Reading Sundays: A SURPRISING CURE (Part 13) a short story by Cynthia Sally Haggard

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.

*     *     *     *     *

I could not forget my wayward wife. Every once in a while, I would go to visit her in St Philip’s Marsh, a low-lying area across the canal from the cotton works, and quietly offered her monetary assistance in the form of a pound a week. She always refused. Inevitably, disaster struck and she was obliged to leave for the United States. Even defiant Miriam knew that the birth of an illegitimate child would mean ostracism from Bristol society.

I confess I was very hurt by this news. I believed Miriam’s relationship with Mr. Nicol to be entirely Platonic, assuring myself that her condition would prevent her from straying. Now I realized that I was done a great wrong by Miriam’s lady doctor. How convenient to tell an overly amorous husband, whose attentions were not appreciated, that his wife’s cancer precluded marital relations. That Nicol fellow obviously had no qualms, but he had studied medicine at university.

When I think of those long dreary years of marriage when I was kept apart from my Miriam, I cannot help feeling bitter. I believe to this day that had we shared the same bed, had Miriam borne me a child, that our marriage could have been saved.


A Surprising Cure first appeared in Fiction on the Web.