The Storm: A Short Story by Felisa Daskeo
The strong wind whooshed as Ivy stepped inside their single room abode. A storm was brewing. The room was cold and dark. Ivy switched on the light and the single bulb hanging in the middle of the low ceiling spread out its light. In a corner, water was dripping from the roof and they had to place a pail to protect the wooden floor from getting flooded. The wind was seeping through the wooden walls and water was coming in the house through the slits. Ivy pulled the plastic window curtains. Then she removed her dripping jacket and sat down to watch the news. The black and white screen flashed a signal number 3 typhoon and the pictures were blurred. She turned it off and looked around the drab room. Nothing there was decent and the room’s only saving grace was that it was tidy. Her few things were neatly stacked in the corners. On one side was a curtained bed, an improvised bedroom.
Ivy gathered her knees in front of her then rested her chin. Deep in thought, she knew her friends were right. Men always promised the sun, the moon, and the stars during courtship. After that, it was nothing but hardship, problems, and tears.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a sudden knock on the door – loud and urgent. Who could it be? She wondered. Danny never came home that early. She opened the door and true enough, it wasn’t Danny but a uniformed man.
Her heart started to beat rapidly so she stood there gaping.
“I’m sorry, ma’am to disturb you. Are you Mrs. Pastrana?”
“Y-yes. What’s wrong?”
“I’m afraid we need you in the hospital.”
She put a hand on her mouth to avoid screaming.
“Is it my husband?”
“Yes, I’m sorry. May I come in?”
Ivy hesitated then stepped back to let him in. “Is it bad?”
“I don’t know. If you want to find out then we have to go now.” He took her hand but she pulled it away.
“W-wait. Is he alright? I mean, is he alive?”
“Yes. Don’t worry. Let’s go.”
Ivy stopped short. Robberies, rapes, and killings were often committed by law enforcers. She was scared. She often heard and read news about crimes occurring on stormy nights when everyone preferred to stay at home.
“Are you alright?” He asked and she didn’t answer.
“Don’t worry, he’s still alive. Come on, he’s waiting for you.”
Her doubts vanished when she remembered her husband. Ivy followed the policeman and they went out to where a white patrol car was waiting by the roadside just in front of the house.
The storm was becoming worse and the umbrella wasn’t enough to cover both. He was soaked by the time they reached the car. The policeman opened the door for her then sat down on the driver’s seat. His thick black hair was dripping.
Ivy was silent, she stared at the wiper in front of her and thought of her husband. She had met Danny on a similar occasion. It was a stormy night almost three years ago. He was so kind and thoughtful then, that she was swept away by his charm and married him. To her disappointment, Danny wasn’t the man who concerned himself with his wife. He was selfish, always getting but never giving. And worst, he didn’t like children. Ivy had always wanted children and decided to have one even if it meant separating from her husband. When her husband learned she was pregnant, he beat her black and blue. Three days later in the hospital, the baby was aborted. She started to hate him but she could not leave. Danny had threatened to kill her if she left him.
“Are you okay?” Came his voice again.
Ivy didn’t glance at the man beside her. She just nodded.
He studied her for a long time. “How long were you married?”
“More than two years.”
“Yes. I work in a garment factory. Quality controller.”
“And your husband is a security guard?”
“Was he on duty this afternoon?”
“Yes. He even said he would have overtime.” She turned to him. “Officer, could you tell me what this is all about?”
He gripped the steering wheel tightly then without looking at her, he said. “Your husband was involved in a bank robbery, the same bank he works in. there were three of them, armed with the same guns they used on duty. Two of them died, only your husband is alive but he is in critical condition.”
“Oh, my God.” She blurted out and closed her eyes.
“Mrs. Pastrana calm down. There’s something very important you should know.”
“Yes?” she hesitated.
“The robbery happened at 5 o’clock in the afternoon just as the storm started. He was brought to the hospital at 5:30 while he could still talk. It wasn’t you that he presented as his wife but another woman.” He stopped and looked at her. She was crying.
He stopped the car and let her cry.
“Thanks,” she said after a while. “I’m fine now. Let’s go.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “You weren’t aware of your husband’s philandering?”
“No’ but I had my suspicions and I had heard rumors.”
“Did you know that your husband has a child with another woman?”
“Yes, a three-year-old girl. That means, she came first before he married you.”
“How did you know that I was the wife?”
“We asked the woman to produce a marriage contract which she failed to do. She told us that she was not his real wife and gave us your name and address.”
“Now I know why he gave me only half of his monthly pay, and I know now why he didn’t want us to have children.”
He looked at her helplessly and didn’t say a word.
The car stopped at the hospital. Ivy stepped down and walked in, the policeman beside her. The corridor was full of curious people. There were also reporters. They ran to meet the two arrivals and asked Ivy to answer their questions.
Ivy didn’t talk. She was calm but her eyes showed great anger and hatred. The policeman glanced at her and talked to the reporters. “I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen; Mrs. Pastrana isn’t ready to entertain you.”
They brushed past the onlookers and got rid of the reporters and they were in the ICU. The doctor was waiting.
“How is he?” she asked.
“Mrs. Pastrana, your husband’s wound is bad, a part of his lungs was wounded but we’ll try our best.”
They went inside the room. It was dim and Danny was alone. He was lying on a white covered bed with tubes all over his body. Ivy went to plant a kiss on his forehead, clasped his cold hand and murmured goodbye. She turned away because she didn’t want to cry.
The doctor and the policeman followed her outside. They stood silently. Ivy looked at the doctor.
“Doctor, please take care of him. Not for me but for his child. He has to live.”
She said goodbye, murmured her thanks to the policeman and rushed outside. She passed by the small chapel in the hospital but she didn’t stop to pray as she always did before. She darted out and walked the deserted streets under the heavy storm.
© 2018 Felisa Daskeo