A Depressing Short Story about a Selfish Woman and an Uncaring Man
Sally was drunk again. She had to hide the bottle from her husband, who was asleep in the next room. It hadn’t always been like this. Not very long ago she had been a normal person. But now all she felt were feelings of remorse and regret. The more he told her not to drink, the more she felt the need to disobey him. “Who did he think he was, my father?” Sally would tell herself.
The room swayed and the light outside surged a bleary white. Leaves on the trees blending into each other. Sally drank because she hated him. Hated the man he was. Hated him for not loving her more. She hated him for being imperfect and for realising her own imperfections.
Yesterday they had a fight. For the first time in over a year he said he would take her to lunch and pay for it too. Sally had not even had that treatment on her birthday. He took her to a cheap Chinese restaurant; all the tables were empty and he spoke in the most imposing, racist and irritating tones to the waiter, who was just as local as they were. Her husband’s voice made her shudder.
By the time their meals arrived things had soured between them. He started to tell her all about this girl he used to know. “She was oh-so pretty and oh-so-sexy” and Sally was getting angry. Her husband had not made love to her for over a week now. He punished her in this way when she had been ‘bad’ by sleeping on the couch and telling her that he couldn’t stand to be near her. The longer the days of no-contact ran, the worse Sally’s mood got and the more he started to talk about other girls.
And she told him so.
He shot back at her, telling her to shut up and eat her lunch, the lunch he was buying for her. His lack of sympathy made her feel angry. He wasn’t listening. He kept on going, telling her she was always like this, so jealous, so unreasonable. He was making her so mad…
Sally tried to take a deep breath.
She tried to calm herself down.
She tried to talk and he interrupted her again. Sally became so frustrated that she slammed her chopsticks down on the plate and she fled out the door. Walking a few paces away from the restaurant, she realised that she didn’t have the keys to the apartment, so she had to go back – and grovel for them. When she got to the restaurant and looked at her plate, she noticed that her chopsticks had broken. They had snapped perfectly in half on the plate, leaving everything else in perfect order, the plate totally unchipped and the food not even spilled. “There must have been a weak point” she thought to herself.
All things have a weak point.
He leapt to his feet and paid the bill, with Sally looking sheepish behind him in the empty restaurant. Sally asked for the keys to the apartment and instead of giving them to her, he started to run up the street, away from her. Sally yelled for him to “Come back, come back!” in the crowded street but he had gone. And she was embarrassed. She walked home alone. She don’t know how she’d get in.
And they tried to have a nice day together. But the hurt and the pain between them was too great. The pain could not be stopped.
So today Sally has been drinking. Tomorrow she will do the same. He won’t leave, he won’t love her. He just remains in limbo, here in this stuffy, dark apartment. Sometimes Sally thinks about killing herself. But she knows that it wouldn’t do any good.