stories

The Fish - page 7

The wife said sharply, What for?
Well, you know, he isn't so good at expressing himself.
The young father could just picture the hotel lobby beginning to fill with incoming tourists and the boy wandering around, unable to decide who to go up and talk to.
If he's not good at expressing himself, you know who he takes after! the wife said, her eyes glinting with scorn.
With the other hand, the husband scratched violently at the forearm that was nearer to his wife. Even if the hotel people come, maybe they can't get into the river, unless they have boots or something.
I'm sure they have boots at the hotel.
Yeah, they must.
What's so funny?
Nothing.
The pair fell to waiting again. It was only about ten minutes, but to the wife it felt more like an hour. Every so often her eyes flared up, as if she'd suddenly remembered something. The spray of the current started to wash over the couple's bare feet. Nobody's going to come, the wife began to believe.
He hates us, you know, she said.
The husband looked at her, surprised. After a second he started laughing again. No way, he said, putting an arm around her shoulder. Don't be an idiot.
I am an idiot. The wife shook off his arm and turned toward him. That's right. I'm an idiot, that's it.
A fish darted by, grazing their feet. The wife didn't scream this time. She had turned her horror elsewhere now, maybe to avoid being scared of the fish.
He thinks we're both stupid and so we'd be better off dead, the wife continued. He's clever, see? And so he hates how stupid we are.
The husband and wife tried to turn away from each other but there wasn't quite enoughroom now to stand side by side so they just stayed as they were, looking each other in the face.
Well, if that's the case I guess it's pretty clear that nobody's coming, the husband started to say, hoping to convince her to cross, but one look at the hard line of her mouth and he fell silent.
The swarms of fish moving upstream at their feet looked easily capable of attacking a human being. We'll get bitten if we go in the water, the husband thought. He was sure of that. Suddenly the sands were covered over and they were standing in the river.
Well, this is it. There's nothing we can do now. We'll just have to die. I'm willing to die with you.
When her husband said have to die, the wife's shoulder jerked upward in a huge shudder.