She Says And He Says Continued (Flash Fiction)

The first half of the story is here.

“I want Arju to work, of course, but you know Joa, it is not as simple as that. Life is more complicated. If Arju works, our family income will go to a higher tax bracket. I calculated that. You know I’m a financial analyst. We would end up with exactly the same after-tax money whether Arju works or not. So what’s the point? We talked about this? Arju, is that right? We talked about this. You totally agreed with me that it doesn’t make sense for you to work at all.” Moo says.

“That makes sense.” Joa says. “If Arju doesn’t work, you really need to be less stingy, Moo. Give her more money for cosmetics and clothes.”

“Arju, did you tell Joa that?” Moo asks.

“Yes, you were quite upset when you saw the balance of the bank account. Ever since then, I dare not use the bank card.” Arju says.

“That’s because you sent several thousand dollars to your sister and your mother overseas. And you didn’t tell me.” Moo says. “Also when did I object to you buying clothes?”

“You either pay no attention to my clothes or say something indifferent. You try to discourage me from buying clothes.” Arju says.

“That’s not true. However recently I do believe I was not in the best mood when you ask me clothing questions. It’s all because the quality of our dinner has decreased very much recently. Now I understand what’s going on. It’s because you work here every day. You use all your energy on waitressing and don’t focus on cooking the best dinner anymore. We used to have elaborate dinners with the best flavors, but now it is just barely eatable. And homemade tofu, rice wine, pickled radish, and soy yogurt have all but disappeared. Last week, we ate slow cooked stew for three consecutive days. That’s really an atrocity. You know I am not the best me whenever there’s no good food.” Moo says.

“Well, that’s negotiable.” Arju says, “certain conditions have to be met before I can be inspired to cook good food.

Arju and Moo smile at each other and they walk out of the restaurant together.

Here Joa talks with her husband Jinmu, “Goodness, when I heard Arju talk at first, I thought she’s dealing with a monster, but now I look at the two of them, Arju seems ok and she can handle him.”

“I really don’t understand women. How can Arju talk about her husband like that? I mean she’s portraying herself as a helpless victim under some terrible injustice.” Jinmu says.

“She is a victim. A lot of women are. Whenever a job has to be given up for the sake of the family, it is the woman’s job to be given up.” Joa says.

“Joa, let me tell you this. I will be very happy to give up my job here. I mean 12 hours a day, 364 days a year smelling the stir fry fume. It gets on my nerves. I would love to give up my job to stay home, letting my wife, you, work alone to support me.” Jinmu says.

“You are changing the topic. It’s a different issue here.” Joa says.

“How so?” Jinmu asks.

“Well, I don’t know. You somehow change the argument to something else. I don’t know how to answer your question, but you somehow change it to something else while making it looks like you haven’t changed it.” Joa says.

“I don’t understand what you are saying.” Jinmu says.

“Well, let’s just say somehow I feel that you and I have a better relationship than Moo and Arju. They are not straightforward with each other…” Joa says.

12 thoughts on “She Says And He Says Continued (Flash Fiction)

  1. I think this is a very realistic story since many couples struggle with working and in particular whether a woman should work or not. It’s quite difficult for women since they are judged whether they work or not. It’s sort of a lose-lose situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. Women are judged left and right. And often the possible path for women is so narrow and the pressure for women to conform to an impossible old custom is huge. There’s very little wriggle room, especially when one’s family is not on one’s side. This is why women have to experience more, read more, and think more to ward off all the wrong ideas coming our way.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, women’s life is too restricted. I mean even in modern times, when progress has been made, I feel that a lot is still there and it’s just people talk about it in a different ways.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. So true. Some things are still the same it’s just they’ve changed the way they judge women. They do it more subtly now but it’s still there.


  2. A fine tale regarding a topic most couples know well. In Australia, “invisible or unpaid work,” (domestic chores, looking after family, housework) is currently costed at $31.37 per hour (For me, my contribution to invisible work equates to about $40,000 a year. For my wife, it’s about $90,000 a year. In essence, it explains the sandwich generation where we look after both children and parents much longer than we used to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, so true. So true. I mean housework takes so much time. And we all want to do a good job of it and a good job will take even more time. It is a full time job to take care of a house, cook meals, and do all the shopping etc. Yes, so true. Nowadays people live up to their nineties and the care they need is ten years or in some cases twenty years longer than their parents. And yes, colleges are becoming so expensive right now that parents have to help pay for the tuition. So it is very bad for the generation that’s caught in between.


    1. Hmm… This might be personal differences or cultural differences. LOL. I remember when I was young, whenever my parents raised their voice to yell at each other, our neighbor would come knocking on our door. They would try to defuse the situation and talk the arguing couple into peace and contentment. Hahaha. Now looking back, I can see the neighbors really played a role in my parents’ marriage.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Great point. Thank you for your comment. I realized that I should make this a private conversation, which will make my point as well as preserving the dignity. The second part can be a private conversation.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I am interested to read whatever you have to say. However I understand that many people refrain from talking about their family and that’s perfectly understandable.

          Liked by 1 person

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