And surely, somewhere, somewhere there are women who do not have a compulsion to die before their time, there are wives more faithful than mine, wives who make a fight against the illness, who forestall the end, who do not abandon their men. For if we are to be looking to the future, we must keep attached to each other--it is a promise made at the wedding, an agreement to resist such obstructions as death.
I am faithful to my vows. See how it is not the husband who permitted himself to be eaten by disease, it is not the husband who closed his eyes and retreated into the walnut casket the size of our Frigidaire. It is the wife. She has been taken by the blight, the plague, the Ice, she has been packed into the crate. I tell you if I had a suspicion that the wife would take such sudden leave, I would have prohibited our union, I would have found for my mate a delicious doe without a weakness in her bones, a wife who would not betray the wedding trust, for there is nothing to compare with the sinking heart in a man married fifty-three years as he approaches his empty home. There is only blackness behind the windows, only a vacancy inside, no one to greet me after a walk such as I have taken from the gentle slope of the cemetery hill where they carry on with the service.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Noted: Joanna Scott
Looking through my papers, I come across the following, from Joanna Scott's fine first novel, Fading, My Parmacheene Belle: