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(A short story of 2583 words)

A Revolutionary Wife


by Chrissie Gittins

As usual Rebecca expected too much. That Lian, a politician in exile from Burma, who had escaped with his life into the jungle, who knew when he was near the border because he heard dogs barking, who let his people eat before he ate, whose main concern was sovereignty for his tribe, would think to buy her a chocolate egg, as she had done for him, to give on Easter Day.

“Did you buy me anything?” she asked as they lay in bed.

“A small thing,” he said in his soft voice. “I like being with you like this.” His arm ran up and down her body reminding them both of what was there.

“Let’s have a bath together,” suggested Lian. They were due at Rebecca’s sister’s for lunch – it was already ten thirty.

“We could do that tomorrow. It’ll take them the best part of an hour to get to Wimbledon.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing Sasha again.”

“And her you.”

Lian sat up in bed.

“Do we have an obligation?” he said.

“To do what?”

“Go to church.”

“Depends how guilty you are feeling. My family don’t go to church much.”

“That helps me not to feel so guilty.”

There was a fifteen-minute wait for a train at Honor Oak. It was one of those April days when the clouds bunch up and pour their rain at full pelt, then the skies clear and the blue and brightness are intense until the clouds mesh again overhead. They surfaced from the tube and picked their way along the identical terraced houses with their comforting front doors and phormium-planted gardens. When they arrived at Rebecca’s sister’s they were drenched. Sasha answered the front door.

“Happy Easter!” she said, full with excitement. Sasha was six years old and tall for her age. Lian opened his arms and she ran to him.

“Hiiiiiiiiiiii!” his voice rang. Rebecca tried not to feel jealous, but she did. Lian never welcomed her like that. He was reserved, as were all his tribe – the Karenni women walked behind the Karenni men on the way to church, men showed affection in public to men and women to women, but men and women together were demure and undemonstrative. Children were a different matter...

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A review of A Revolutionary Wife from the CUT team....

A couple living in London, one English, the other a Burmese exile, deal with culture clash and differing expectations while finding that the political turbulence that forced one from their homeland still casts a long shadow. An intriguing short story that explores the common ground, or lack of it, between two people from completely different parts of the world.

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