There is an old woman. The lines across her face are deep. Oceans of tears have made their marks, and the scorching heat of harsh words have etched them firmly to the canvas of her face. She loved him, deeply. So deep that he could stand on her broken back while she sat on the floor. When life got tough for him, after to many whiskeys and nights out, she was there. She was always there, crawling in the dark caves of his mind. She felt safe in the dark, as her father always said that she had to be silent and not show her ugly face when visitors came. She was not there to shine, only to wash the dirt of others faces. In his fatherly wisdom, he shares his knowledge. Men and women are different, he told her, so wives must do like their husbands say. They should kneel on the floor and scrub it. Because men can’t go around with dirt on their shoes.
She looked at her husband with love and devotion. He laughed at her, and she knew why. She was simply a joke, and she was lucky to have someone who’s actually took the time to laugh and degrade her. She knew that one could not expect to be seen, so she was satisfied with any sign of him noticing her. It was so much more than she deserved. She would be happy for the rest of her life if she could just love him, because she didn’t deserve to get anything in return.
One day, he was dead. He got a stroke after sleeping with his mistress. She didn’t know what do with herself, so she started cleaning. But then she had to sell their house and move into a little apartment, and realized that she had nothing to fill her days with. Her children had grown up and moved to another city, so she only had herself to take care of, and there were only so many things she could wash before she had nothing more to do.
She used her neverending free time to think about her husband. She missed cleaning his dirty shirts that always smelled of perfume. Not his, she knew that, but she was still happy she had a role to fill. She didn’t expect much of life, but now her whole reason for existing had died together with him. She thought about what she had longed for in their marriage: That he had said thank you, only once. But she knew no matter how much she loved him, sometimes it’s not enough.
Sometimes you get nothing, and that was all that was left of her life.