A short story about a Canadian family

By James Polamz King

Half of her mind is serving the poutine and the other is scanning the portable kitchenette which most likely will stop being their favourite eating spot as a family. “More cheese curds for me please.” Ted says adjusting his chair. “And more French fries for me please,” a beautiful little girl adds. She’s adorable! Their gift of a five year old marriage.

Alice dons her nappy giggly and begins to eat. Jane’s eyes linger on her for a long time that she considers if they can still come back to their senses for her sake. She loves Ted so much, she looks at him and sees that he’s almost done eating. He looks in her direction and turns away to look at the window. She can see he isn’t happy, even though he’s trying not to show it. Well, she is doing the same thing. One thing is obvious, she might really not like Ted now but divorce is the last thing on her mind. But his ego suggested it first and her pride welcomed the idea against her common sense.

“Jane, the lawyer wants us to sign the papers tomorrow.” Ted says looking at her. He can’t believe that what started out as a flicker has now turned into an inferno. He had called his wife’s attention to her tight schedule and that she should find time for them—Alice and him. And that was it! What’s wrong with that? She went all defensive as if he was trying to attack her. Alice’s laughter makes him look at their treasure, they call her that sometimes. Well is she not? She has Jane’s blue eyes but has his brown hair. He has refused to placate Jane when the whole thing started because he wanted her to get his point and come back to her senses. Now see where they are, she not only refused to come back to her senses but also mentioned many things he’s not been doing right. He doesn’t help in the domestics, he doesn’t say nice compliments to her, he doesn’t take her out like before…and many other accusations. How do I take someone who’s married to her job out?

She straightens up when she heard Ted call her name. Maybe she’s making things up, but the way he called her name was affectionate, very. Must they do this? A thought pops up and she pokes it down. He wants it so be it! But did he say tomorrow? That’s too fast. So he really wants to get rid of her sooner than she presumed. Another woman must be involved. “Ted, I don’t want you to lie to me, who’s behind this?” She bit her lips in regret, she didn’t mean to ask that, and she doesn’t care if another woman is involved or not. Ok, she does.

 “Sorry, I don’t get you.” He looks at her, at loss of what she meant. “Never mind.” She waves. “What time do we go tomorrow?” She goes to the window. “I don’t know, what time do you want us to go?” She turns and stares at him, did he mean that? Now he’s asking her that when he didn’t consult her before going to a lawyer. She scans her surrounding to see if there is anything she can throw at him but she resists the urge but it keeps coming back. If she doesn’t leave here she will do just that. And they’ve both agreed right from when they were dating never to do any silly thing before their two children. Two, that’s what they agree to parent.

“You went to the lawyer in the first place, so decide and tell me in the morning. Good night.” She goes over and peck him. Then she pecks Alice too. “Sweetheart let’s go sleep.” She pulls off, “no, no I want to stay with dad.” Jane sighs, “Daddy needs to think, we need to leave him so he can think for us.” Alice runs to Ted and hugs him tightly. “Then we’ll think together.” Ted laughs and Jane smiles. “Ok Ally gal, see you in the morning. I love you.” Alice calls out to her as she goes to her room; “wait mom,” she runs and hugs her, “I love you too.” Jane holds her tightly, she wipes a tear that has managed to come out.  "Good night little angel," she gives one last peck and off she goes to her room.

Ted keeps staring at the corridor which leads to the stairs that Jane had climbed up. She will surely miss this woman. He just hope they're not making the biggest mistake of their lives. If he listens to his heart he thinks he's about to make one. He still can't believe the small argument of last week has led to this. Jane is an amazing woman but she's proud. Well, she believes he is too. "Dad, tell me a story." He looks at her, he sees all of Jane in those blue eyes. He'll still have to give this one last thorough thought, for Alice at least. "Ok honey, come to daddy, I'll tell you an interesting story." He carries her and they go into his room.


The love-shaped alarm in her room wakes her. 6:30am. The digital screen below it shows her schedules for the day: presentation to some Nigerian clients at the office, 9am; meeting with Mr. Hanson – 2pm; Alice’s summer school party – 10am…”Oh my God!” She sits upright on the bed. Alice reminded her yesterday morning, how could she not plan towards it?

 A sad realization dawns on her, they have been too busy for their daughter. Hannah their nanny girl has been their saviour. Hannah resumes in the morning, bathes her and takes her to school. She will take it from there. She picks her up from school every day and Ted was saying nonsense that she doesn’t have time for them. He’s selfish! He goes to work and doesn’t do any domestic work to help her, still she didn’t complain until he brought up the issue. True, he creates time for Alice whenever he’s home. She doesn’t think she’s ready for this monstrous divorce. What has she been thinking? What will people say? How will Alice feel? Will Ted want to take Alice away from her? All these thoughts fleetingly crosses her stormy mind.

