Short Story Callus Written By Janet Tay Hui Ching
this story is only education purpose
Some people don t find it easy to talk about their feelings. If they have never talked about them, it can be hard to begin. And year after year, it gets harder and harder – just like a callus on the skin.
A wife watches while her husband packs his suitcase. A great change is coming into their lives, but maybe it is easier to talk about the suitcase…
She watched him pack his clothes and his wedding suit into his old suitcase. She could smell his cologne. When did he last wear cologne? Ah, at their wedding. It smelt strange then too. She never wore perfume. What use was perfume to a working woman like her? And married women who wear perfume are looking for lovers, trying to catch other men. That’s what people say. She already had a good, hardworking husband with a shop of his own. What more can a woman want?
She began to feel better now, thinking about her good luck.
Lost in her thoughts, she jumped at the sound of the suitcase shutting. His eyes went slowly round the room, looking for – what? She looked up at him.
‘I put out all the clothes that you need,’ she said. ‘And you can’t get any more in. It’s a small suitcase.’
He looked at her for a moment. A Chinese girl like any other Chinese girl – small eyes, flat nose, smooth pale skin, and long straight hair, now pinned up tidily, in the way of married Chinese ladies. She wore her usual light blue samfoo. No, she was not a beauty, he thought, but she was a hard worker. His family was right when they said to him, ‘She will make a very good wife, work hard for you, give you many sons.’
And it was true. He never had to complain about her, not once, from the day, they married and moved into their new home, with his future in the same suitcase. Her face was the same now, as it was then, neither soft nor hard, never showing what she felt or needed. He didn’t know what she needed. And he never asked.
‘It’s a good suitcase. It’s lasted a long time,’ he said.
‘Yes, I suppose. But it’s still small.’
She got up from the bed and shook the pillows. They needed washing, she thought. Yes, wash it away, the dust and dirt of yesterday. Their past-married life together. In the future, nothing would ever be the same again.
‘It’s enough,’ he said. ‘I don’t have so many things to put in it.’ He put the suitcase on the floor, ready to go.
She looked at him, still smelling his cologne. Maybe it was the cologne that was making her feel afraid. She had to talk to him, tell him about her feelings. But she was a hard-working Chinese woman… and hard-working Chinese women must not have feelings.
watch this video Short Story Callus By Janet Tay Hui Ching with Urdu translation
‘Is she waiting for you there?’ she asked slowly.
‘You mean the hotel?’
‘Yes. I suppose the ceremony starts soon?’
She picked up one of the pillows and took off its cover. Yes, it needed washing. She wanted to get hold of him and shake him, scream and shout, and fall on her knees in front of him, crying ‘No, no, please stay, don’t go. I’ll be a better wife. I’ll work harder. I’ll work as hard as two wives.’ But she just stood there, saying nothing, doing nothing, her face showing nothing.
‘I suppose,’ he said.
‘You’ll be back in two days?’
He didn’t want to talk about her feelings. She never did before. But then it wasn’t every day that your husband brought home a new wife. A younger wife. Only nineteen. And beautiful because she was young and happy, and had big dark brown eyes – bright eyes. He only saw her once before he decided, but he remembered her eyes. It would be good to add her to the family, he thought. Now he would have two hard-working wives, one stronger than the other, but the young one would be like a new flower in the house. He picked up his suitcase.
‘Yes, perhaps sooner. I don’t know,’ he said.
‘I’ll take care of the shop,’ she said. ‘When you come back… with her… I’ll have some jobs for her to do.’
She sat on the bed again, suddenly feeling tired and old. He didn’t understand. No one understood. She couldn’t ask him not to go. People would say that she was wrong even to ask him.
‘Of course,’ he said. He was pleased that she thought of business. Business was important. He had many mouths to feed. He opened the door and turned to her.
‘Today is a great day for our family. Not everyone is rich enough to have two wives. And there will be more sons to continue the family name.’ He smiled at her.
‘Yes. Not everyone… Husband?’ She looked up at him, waiting, hoping.
‘I have to go now. I’m late.’ He did not want her to say anything. He never asked questions about her feelings because he was afraid of the answers. It was easier to pretend that she was happy all the time.
‘Your suitcase. It’s old. You need a new one.’
Thankfully, he turned away. No questions asked, no answers needed.
‘Perhaps I will get a new one after all,’ he said. He left the room and the door closed quietly behind him.
- THE END –
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