Sunday’s Story

Image by justraveling from Pixabay

I went to the grocery store this morning. As I was pulling in the parking lot, I saw a woman sitting in the car next to me–she is crying while talking on the phone. I felt the urge to go comfort her, but I knew this couldn’t be done since she’s going to consider me harassing her. I wish she’s not an immigrant, but she mostly like is. Living in this area, the likelihood of being an immigrant is very high. There’s a reason why I don’t wish her to be an immigrant because immigrants face more emotional challenges when family members are not around, safety net is not very safe, friends and relatives are scattered farther away.

I forgot several items I was supposed to buy from the store since my mind continued to fix on the woman and not on the store shelves. She is probably breaking up with her boyfriend or she’s having a family fight. Or she’s going through a divorce, which is worse. There’s a reason why divorce rate is so low among immigrants–too many uncertainties in life that one wants to seek certainty as much as possible–a stable relationship is the best sign of assurance and security. People want to stay together in whatever way possible. Even in those cases when a couple is obviously no good for each other, they still stay together, each retreating to a corner to minimize the toxic interaction, each talking only out of necessity, each behaving carefully within the limits of daily ceremony.

Here are some of the stories I’ve witnessed, for which I have changed each character so much that it cannot be traced back to the person it is based on.

  • W and her husband M have to be placed in separate locations at any party to reduce the possibilities of the two starting a quarrel. M likes to talk and when the topic touches on food, politics, families, women, W just can’t sit still and listen. One would think W has developed the habit of listening and keeping her mouth shut after years of marriage, but that’s not the case. W will openly object to M’s stories. Then W and M would seek alliance around the table and ask other people to take sides, for which the pitfall is obvious–an expression of opinion, any opinion, is the surest way to offend either the husband or the wife. If one tries to stay neutral, one ends up offending both.
  • W is becoming an excellent detective. I think the police department should hire W to have a crack on some unsolved cases. She has been following her husband for years, poring on his phone record and credit card record, monitoring his car mileages, chatting with his coworkers, visiting his ex-girlfriends. If W has extra money, she will surely hire a private eye, but they have been struggling with their mortgage payment and there’s no money to spare. Whenever you meet W, she is fixated on the topic about her husband. If she inquires about a new app, she’s thinking of a way to track her husband; if she talks about a new TV show, it bounds to have a character or a relationship connecting to her husband; if she proposes a gathering or a trip, it must have a hidden agenda of monitoring her husband or disrupting her husband’s other plans.
  • W and M run a business together, but they dislike each other so much that any kind of interaction is an irritation. In their office, they try to stay in different rooms so that they would not bother each other. Still when M talks on the phone for too long, W can run to his room and yell at him for no reason. Or when W is dressed in a particular way to show her figure, M would grumble, “you look fat.” At home, their son often becomes their messenger. Sometimes even at the dinner table, W would say to her son, “tell your father he needs to do this and that today.” M hears the message. After a while, M would say to his son, “tell your mother she put too much vinegar in the egg drop soup.” And of course food has become W’s weapon to torture her husband, whose tolerance for sourness is much lower than W’s. Finally M threatens to order takeout or pizza, which will surely double their dinner budget–this cannot be allowed when their property tax and mortgage is so high. So W agrees to negotiate and they eventually come to a consensus that the vinegar should be reduced to a minimum during the cooking process.

37 thoughts on “Sunday’s Story

  1. My wife and I are often amused at how others interpret our interactions as more contentious or sad than they really are to us. I guess it is rude of us to make others uncomfortable with our bickering and bantering which is a sport of mental gymnastics with us.

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    1. Wow, you are right on the spot. That’s so true. I think you and your wife belong to those who can tease each other and be honest with each other. Yes, you are right. Those couples who are very cautious about how things should be may be critical of your mental gymnastics. LOL. I wish you go ahead and shock them.

