Once, there lived a married man who had stopped loving his wife. Returning home from work one day, he asked her for a divorce.
In reply, his wife wanted to know why he was asking for it. When the man responded only with silence, she was obviously very angry with him. The two of them didn’t speak a word to one another that night.
Although the husband had no words to express it, he fully knew the reasons behind his demand. For one thing, his case was not something very uncommon. He was in love with another woman and her name was Jane. That being the case, the love he had for his wife had turned into pity.
Such a pity found its expression in the terms of this man’s divorce settlement. He offered his wife not only the house but also their car and a 30% share of his business.
His wife, however, was not a person to accept these material things. Tearing the paper to pieces, she cried.
As for the man, this only strengthened his resolve to get his divorce. Also, at least as how he saw it: his love for Jane was forever more than the love for his wife.
A day after this, his wife came up with her terms for the divorce. She wanted none of the things her husband was offering. She had something else, something greater in her mind and she asked him for it. Only then would she sign the papers.
She drafted her demands and handed it to her husband. In her draft, she had asked for something extraordinary and it was to be a rather difficult test for her husband to pass.
In the month preceding their divorce, the wife demanded that the couple live as normally as they possibly could. She insisted that they do it, no matter how hard it was for them.
In fact, she demanded that her husband carry her in his arms from the bedroom to the front door, every day, while leaving for work. She wanted all of these so as to ensure that their son was not affected academically.
Pretty obviously, the husband was a bit taken aback. Nonetheless, wanting the divorce as much as he did, he agreed to the terms.
Initially, on day one, the couple was visibly clumsy in their act. Their son, however, was elated at the sight of his mother in his father’s arms.
After the act, the man went his way and he later visited Jane. On knowing the deal, Jane responded with scornful laughter. She also reminded the man that the divorce was anyway inevitable for his wife.
Yet, back home, things started getting a bit easier from day two onwards. The man even found it in himself to look at his wife’s face. Seeing all the wrinkles therein, he realized that she had, in fact, grown quite old. Momentarily, it even dawned upon him that he was also to be blamed for her stressful life.
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Within a week, the couple was beginning to regain their long-lost intimacy. Since the moment the divorce was brought up, the couple had stopped making any bodily contacts, apart from the daily carrying act.
Although quite unlike himself in the recent context, the man didn’t feel the need to convey this growing intimacy to Jane.
In this way, time flew by and days turned into weeks. One morning, quite suddenly, the husband caught sight of his wife’s frail appearance while she was dressing up. She even put her arms around his neck, as she had done at their wedding.
At the end of the month, the man didn’t find any strength to move. He confessed to his wife that he had overlooked the lack of intimacy in their life.
Their marriage was failing apart, not because there wasn’t any love, but because he had ignored their life’s subtle details.
He realized his love for his wife and rushed to Jane to tell her that the divorce wasn’t going to happen.
After Jane rebuked him and sent him away, he bought a bouquet for his wife in the evening. He also put in a message that, now, only death could part them.
Maybe things would have been different, if only he knew what awaited him back home.
Returning home, he realized that his wife had succumbed to cancer that was gnawing at her for quite a while. She was found dead on the bed and his message had attained a literal truth.
Knowing that she wouldn’t live much longer, she didn’t want her son to think badly of her husband.
That’s how the story ends or maybe it goes on. It tells us that, in life, material things matter much less than true care and love.
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