On my wedding day, I carried my wife in my arms. The bridal car stopped in front of our one room flat. My buddies insisted that I carry her out of the car in my arms. So I carried her into our home. She was then plump and shy. I was a strong and happy bridegroom.
This was the scene 10 years ago.
The following days were as simple as a cup of pure water: we had a kid; I went into business and tried to make more money. When the assets were steadily increasing, the affection between us seemed to ebb. She was a civil servant. Every morning we left home together and got home almost at the same time. Our kid was studying in a boarding school.
Our marriage life seemed to be enviably happy. But the calm life was more likely to be affected by unpredictable changes.
Dew came into my life.
It was a sunny day. I stood on a spacious balcony. Dew hugged me from behind. My heart once again was immersed in her stream of love. This was the apartment I bought for her. Dew said, “you are the kind of man who best draws girls eyeballs”. Her words suddenly reminded me of my wife. When we were just married, my wife said, “men like you, once successful, will be very attractive to girls”. Thinking of this, I became somewhat hesitant. I knew I had betrayed my wife. But I couldn’t help doing so.
I moved Dew’s hands aside and said, “you go to select some furniture, O.K.? I’ve got something to do in the company”. Obviously she was unhappy because I had promised to do it together with her. At the moment, the idea of divorce became clearer in my mind although it used to be something impossible to me.
However, I found it rather difficult to tell my wife about it. No matter how mildly I mentioned it to her, she would be deeply hurt. Honestly, she was a good wife. Every evening she was busy preparing dinner. I was sitting in front of the TV. The dinner was ready soon. Then we watched TV together. Or, I was lounging before the computer, visualizing Dew’s body. This was the means of my entertainment.
One day I said to her in a slightly joking way, “suppose we divorce, what will you do?”. She stared at me for a few seconds without a word. Apparently she believed that divorce was something too far away from her. I couldn’t imagine how she would react once she got to know I was serious.
When my wife went to my office, Dew had just stepped out. Almost all the staff looked at my wife with a sympathetic eye and tried to hide something while talking to her. She seemed to have got some hint. She gently smiled at my subordinates. But I read some hurt in her eyes.
Once again, Dew said to me, “He Ning, divorce her, O.K.? Then we live together”. I nodded. I knew I could not hesitate any more.
When my wife served the last dish, I held her hand. “I’ve got something to tell you”, I said. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the serious topic calmly.
She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, “why?”. I’m serious. I avoided her question. This so-called answer made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, “you are not a man!”.
That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer, because my heart had gone to Dew.
With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. I felt a pain in my heart. The woman who had been living ten years with me would become a stranger one day. But I could not take back what I had said.
Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer.
Late that night, I came back home after entertaining my clients. I saw her writing something at the table. I fall asleep fast. When I woke up, I found she was still there. I turned over and was asleep again. She brought up her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but I was supposed to give her one month’s time before divorce, and in the month’s time we must live as normal a life as possible. Her reason was simple: our son would finish his summer vacation a month later and she didn’t want him to see our marriage was broken.
She passed me the agreement she drafted, and then asked me, “He Ning, do you still remember how I entered our bridal room on the wedding day?”. This question suddenly brought back all those wonderful memories to me. I nodded and said, “I remember”. “You carried me in your arms”, she continued, “so, I have a requirement, that is, you carry me out in your arms on the day when we divorce. From now to the end of this month, you must carry me out from the bedroom to the door every morning”.
I accepted with a smile. I knew she missed those sweet days and wished to end her marriage romantically.
I told Dew about my wife s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. “No matter what tricks she does, she has to face the result of divorce”, she said scornfully. Her words more or less made me feel uncomfortable.
My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. We even treated each other as a stranger. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, “daddy is holding mummy in his arms”. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly, “let us start from today, don’t tell our son”. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for a bus, I drove to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. We were so close that I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this intimate woman carefully for a long time. I found she was not young any more. There were some fine wrinkles on her face.
On the third day, she whispered to me, “the outside garden is being demolished. Be careful when you pass there”.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I seemed to feel that we were still an intimate couple and I was holding my sweetheart in my arms. The visualization of Dew became vague.
On the fifth and sixth day, she kept reminding me something, such as, “where she put the ironed shirts”, “I should be careful while cooking”, etc. I nodded. The sense of intimacy was even stronger. I didn’t tell Dew about this.
I felt it was easier to carry her. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger. I said to her, “it seems not difficult to carry you now”. She was picking her dresses. I was waiting to carry her out. She tried quite a few but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, “all my dresses have grown bigger”. I smiled. But I suddenly realized that it was because she was thinner that I could carry her more easily, not because I was stronger. I knew she had buried all the bitterness in her heart. Again, I felt a sense of pain. Subconsciously, I reached out a hand to touch her head.
Our son came in at the moment. “Dad, it’s time to carry mum out”, he said. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had been an essential part of his life. She gestured our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face because I was afraid I would change my mind at the last minute. I held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly, as if we came back to our wedding day. But her much lighter weight made me sad.
On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. She said, “actually I hope you will hold me in your arms until we are old”.
I held her tightly and said, “both you and I didn’t notice that our life lacked intimacy”.
I jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my decision. I walked upstairs. Dew opened the door. I said to her, “sorry, Dew, I won’t divorce. I’m serious”.
She looked at me, astonished. Then she touched my forehead. “You got no fever”, she said. I moved her hand off my head. “Sorry, Dew”, I said, “I can only say sorry to you, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of life, not because we didn’t love each other any more. Now I understand that since I carried her into the home, she gave birth to our child, I am supposed to hold her until I am old. So I have to say sorry to you”.
Dew seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove to the office.
When I passed the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet for my wife which was her favorite. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, ‘I’ll carry you out every morning until we are old’.