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Other People's Children

It was still dark when the phone rang. I sat up in bed and let it ring. The shrill sound of the phone pierced the night like a dagger. My husband did not even stir. When I heard my mother's voice all the way from Israel I was sure something was wrong.

The children's mother died, my mother said. It was a car accident. She did not say your husband's first wife, or his children's mother -- just "the children's mother." My heart was jumping out of my chest and yet there I was noticing the way my mother was conveying information to me. The children were with family she said but nobody was going to tell them about their mother's death while their father was out of the country. He had to get to Israel immediately and tell them and take care of them!

I looked at my husband and saw that he was still sleeping. I hated him for that. I blamed him for my unhappiness. I just got married, I kept telling myself. This is not fair. I am only 25 years old. I am not ready to raise other people's children. We just came to America. I just started graduate school. I don't know anyone here. I don't even have any furniture.

I felt guilty for feeling this way. Wake up, I said to my husband. I have bad news for you. Your wife died.

Story by:

Miriam Ben-Yoseph

21 March 2018