668. Maribella was horrified

© Bruce Goodman 9 August 2015

668maribella

Maribella was horrified. Biddy’s husband hadn’t been buried for two months and already Biddy was cavorting around like her husband hadn’t died. Two months! Biddy had joined the Forest and Bird Society and she went off on a hike wearing the most technicoloured cardigan under the sun. It was a disgrace.

Maribella’s husband had died over three years ago, and Maribella maintained a dignified composure. She had, at a great niece’s wedding, added a little slither of purple fabric to her otherwise black outfit. Apart from that, she knew how to behave as a grieving widow.

“You are a disgrace!” said Maribella to Biddy. “A disgrace!”

“There are only two things you can do when someone dies,” replied Biddy. “Either you can wait to die yourself or you can get on with it.”

“Well, unlike you,” said Maribella, “I loved my husband.”

Biddy was hurt by that but said nothing. She trotted off to the next Forest and Bird Society’s hike as sprightly as a fantail; as colourful as a parrot; as song-filled as a thrush. Of course she missed her husband. Of course she did! But she wasn’t going to make everyone else go into mourning.

65 thoughts on “668. Maribella was horrified

  1. thecontentedcrafter

    What a wonderful image of life lived as it is supposed to be: ‘She trotted off to the next Forest and Bird Society’s hike as sprightly as a fantail; as colourful as a parrot; as song-filled as a thrush.’ 🙂

    Reply
  2. Cynthia Jobin

    It goes without saying that this was ingeniously concocted….but I’ll say it anyway. It sets me to thinking….
    that the world is full of people telling us how we should feel. Blame Biddy and praise Maribella, or blame Maribella and praise Biddy—-it’s all the same judging of feelings based on appearances, not necessarily reality. It’s a wonder any authentic feeling can thrive anywhere anymore.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Yes – that’s true indeed – I think. This story was partly based on my mother’s next-door neighbour. When Dad died the neighbour informed Mum that the difference between the two of them was that she (the neighbour) loved her husband!

      Reply
        1. Cynthia Jobin

          Right on! But when you’re very young it’s most hideous because you confuse those two things, start trying to feel the way you should feel, think you do feel that way even if you don’t, and get truly screwed-up with all the resulting double-binds and inner turmoil of the conventionally well-adjusted…. especially around the subject of love.

          Reply
  3. Susan D. Durham

    Love this! The wonderful fluttery vs dowdy imagery; symbolism. Beautifully descriptive in all ways.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      I thought of that when writing it! Also the Duchess of York:
      Pour all your tears! I am your sorrow’s nurse,
      And I will pamper it with lamentations.

      That’s the Duchess of York in Richard III and not Sarah Ferguson!

      Reply
  4. Keith Channing

    If there is anything after death (and I’m open on that, although leaning heavily towards not), and if the departed are aware of what the living are doing (ditto, with brass knobs on), then I wonder how a departed husband, who loved his wife, would feel about her withdrawing from life to an existence of sadness and mourning. If I go first, I want my wife to find happiness wherever, however and with whomever she chooses, and not to wait for ‘a decent period’ before doing so.

    Reply
  5. jennypellett

    I think Biddy has the right idea … life’s too short and we only live it once.
    Bruce – I read your last comment posted on the Carroll thread and absolutely take your point but I have removed it because of the profanities. Call me a prude if you like but I don’t accept written language like that – you may have missed a post I wrote a while back on just this subject. Please feel free to edit it and come back!

    Reply
          1. jennypellett

            Fair enough. However, I’m mystified as to your comment re Flannery O’Connor – I think you may have me muddled with someone else – I don’t remember commenting, please point me in the direction so I can understand where you are coming from. I certainly didn’t mean to offend. That’s not what blogging is about, as far as I’m concerned.

            Reply
            1. Bruce Goodman Post author

              Ok Jenny – I call it quits. We’ll just quietly agree to differ (I hope) and get on with it. I DO enjoy your blog – and I think I should have simply shut my mouth. Please forgive my waywardness – and let’s just enjoy what each other contributes. Thanks. Bruce

              Reply
              1. jennypellett

                Your words are much appreciated – I too, enjoy my daily story from your blog. Agreeing to differ makes the world go round – wouldn’t do to all think the same, would it? Thanks Bruce, enjoy your day.

                Reply
  6. Yvonne

    “little slither of purple”

    OK, where in heck does this word ‘slither’ come from, used in this way? (For me, as an example, snakes slither.) Excuse me for a mo’ while I see what good old Google says about slither used in your manner. (I’ve seen it used thus before, so I’m far from casting aspersions upon thee.)

    Well, nothing appeared on my online search that clarified my questioning. I’d use ‘sliver of purple’, but I may be missing an enriching experience.

    Can anyone give me the origin of this use of slither? I do love words, their meanings and origins.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      OK – I stand corrected!!!!!! It is sliver! A sliver of purple. However, having eaten humble pie, I now would like to expostulate on a favourite topic: it’s a living language; it grows and changes by every means possible, including misuse!!! Thanks for so politely pointing out my unfortunate usage. These things occasionally sliver in!

      Reply
      1. Cynthia Jobin

        I love it when people spar about words! On the one hand, Yvonne is right. Slither is a verb and for it to be purple and on a black dress it would have to be doing something…like slithering. Sliver is a noun, so it could be a purple thing and just sit there, doing nothing.
        Sliver seems more correct, for purposes of clear communication, but slither is , well, weird and..poetic here….like a little purple garter snake on Marabella’s black dress….seems somehow appropriate and opens a whole can of….. images of things that slither.

        ( whenever I find myself having committed what could be a faux pas in diction, I don’t apologize, but mention that I have a poetic license to do so…..feeble defense, but there you go!)

        Reply
        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          I shall make a stealthy change to the story. It will also make Maribella less of a stick in the mud! Instead of: “She had, at a great niece’s wedding, added a little slither of purple fabric to her otherwise black outfit.” it shall now read: “She had, for a great niece’s wedding, allowed a little sliver of purple to slither into her otherwise black outfit.”

          Reply
          1. Yvonne

            I really admire the way you slithered out of the minor dilemma and made the story even more enticing. You’re a clever old puss. (Or should I say “young”?)

            Reply
  7. Cynthia Jobin

    I was just scrolling through my “Comments I’ve Made” page and your post of a couple days ago came up and gave me another good laugh. At the top of the comments is the following title:
    Maribella Was Horrified by Bruce Goodman.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      That is hilarious! It’s only just after 5 am here and I don’t want to wake anyone else by laughing out loud! Story Number 651 by the same author could be a giggle as well!

      Reply

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