As published on December 18, 2015.
At the foot of a snow covered mountain was a small hut made of wood. Smoke rose from its chimney. The fire cast a yellow flickering glow through its windows.
Inside a lady is pacing. Water is kept for boiling on the stove. “Is the water ready?”, comes a man’s angry shout from the hall. The lady frets around scared, walking from the stove to the door and back. “Eh. It is almost ready”, she calls out to the hall. “Can’t you even do this properly!”, comes the angry voice again. She walks in circles, each time looking into the water on the stove.
She stops her pacing as the water starts to boil. Without thinking, she tries to lift the bowl with her hand. She retracts quickly, her hand burning from the hot bowl. Not paying attention to the burnt hands, she grabs a cloth and lifts the hot bowl and leaves the room with it.
In the hall is a man seated on a chair, covered with thick woolen shawls. His legs are in a bowl. The lady walks into the hall. “Here is the water”, and she pours the water into the bowl with his legs. He screams and lifts his legs out of the bowl, “Are you trying to kill me!”. “I am sorry, I am sorry. Is it too hot?” she asks him, kneeling, checking the water. “I said warm, not boiling” he growls. “I am sorry, I am sorry. I will mix some cold water with it.” She runs back into the kitchen. The man slowly puts his one toe into the water, and retracts it. The lady comes and pours water into the bowl. She checks the temperature with her fingers. “It is okay now.” She takes his legs and slowly dips them into the bowl. He relaxes back into the chair. Seeing this her expression too relaxes a bit. She leans onto the chair, rubbing his legs.
Time passes by and she dozes off. So does he. After sometime the man wakes up, lifting his leg. This awakens her as well. “What are you doing. The water has become ice cold. Get up! You good for nothing girl”. He stands and walks off into the bedroom. She still sits on the floor, head down. She wipes her eyes, lifts the bowl and leaves for the kitchen.
She cleans the kitchen, restoring all the plates and utensils to their proper places. She switches off the light. She walks into the hall, picks up the newspaper on the floor, replaces the chair, on which he was sitting, back to face the other chair, around the small round table. She pokes the fireplace, puts in some new logs, switches off the light and goes into the bedroom.
He is already on the bed, under the blanket, the lights still on. He appears to be asleep. She glances at him, his open mouth and goes into the bathroom. She comes out in a night dress. She switches off the light. She crawls under the blanket, at the end away from him. She leaves the bedside lamp on. Only her face is visible out of the blanket. She stares into the light from the bedside lamp. A blank expression on her face.
Her face suddenly appears frightened. Her eyes move towards where he lay, her face or body bolted to its place. The blanket slips away, revealing a hand moving. It gropes her breast, squeezes it. She closes her eyes in agony. Her lips tighten to prevent her cry from being heard.
The hand grabs her shoulder and forcibly pulls her back. She is made to lay flat on her back. His body, a large black mass in the darkness, mounts her. His hands loosen the knots of his pyjamas. His hands lift her gown. He positions himself and starts thrusting. Their lower halves covered under the blanket. In less than a minute he rolls back to his side of the bed and dozes off.
She slowly turns back to her side. A tear rolls down from one of her eyes. She squeezes her hands between her aching thighs, bites her lips and stares into the light. With unwashed blood stains she silently slept on her first married night.