MAN WOMAN and CHILD
[Fiction Short Story]
“She can take the flat, but I want custody of my son,” the man says emphatically to the marriage counselor in the family court.
“No way,” shouts the woman, “he can keep his flat, his money, everything. I don’t want anything from him. I just want my son.”
The marriage counselor looks at the eight-year-old boy and asks him lovingly, “Dear boy, tell me, what do you want?”
“I want both of them,” the boy says.
“Both of them?” the counselor asks looking a bit puzzled.
“Yes,” the boy says emphatically, “I want both my mummy and my daddy.”
“I think you both should give it a last try, at least for your child’s sake,” the counselor says to the man and the woman.
“No. I’ve had enough. It’s over. We can’t stay with this man!” the woman says.
“We?” the man asks incredulously, “What do you mean ‘we’…Well you are most welcome to go wherever you want, but my son is staying with me. I am his father!”
“And I am his mother!” the woman pleads anxiously to the man, “Listen, I don’t want anything from you – maintenance, alimony, nothing! Just give me my son. I can’t live without him!”
“He’s my son too. I love him and I can’t live without him too!” the man says.
“See,” the counselor appeals to the man and the woman, “You both love your son so much. I still think you should try to reconcile.”
“No. I want out,” the woman says.
“Me too!” the man says.
“Okay, let’s go in,” the counselor says, shrugging her shoulders, “Since you two have agreed on everything else, the judge will probably ask you the same things I asked you, he will talk to the child, and then, considering the child’s age, let him stay with his mother and grant the father visiting rights.”
“This whole system is biased in favor of women! I can look after my son much better than her,” the man says angrily.
“My foot!” the woman says, “You’ll ruin his life. It is better he remains away from your influence!”
“Please don’t fight inside,” the counselor advises, “You want an amicable mutual consent separation, isn’t it?”
And so, the man and the woman separate, a step towards the death of their relationship.
Since their son is a small boy he goes with his mother.
After the six month long separation period is over, the man and woman assemble in the family court for their divorce.
“I want to tell you something,” the woman says to the man.
“What?” the man asks.
“Well I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve been seeing someone.”
“And you want to get married to him?”
“That’s great. Go ahead. Good Luck to you!” the man says, “and who is the lucky guy?”
“Oh yes, he is indeed a lucky guy – He’s a childhood friend. Now he lives in the States and is here on a vacation.”
“So you’re off to the States?”
“Yes. Once all this divorce business is through.”
“Good for you.”
“It’s about our son…” the woman says awkwardly.
“What?” the man asks suspiciously.
“I want to leave him with you. As a gesture of goodwill, let’s say as a parting gift.”
“Goodwill? Parting Gift?” the man asks dumbfounded.
“We thought we should begin life afresh, without the baggage of the past.”
“You call our son the baggage of the past? How dare you? He is your son!” the man says angrily.
“And he is your son too!” the woman says, “He needs a father, especially now.”
“You’ve told the boy?”
“No,” the woman answers.
The man says nothing.
There is silence. And then the man hesitantly says to the woman, “A friend of mine has just moved in with me. Actually she’s more than a friend. She’s going to live in with me for some time, to get to know each other better, and then we’ll decide. I don’t think it’s the right time for the boy to stay with me. I think you better keep our son with you - as goodwill, a parting gift, from me!”
Strange are the ways of life.
First the parents fought bitterly for his custody and now no one, not his mother nor his father, wants to keep him any longer.
And so the man and the woman each find their new life-partners and live "happily ever after" and their darling son is packed off to boarding school.
Sad, isn’t it, when children become hapless innocent victims of broken marriages.
MAN WOMAN and CHILD
[Fiction Short Story]
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.