Reading Sundays: A SURPRISING CURE (Part 12) a short story by Cynthia Sally Haggard

She puffed on her cigarette, her eyes hard.

“What I want you to understand, both of you,” I let my gaze sweep over that arrogant youth, “is that I will not countenance this tract. If you persist in your plans to publish it—”

“—you’ll throw us out?” he drawled.

Miriam stopped smoking and glared at me, her features hardening into a kind of bulldog mulishness. “Fine. I don’t care. Come, Robert.” He disappeared with her.

“Miriam.” I came to the bottom of the stairs just as she was halfway up. “What are you doing?”

“I’m leaving.”

“Please don’t do that.”

She turned, holding her skirts up with one hand. “The situation here is quite intolerable. I will not have you dictate my life to me. You’ve just said that you object to our pamphlet. As long as I stay under your roof I have to abide by your rules because you’re my husband. Isn’t that what society demands of wives?”

I nodded miserably.

“Well, I don’t care to do that, so I’m leaving.”

“Miriam,” I said again. But she had gone, Robert following. I could hear bumping and thumping coming from up above as I stood at the bottom of the stairs.

Eventually, Robert came downstairs, a small bag in his hand. “I’ll make sure she sends our new address.”

“There is no need,” I remarked stiffly.

“I personally have no objection to your visiting,” he said, lighting another cigarette. “That is, if you’d care to.” He gave me his half-lidded smile. [To be continued.]