stories

Standing Woman - Chapter 2 - page 4

"So please don't bring me food." She stared at me. "Please forget about me. I think, certainly, even without making any particular effort, I'm going to forget about you. I'm happy that you come to see me, but then the sadness drags on that much longer. For both of us."
"Of course you're right, but...." Despising this self that could do nothing for his own wife, I hung my head again. "But I won't forget you." I nodded. The tears came. "I won't forget. Ever."
When I raised my head and looked at her again, she was gazing steadily at me with eyes that had lost a little of their luster, her whole face beaming in a faint smile like a carved image of Buddha. It was the first time I had ever seen her smile like that.
I felt I was having a nightmare. Could it be this thing had already ceased to be my wife?
The suit she had been wearing when she was arrested had become terribly dirty and wrinkled. But of course I wouldn't be allowed to bring a change of clothes. My eyes rested on a dark stain on her skirt.
"Is that blood? What happened?"
"Oh, this," she spoke falteringly, looking down at her skirt in confusion. "Last night two drunks played a prank on me."
"The bastards!" I felt a furious rags at their inhumanity. Of course, if you put it to them, they would doubtless say that since my wife was no longer human, it didn't matter what they did.
"They can't do that kind of thing! It's against the law!" "That's right. But I can hardly appeal." And of course I couldn't go to the police and appeal, either. If I did, I'd be looked on as even more of a problem person.
"The bastards! What did they...." I bit my lip. My heart hurt enough to break. "Did it bleed a lot?"
"Mmm, a little."
"Does it hurt?"
"It doesn't hurt anymore."
Michiko, she who had been so proud, now allowed just a trace of sadness in her face. I was shocked by the change in her. A group of young men and women, penetratingly comparing me and my wife, passed behind me.
"You'll be seen," my wife said anxiously. "I beg of you, don't have throw yourself away."
"Don't worry." I smiled thinly for her in self-contempt. "I don't have the courage."
"You should go now."