making ends meet

he lived with his family
in a small house on the hill
he worked hard in the field all day
and when he came home,
his family welcomed him with a smile.
that took away the tiredness of the body
and the burdens of the mind.

at night, however -
as he lay in bed next to his wife
his thoughts made it difficult for him to sleep
all were happy, all seemed good
no one knew about the increasing debt,
he could not afford to pay.

he wanted to tell his wife,
but when he made up his mind to confide
she shared the news that she was pregnant.
he'd faked a smile and kissed her,
he knew he should be happy but how could he be?
how would he feed another mouth
when he was having difficulty
feeding the ones he already had?

being pregnant meant his wife would need the rest
and he would have to work harder in the field
she would need proper nourishment
and visits to the doctor in a nearby town.

many years ago, on the advice of a friend
he had invested money for his family
to be taken care of when he was dead.
it was not too much,
but enough to take care of the debt.
rest, he knew his wife would figure it out.
he made up his mind -
he would go to the field next day
and not return
making life easier for his family.

the next morning when he got ready to go
his wife brought him lunch and
told him with tears in her eyes
that she was not pregnant anymore.
it broke his heart to hear the news -
but a part of him was glad, too.
he offered to stay home and take care of her
but she refused.
he knew now was not the time
to do what he had planned to do.

when he went to work, she took a bus
with her children for a trip to the town
she went to a clinic -
and made sure she was not pregnant anymore.

later in the evening -
she dug out the small box of savings
she had buried in the ground behind the house.
she gave him the box when he came home and,
told him that she wanted the money and
her jewellery, whatever she had, to be of some better use, 
than be buried in the ground.
that's when he knew -
he had spoken his concerns aloud in his sleep.

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