Dear Josephine Humphreys,
Reading your novel excerpt brought me an image of a woman who is being used by her husband and doing nothing about it, except maybe taking it out on herself. I could see her laying in bed with her eyes closed, pretending she was asleep, as she listened to him dress and leave, and sometimes, when it was safe, opening her eyes, but not moving, or speaking, or anything, just listening and thinking. What pain this woman must be in to just lifelessly let her heart just slip away. It certainly must be routine, if she doesn’t move because she knows where he’s going. I have been in this situation with fiances, who were seeing my best friends. When you know there’s no proof and there’s nothing you can really do, you know you’re wasting your energy, energy you need to survive with while waiting on him to change, but knowing he will never change. I must let you know I feel for this woman, am angry at this woman, and understand this woman. I could defend her actions.
I sympathize with the woman when “she marvels at the single,” thinking of how “their bodies and clothing and cars are bright” and “they don’t have husbands in love with single girls.” and not only that, she is haunted by Claire, “the girl… who is lovely, whose teeth… eyelashes and hair shine,” and is “energetic.” It’s so easy to be intimidated by youth, beauty, and life, even when you have your own great qualities. This wife has every reason to feel down, but at the same time should at least defend herself. She does have the husband still in her house, her bed, her life, and the life of the children they conceived together. The mistress, Claire, has a job and great sex, that’s not a lot. That’s nothing compared to what the wife has. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it is to never let anyone take me down, especially someone who is intentionally hurting me. That is what Claire is doing, and giving up gives Claire an edge over the wife with insecurity, an edge that even the husband hasn’t given Claire because he’s still living at home with the wife and kids.
What surprised me at one point, was Will’s’ mother, Marcella. She knew, but didn’t confront her son. She even told the daughter-in-law first, as well as withheld it from her son that she knew, and that she told Alice. Usually, it is the precious momma’s boy that is confronted, to see if it’s a fling, if it’s trash, if she’s better than what he already has, or to simply find out just what’s going on. If the mother-in-law likes the wife, she usually doesn’t tell her (the wife) in hopes the couple will work it out, so the wife won’t leave. If she doesn’t, she usually keeps it to herself to give her son the room and freedom to play, to maybe fall in love again, get the mistress pregnant, or maybe to know something that her daughter-in-law doesn’t know about the husband, something that would only hurt the wife even more while the mother-in-law smiled. It was comforting to see this mother-in-law was honest with her daughter-in-law for good reasons, and trying to help her with encouragement.
This can be a major reason education is so important for a woman or a man. Though society paints a perfect picture of the “perfect marriage,” the “perfect family,” and the “American dream,” life teaches us reality, that there is no guarantee for no one man, woman, marriage, family, or soul. It is an education that gives us our skills and knowledge, as well as our personal growth, to support ourselves, so that we can survive the loss of our other half (our husband), our children, our lives (though we still have a whole new one waiting.) Education can be the key to getting past the heartache, helping pass the time, learning to start again, to rebuild, and to succeed. We can be shown we can make it on our own, that we have a lot offer us, not pain. This is something we can educate our children with as I do my son Anthoni.
I truly enjoyed your story and in the future would like to finish reading your novel, simply to see what happens, and how everyone feels when all is said and done. Compelling and enchanting, I am thoroughly moved by this simple small piece. It is an universal issue that all women, and yes, some men can relate to, being betrayed, by someone you love, someone you trust, and someone you gave your life to. May your days be filled with God, love, and beauty, and just in case this is a true story, if he (the husband) leaves, he’s an idiot, and you’re better off. You deserve better. If he stays, I told you, the mistress has nothing until he leaves. That is why he doesn’t leave because he knows she has nothing. Either way, you’re still a great woman regardless of what a man does to you. It doesn’t take a man to make you who you are, it only takes you. Only you can make it happen. Believe in yourself!
Thoughtfully and Sincerely Yours,
Written by Gail Brookshire
Inspiration: Eng152 D1 Taught by L.J.