The Heart is Large Enough

Irene

creative partner Julia Pascal

reader Amanda Maud

A woman once told me the most difficult relationship in life is between husband and wife. I was younger when she told me this. Now I am married with a child, I understand it.

Nobody knew that I was depressed when the child was inside me.  My husband was drinking all the time. And smoking. He hit me. He screamed at me. And afterwards, I was depressed. When the boy was born. Nobody knew. How could they. I could not say it. In my culture you don’t talk about your feelings.

I had a child. That was my purpose for my mother-in -law. Every day she says, ‘It’s time you had baby. Why no baby? I want to be grandmother.’ She was part of the One Child Policy in China. Was there another child before my husband, her son? Perhaps a girl? Aborted? 

Now I have a boy, she is happy. She takes care of him.

I am going to divorce my husband. He puts his hands around my throat to strangle me. I took a photo of the red marks on my neck. I could tell the police. But in my culture you don’t talk about such things. You don’t go to the police. 

Once I saw my father-in-law with a mark on his head. My mother-in-law had hit him. He is a quiet man. He says nothing.

When my husband was violent, I left the house. I was going to run away with my son but his temperature was high and they stopped me. A cheap hotel on my own for three days. But they found me. They tell me, ‘You are not a good mother. You do not respect our son, he is your husband, you must obey him.’

It’s also about money. I was taking out a loan to help my brother and they stopped me. Because I did not ask my husband’s permission. Don’t they know that in this country a woman does not need her husband’s permission for a loan. 

I went back to work and he calls me all the time. ‘Where are you? What are you doing?’ After that, I told him that I was at work and do not contact me or disturb me.

When I left in the building last night, he came out which was out of my plan. And he talked to me gently and nicely. He said to me that he wasn’t eating for a day. So, we go to the nearest restaurant for a quick dinner. 

So, he is now talking sweet and sending videos of our son to me. He is using kind words, soft tactics and melts my heart.

For two weeks it has been peaceful. He wants another baby and I said no, one is enough. What will happen with me if another child comes? I feel so ordinary. How can I have ended up so ordinary?  I cannot leave my son without a mother. I am trapped.

I used to like a Chinese motto – There are three different ways to interpret it in English. The performance stage lies in your heart. The performance stage extends as far as the heart goes. If your heart is large enough, so is your stage.

Irene

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