Chapter 15: I Have Kept My Wondering Eyes Alive
I used to live in a place where everybody was surprised.. It was a big apartment house with thin, modern walls. You could hear everything that was going on, on the other side. You need not go to the movies or any other entertainment, it was available free and just without any effort - just lying on your bed, and all around things were happening.
The most amazing part was that always from every apartment came screams, shouting, fighting, beating - things being thrown, plates being broken; just from one house there was always heard great laughter. The whole neighborhood was surprised; they seemed to be the ideal couple - never anything except great laughter was heard from that apartment.
One day, going for a morning walk, I met the man and I asked him, “You are the ideal couple - not only in this building, but perhaps in the whole world. Nothing else is ever heard except laughter. Can you tell me the secret?”
He said, “Don’t ask me. It is better not to ask, not to say anything about it, because I feel like crying.”
I said, “I am praising you and you feel like crying?”
He said, “You don’t understand at all. The reality is, she throws things at me. When she hits me, she laughs; when she misses, I laugh. But don’t tell it to anybody. This arrangement is going well.” But the same man, after five years, went to the court - he wanted a divorce.
The whole neighborhood was surprised. I had never told anybody, because it was such a private thing. Everybody was just amazed, “What happened that they have gone to the court? And, we hear, for divorce!” I was going to the university. I thought that first I should visit them - the court was just on the way - so I stopped at the court and went into the court.
The judge was asking, “How long have you been married?”
They said, “For six years.”
“So why do you want now to divorce? What has happened?”
He said, “What has happened? She throws things at me.”
The judge said, “Recently she has started throwing things at you?”
He said, “No, she has been throwing things from the very first night.”
The judge said, “You amaze me. If she has been throwing things from the very first night, then for six years what have you been doing? Why did you not come earlier for a divorce?”
He said, “You don’t understand. Now she has become so practiced that she never misses. It is always she who is laughing. For months I have not laughed; now I cannot tolerate it. At first it used to be almost fifty-fifty: one time she will laugh, one time I will laugh. It was okay, we were equal. Now it is intolerable - only she laughs, and I am just standing there like an idiot, with never a chance to laugh.”