9 The Woman at the Well

Mar 16th, 2008 | By | Category: Writing

A fortyish woman arrives home after an eventful day

Hannah, would you put the kettle on?

My feet are killing me. Such a day as I’ve had. You wouldn’t believe it, you wouldn’t believe it if told you.

You would believe anything if it concerned me? Ah, Hannah, that’s not fair, I’m not that bad; am I?

I am? Well, I love you too.

Now, where was I? Did you put the kettle on? You did. What time is it?

Good, we’ve a while yet before I’ve to get that man of mine his supper, I can tell you about the day I’ve had.

He knew about that man of mine.

Who did?

He did, of course, this man I met. He knew all about him.

Hannah, I’m not talking in riddles. I met this man.

I know, I know. I’ve met lots of men – and it was my misfortune to marry five of them.

OK. OK. I know, I know, I thought they were all great at the time, but this man is different.

No, no, no, this is not a new man to replace the present one – this is a different man.

Hannah, would you listen to me! I’m not talking about having two men at the same time, that’s what I’m saying to you, this man is different. He’s different, he’s not someone to marry; he’s someone who knows stuff about you, lots of stuff.

Did that kettle never boil?

Right, you pour while I take these shoes off.

That’s better.

I met this man who told me everything about myself, a man I’d never seen before in my life, a Jewish man.

I know we don’t talk to the Jews. Didn’t I grow up with my mother telling me, “Don’t talk to them, they’re Jewish”? I could never understand why playing with the girl down the street was such a crime; don’t we all look the same? We couldn’t go anywhere when we were kids without being told to keep ourselves to ourselves. They were just as bad, used to call us names and tell their own kids not to speak to us. Sad, really; us living side by side and hating each other.

Anyway, that’s the point, he was Jewish, and he knew I wasn’t, and he stood and talked to me, treated me like a human being, treated me better than a whole lot of our own ones treat me.

He talked sense, said that none of us had got things right and that there were different times coming.

He was talking to the right person, I’ve spent my life getting things wrong, and he knew that. He even told me how many times I had been married and that I wasn’t married now.

You don’t expect things like that; you don’t expect to be going about your ordinary everyday business and to meet someone like him. It’s unnerving, Hannah, to think that all those years where I was doing stuff that I shouldn’t have been doing, I was being watched all the time.

Anyway, I must go and get ready. I’ve told everyone about him and they are saying he’s coming here.

You’ll see changes here, Hannah, I’m telling you; the place will never be the same again.

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