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The Economic Heart

July 21, 2009

Boris married Maria, the butcher’s widow, on a bright day last December. It was a small affair. Although the villagers were respectful of Boris’s profession many were still reeling from the butcher’s death at thirty-two. He was too young for a heart-attack, although Boris had signed the death certificate himself.

Maria had married the butcher on a chilly day last May. It was a grand affair. The ladies adored the butcher for his nutritious sweet sausages and the men were grateful for his unrelenting generosity during the recession. Women had deprived their families of breakfast eggs for months, in order to present the happy couple with a giant cake. Men had gone willingly without ale for a week.

On the night of their honeymoon, the butcher urged his young wife to consider starting a family. Maria pulled the candlewick bedspread over her shoulders and looked at him with such child-like intensity that he felt ashamed.

The next day Maria cut her hair short, locked away her treasured make-up and took to wearing ankle socks. The butcher came back that evening to no supper, and finding her curled on the sofa like a stray kitten, gasped, ‘My god Maria!’

When Boris arrived and had thoroughly examined Maria in the privacy of the marital bed, he reassured the butcher that ‘such regressions into childhood were not uncommon in young brides,’ and ‘that Maria needed only daily counselling sessions with him to resolve the matter.’ The butcher wept as Boris shrugged and said, ‘six months’.

After the first session Maria improved. She discarded the socks, glossed her lips, and her cheeks took on a healthy glow. She began to cook her husband the hearty meals she had promised before they were married, and at night she would whisper ‘soon, my love, soon.’

by Maureen Jivani

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  1. jony wardley
    July 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    The Economic Heart;
    As profound as I would expect from this lady. Gripping and thought provoking. Love it.

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