March 2, 2015

In Which Thetis Reminds of the Luxury of Wanting

September 8, 1189

There were certain situations that called for sensitivity, but counterintuitive as it was, Thetis didn't think her son's relationship crisis was one of them. It wasn't that Severin didn't understand the workings of human interaction--indeed, she suspected he could write a book on the subject if he cared to. But he'd spent most of his life opting not to be an active participant, and therefore had little to go on but theory. Such a case would call for a practical touch. "What happened?"

"I said something stupid."

As all men, from time to time, invariably did. "What did you say?"

Severin sighed. If his typical sigh span was anything like his father's, 'something stupid' was an understatement. "If I tell you this, will you promise not to tell anyone? And not to hold it against Rina, or judge her, or try to get me to find someone else?"

Thetis raised an eyebrow. Good to know she'd been suitably subtle about her distaste for his sister Alyssin's husband. Rina, at least, she liked. "Yes, of course. I promise all of that."

"All right. See, when she was younger, she had, uh... some sort of an infection." He bit his lip, as if it was the best word he dared use but it wasn't quite right. Thetis didn't press. "Anyway, because of this, it's... well, I don't know if it's impossible, but it's unlikely she'll ever... conceive a child."

Her gut clenched. Had she been the sort of mother who swatted her children, Severin's ears would have been red with the remnants of her palm. That poor girl. "Severin, you'd better not have given her a hard time about that."

"No! Actually, I tried to do the opposite and told her I didn't want kids anyway."

Oh, boy. "You didn't."

"What? You know I don't like kids. What's so wrong with not wanting to have them?"

"Nothing. But unlike Rina, you have a choice in the matter. She doesn't need constant reminders about other people's luxury of 'wanting' or 'not wanting', at least not before she's settled and has another focus." She took a hand to the back of her neck and rubbed. "Believe me, when a few years go by and she still has her nice thin waist, she's going to have to put up with a ton of nonsense from more people than you'd believe. She doesn't need any more from you."

"But I--"

"No buts. It's a rough thing for a woman to be married solely for the purpose of having children. It's a rough thing for a woman to be denied any chance of marriage because she can't have children. I can't imagine it's any easier, being married solely for the lack of children. When two people can discuss what they want, and they both have a say in the matter, it's important to agree. But if one of them has no say in the matter..." What to say when that happened. Poor, poor Rina. "Then the other person has to be there for them. You have to let her know that there's at least one person in the world who doesn't care whether she has no babies or a hundred."

"So it was a stupid thing to say."


That wasn't the end of it.

"Do you think she can forgive me?"



Van said...

Sick. :(

Ekho said...

Trust Thetis to speak the truth! Severin definitely needs to take the advice and think about what Rina's going through!

Van said...

Thetis to the rescue!