leave for a month or two, leaving his children behind with this sister or that cousin, taking work in a factory, offering himself up as a farm boy yearning to go back home where the air was good and the soil was rich and with the right woman by his side, he’d prosper. he unerringly knew the young girls who didn’t want the life of a factory workers wife, of breathing in the smoke of the mills, knowing their water would never lose its taste of chemicals. they saw the picture he painted with veils over their common sense, and he inevitably found himself with more than one to choose from to become mrs. jonny mcphearson. he tested the financial waters of their various families, and took to wife the one who had an advantageous dowry, even though, as with his second wife, it was nothing more than a house full of furniture. it was far, far better than what he had at home.
the wife picked, the family bedazzled with their daughter’s good fortune–not only a handsome man from a large family whose farms joined his in a circle around the one owned by his parents, but, a good christian man who had come to the city to work, and, with good fortune, found happiness with their little girl. no, they hadn’t planned on her getting married so soon, still, he treated her like a princess and promised she could come home every other month for a weekend. she’d bring back fresh farm milk and eggs and produce, all held in her arms plumped by good food and good air, eyes and skin glowing. he swore he’d not get her with child for a few years, to allow her time to grow into the idea of being a wife, much less a mother. he did not mention he’d been married before, nor did he mention he had children at home, children who were in dire need of everything. he kept this nugget of his life tucked away in his pocket, preferring to have his honeymoon before reality returned.
he’d arrive, usually in the late afternoon, his new bride by his side, she’d be blushing, holding back a bit out of the knowledge all these people knew what the two of them had done the night before, a bit out of fear of the large group gathered, a bit out of confusion when she heard the voices calling out “daddy!” as they ran to her husband, a man she’d thought childless. there was no going back, only steps into a future exactly like the one she’d hoped to avoid–married young, burdened with children and a house and the knowledge that it would never be more, and more likely be less. she felt the joy of what she’d hoped for in life drop away, felt her shoulders bow under what was to be, felt the knowledge this was going to be the first of many lies from her husband…and she understood her life would never be her own as long as she stayed. eyes narrowed, mouth set in a line, she thrummed with the need to find her way out, any way she could, be it running away, divorce or death. and she had no intention of that death being hers. She lifted her chin, widened her smile, waved and laughed.
she was ready to play his game.