The 13th Night

The 13th Night - The Thirteenth Night Ordinarily, Oseki...

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The Thirteenth Night Ordinarily, Oseki rode in a handsome black rickshaw, and, when her parents heard the sound of it approaching their gate, they would run out to greet her. Tonight, however, she had hired a rickshaw on the street corner. She paid the driver, sent him away, and stood dejectedly at the door to her parents’ house. Inside, she could hear her father talking in the same loud voice as always. “You could say I’m one of the lucky ones. We have good children. Never a speck of trouble when they were growing up. People are always praising them. And we’ve never wanted for a thing, have we? Don’t think I’m not thankful.” He would be talking to her mother, then. It gave Oseki pause. How was she going to broach the question of divorce when they were so happy, so unaware of things? What a sermon there would be! She was a mother herself, and it wasn’t easy leaving little Tarou behind. It was a bit late now to be bringing her parents such startling news. The last thing she wanted was to destroy their happiness, as if it were so many bubbles on a stream. For a moment, she felt the urge to go back without saying anything. She could go on just as before—mother to Tarou, wife to Isamu—and her parents could go on boasting of a son-in-law with an imperial appointment. So long as she was careful, nothing would have to change. The little gifts of food they liked, the spending money now and then, all the filial courtesies would continue. But if she had her way and went through with the divorce, it would be the end of everything. Tarou would be miserable with a stepmother. In a single instant, her parents would lose the only reason they had to hold their heads high. There was no telling what people would think of her. And her brother’s future —any basis for his success in life—would be swept away by her selfishness and caprice. Perhaps she should go back home to her husband. No! She couldn’t. He was inhuman, and she trembled at the thought of him and reeled against the lattice at the gate. Inside the house they heard a noise. “Who’s there?” her father called out. “Some urchin at the wrong house, I suppose.” But the sound outside turned to laughter. “Papa, it’s me.” It was a lovely voice. “Who is it?” Her father pushed the sliding door. “Oseki! What are you doing here? And without a rickshaw, or your maid? Hurry up—come in. What a surprise! No, we certainly weren’t expecting you. Don’t bother about the door, I’ll get it. Let’s go into the other room. We can see the moon from there. Here, use a cushion. No, no, use a cushion, the mats are dirty. I told the landlord, but he says we have to wait till the matting people get around to making new ones. Don’t be so polite with us—you’ll get dirty if you don’t take a cushion. Well, well, it’s awfully late for you to be visiting. Is everyone all right?” Her father treated her with the usual courtesy, and it made Oseki feel uncomfortable. She disliked it when they deferred to her as the wife of someone important. “Yes, everyone’s fine, in spite of the weather.”
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The 13th Night - The Thirteenth Night Ordinarily, Oseki...

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