WHAT MAKETH A MAN
Ethan and Emily spent the first ten days after their wedding at the Mendonca family home. Mrs. Mendonca who had thus far been the only woman in Ethan’s life thought it would benefit the couple greatly if she saved time and told Emily exactly what Ethan liked and didn’t like. She took to following Emily around and making what she thought were helpful suggestions on how to improve Emily’s efficiency and effectiveness as both a wife and, for the time being, home maker.
One afternoon, Emily stormed into the bedroom she shared with Ethan and threw some freshly laundered clothes on the bed in frustration. Ethan raised his eyebrows at her as she folded his vests with undue ferocity. At first, she shook her head. Then, “She thinks that I fold socks wrong Ethan. SOCKS!” she blurted out angrily.
Ethan laughed and said, “Well, she has been doing it a certain way for thirty years now….”
Emily shot him a cold look. Ethan quickly said, “You know how I love research and academics?”
Emily nodded frowning, “What does that have to do with anything?”
“I’m getting to it Em. Give me a minute. Have I ever told you about my dad?”
They had discussed a lot of things in great detail but Emily had never asked about Mr. Mendonca and not because she didn’t care. She always feared it would be insensitive and the timing was never right. So, softly she said, “No.”
“It’s got to a point now when I don’t really remember a great deal about him, so I don’t need your pity.”
Emily frowned again, confused. But, Ethan was still talking.
“I was quite young when he passed away – only in the fifth grade and Mummy had been a housewife till then. Almost overnight, she was in charge of making ends meet. We spent months at different relatives’ houses living off them, if you will. While I was too small to truly understand what the problem was, it was something that made Mummy extremely uncomfortable. She finally got a job as a receptionist at a lighting company. She worked there until she retired a couple of years ago. It was good, honest work, but it wasn’t easy to pay the bills on that salary, especially when she started out.
It was shortly after I was admitted to the sixth standard that Mummy was called to the administrator’s office. They wanted to suspend me for non-payment of fees. I was outside the office and heard her begging for a few extra weeks to get the money together. I was ashamed that she had to grovel like that for my education. I vowed that I would never let that happen again and threw myself into learning. Over time, I grew to love it and since the seventh grade, I’ve always been a national scholar.” Ethan couldn’t hide the pride in his voice.
“If my father was still around, perhaps things would have been very different. Perhaps I would have been different. Perhaps Mummy would have been different. She has had a hard life. The only way she feels comfortable is if she is in control of as many variables as possible. I understand that can be a little tiresome until you get used to it. She wants to make a hundred percent sure that I’m happy. That’s Mummy for you.
That being said, Mummy is the one who made me see that I had hit the age when I could use a partner even though I was reluctant to get into the whole marriage scene in the first place. So, it’s quite obvious that she’s been dying to have a daughter-in-law for a while. I’m sure she has your best interests in mind as well. Having said that, overbearing is part of her personality so don’t fight her. She’s my Mummy. For the longest time, it was just the two of us. Do you know what I mean?”
Emily nodded silently and thought about what Ethan said for a long time after their conversation had ended. She had new-found admiration for her mother-in-law and remembering what her mother had advised, promised herself that she would try to make sure she treated her with love, kindness, and respect. Emily also looked at her husband in new light. She was just starting to learn what made him Ethan. She smiled as the thought of the wonderful journey ahead.
For the first time, Emily was beginning to truly understand what being the product of one’s circumstances meant.
More Emily tomorrow! Click here to read all that’s happened so far.
Post 14!!!! UBC…maybe I’ll actually complete you this time!