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  2. You have described these marriage scenarios so well! I loved the canny observations as they are such accurate pen pictures of these knotty situations. Though it’s sad that things come to such a pass I can’t help smiling at your posts as I detect so much underlying humor in your style! You have a great knackπŸ™‚πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your praise. You made my day. And you are so keen in pointing this out–I try to be humorous about it. I am glad you see my effort. LOL. Wise women think alike. Hahaha. Love you and a lot of hugs. 😊🀣😍

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    1. That’s so true. I hear women talk, but usually the men’s story are not included. I know for a fact that women (or men) can exaggerate their suffering in a marriage and distort it out of proportion.

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  3. Ugh! It’s very unsettling to imagine the hell they must be living through. Somehow, I get the vibes that these two (W and M) are an Indian couple under an arranged marriage setting- there is a societal pressure to stay married and hence they live with each other although they can’t stand it. Either that, or the marriage was a mistake they made in their youth. The story about the woman in the supermarket is very sad. I loved how you wanted to show your empathy towards her and help her through it but restrained from it pragmatically. In that vulnerable state, she is prone to mistake your warmth for harassment.

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    1. Thank you for understanding. Yes, marriage can be a sad affair after a while when the economic pressure piles up. I think the woman usually carry a lot of burden of house chores, child bearing, child rearing. A lot of bitterness come from these burdens–after the initial years, it becomes very unpleasant. Modern women are unlike women of previous generation, which is why modern women are under even more pressure when their dreams are dashed. Life goes on and women have to stay strong, knowing how to take care of ourselves.

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  4. It’s really sad to be living in such restricted conditions. Mentally and physically. Trying to make relations work under financial pressures is very tough. Add infidelity and it’s a horrible, despairing scenario. Hope the suffering can end with brave decisions. πŸ™‚

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    1. LOL. Brave decisions are indeed needed, but most of our lives are governed by custom and fear. I grew up in a despairing environment of dysfunctional marriage. Though financially it’s fine, emotionally it was awful. Well, it all passed but I can feel the scars. Wish other people have better luck with emotional health.

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    1. LOL. Funny you should say that. I am wondering about the same thing. When I first knew them, they had already married. So I wouldn’t know why they did what they did. I guess when people are young, they are more good humored. Or probably it is an arranged marriage. I wish I could ask questions and know more about people’s love history–believe me, I am very curious. However I couldn’t do it since it was not considered polite. Unless they volunteer the information, I would never know.

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      1. Times like these I think about Indian marriages, many of them arranged, and Korean (and sometimes Chinese) marriages, many of them rushed and mainly because everyone else won’t stop bothering them about their love lives.

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        1. Yes, the social pressure is unbelievable. And a very strange thing is that women who have very bad marriages themselves are often the one who push their children very hard to get married. I guess these women just want their children to be as miserable as themselves–I hope there are other explanations. LOL.

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        2. I usually have better relationship with people who consider conformity as necessary evil–not the best people but still bearable. However for those people who enjoy conformity and want to push everybody else into conformity, I just try to stay as far away as possible. I know sometimes these people are unavoidable.

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  5. It is sad to read this and makes me sad. I know my ancestors are from all over the world. We are all immigrants in this Country. Perhaps native Americans are the ones who are truly from America. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. Sending you love. β€οΈπŸ€—πŸ˜˜Joni

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joni. It is always a pleasure to read your sweet comments. A lot of hugs and love for you too. i wish I can write it in a funny way, but I am still struggling to write better and don’t know how to achieve humor in a sad situation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t think you should have to make your comments happy or funny especially when they are not. There is also nothing wrong with your writing either. This is an issue with the United States. We are all immigrants except Native Americans. I am so sorry for the discrimination of you or any other ethnic group ever have to face, it is wrong, wrong wrong.

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        1. You are so welcome. Have an amazing day and I am sending you big hugs, I have been enjoying real hugs again which is so nice, I have missed that will people I care about. Love xoxoxo Joni

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