            “Mommy!” Alice jumps on the bed. She didn’t notice when she came in and she was a bit startled. “Oh my love,” she kisses her repeatedly. “Did you sleep well?” Alice nods. “Mom, today is my school summer party.” She says excitedly. “Everyone is coming! Lucy’s parents are coming too.” “Really, who’s Lucy?” Alice gives her a look of you-kidding-me-right. “Lucy is my best friend.” She says eventually after given Jane a frown.  “Oh yeah, yeah, that’s right honey.”

            Ted comes in and gives them both kisses. “Dad, today is my school summer party.” She climbs on him laughing. “That’s sweet!” He pats her on the head. “And Lucy’s parents are coming too.” Ted stares blankly at her, at Jane, then back to her. “Lucy?” Alice shakes her head and screams, “what’s wrong with both of you? You don’t know my best friend?” After some seconds of silence, Ted speaks, “Honey, am—we are sorry. Mom and I have been going through a lot of emotional tumults.” Alice only stares still not happy that they didn’t know Lucy, her best friend. “Sweet, stop. What are you saying to her, she’s only four for God sake!” She called him sweet, but that was just a mere habituation. “I wasn’t going to tell her of course.”

            Alice looks from one to another, “what are you not going to tell me?” Ted hugs her, “there’s nothing to tell, trust me sugar. You know we tell you everything right?” She nods, “yeah, right. You tell me everything," she smiles. "You told me of how you went crazy when you first saw mom, remember?” Ted nods. “Do you also remember you told me last night that mom is the most beautiful woman in the world and I am the most beautiful girl in the world?” Ted laughs and draws her closer giving her a big hug. “I love you daddy.” She turns to Jane, “don’t just stand there mom, come here.” Jane laughs and goes over to the duo giving them a big hug. “We love you too.” I can’t do this, I can’t afford a divorce. She mutters and reaches out for Ted’s hand. She couldn’t help but smile that Ted told Alice she’s the most beautiful woman in the world, so sweet!


How long have you been married?” Lucy’s mom, Julie asks Jane. “Five years.” Julie smiles. “That’s amazing! John and I have been married for fifteen years and it’s been fun. Isn’t it Johnny?” He laughs, “Yes it sure is. Living with this beauty is the best thing that has ever happened to me but her native Shawnee blood comes in sometimes, you know what I mean hahaha.” Everyone laughs. “And your Scottish blood tells on you too sometimes.” Another round of laughter follows Julie’s joking retorts.

            “That’s really very interesting, do you mean you don’t have fights or even quarrels?” Ted asks amusingly. “Heck no! Julie hits the table lightly. “We do have our quarrels, we even had one this morning, but that’s where it stops. We understand each other. Isn’t that right Johnny?” Jane likes the way she asks her husband for confirmations. “You couldn’t have been more right Julie baby! In fact, several times we’ve had big fights that would’ve broken some marriages, but right from the beginning, we made it clear that we will never mention divorce no matter what.” He looks at Julie who nods and affirms, “yes no matter what.”

            Ted looks at his beautiful wife, he holds her hand tightly. He slips a note into it. Surprised, Jane opens and reads,


Your love,

            “When did you write this?” She whispers. “This morning.” Ted smiles. She scribbles something on the note and hands it over to the man that means all the world to him. He opens and reads,

I’m yours forever, till death do us part.

Your love,

“You’ll excuse us please.” Ted says to John and Julie. “I’ve a date with my wife.” He kowtows and extends his hand to the stunned Jane who graciously offers her hand. “Where to gentleman?” She asks on their way to pick Alice. “To Tim Hortons.”

            “Dad, mom!” Alice calls out to them. Lucy is standing by her side holding her left hand. “Hey Alice!” They respond together. “Lucy how’re you?” Jane touches her hair. “I’m good. You?” The brunette warmly replies Jane. “I’m good too. Sweet girl.” Ted carried Alice and kisses her. “We are going to Tim Hortons.” She throws her hands into the air, “”Yeepee! Can Lucy go with us?” She points at Lucy who is having a nice time with Jane. “Sure, we will go tell her parents.”

            Jane stands up from her kneeling position with Lucy and kisses Ted passionately. Alice has saved their marriage. If there is one thing she’s learnt, divorce isn’t an option. Brave people fight for their marriages. She thanks God for giving them Alice.

ALICE! She calls.

The End.


Poutine - a Canadian delicacy

Photo credit: Google Images


  1. nice story brother. i taut is a novel at first. lol

  2. Well, it's a short story. Thank you!


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