Monday, August 29, 2016

Till Death Do Us Part

Just the other day, Saffy came home to find Amanda sprawled on the lounge with her iPad.
            “What are you doing?” Saffy asked.
            Amanda looked up with a frown. “You know, there are days when I really think I should not be reading the news.”
            Saffy collapsed into the armchair next to Amanda. “Oh, I never read the news.”
            Amanda blinked. “What, ever?”
            “Ever. Unless it’s about the Kardashians, of course. But even then. When they went to Armenia, I skipped that news cycle. Too much reality. And before you ask me what if it’s really important,” Saffy rushed on, her bosom swelling slightly with urgency, “well, if it’s really important, someone will tell me about it. I don’t need to read about it. Spoils my day. Why, what’s happened?”
            Amanda hesitated. “Well…I was just reading about this couple in Germany. Listen to this: ‘A man strangled and dismembered his wife, encased her head in concrete and then used the concrete block as a weight to drown himself in an Austrian lake, police have said.’”
            A silence descended over the room. You could tell Saffy was slowly processing the information.
            After a while, Amanda added, “And that’s just the first sentence!”
            “How old were they?”
            Amanda scrolled down her iPad. “He was…72 and she was 71.”
            Saffy exhaled slowly. “Honestly, you think you know someone. You marry him and suddenly, he’s chopping off your head! I mean, what kind of a marriage is that?”
            “Maybe she was really sick and this was like one of those murder and suicide pacts?”
            “Yes, but why couldn’t he have just given her an overdose of aspirin or something? Why cut off the head and encase it in concrete and then use that to drown yourself with?”
“It’s all so strange,” Amanda said. “Listen to the rest of the story: ‘Postmortem examinations suggested that the woman was strangled between 25 December and 1 January and that the man drowned some time later.’ That’s not very festive, if you ask me.”
Saffy sighed. “You think? You see, this is why I don’t read the news. Such a downer!”
            When Sharyn heard about the story, she rolled her eyes. “Aiyah, some people very drama, one! Engage, must hire a plane to write on the sky or hide diamond ring in the tee-la-mee-soo! Mare-ly, must also do big song and dance. Give birth, must video! How like that?”
            “It’s kind of sweet in a bizarre way,” Amanda said. “He must have loved her so much he couldn’t bear to let her suffer.”
            Saffy was unconvinced. She folded her arms around her ample bosom. “And chopping off his wife’s head was his way of ending her suffering?” she asked. “Please don’t do that to me if I ever come down with a terminal illness!”
            Sharyn nodded. “Hannor! I oh-so say.”
            For days, it’s all the girls have been able to talk about.
            Saffy says the whole episode has reminded her she needs to do a will.
            “Just in case!” she said darkly last night.
            “But you have no assets,” Amanda pointed out.
            “You don’t know that.”
            “But I do know that,” Amanda told her. “You once showed me your DBS bank account statement.”
            “Oh. Yeah, I did, didn’t I?” Saffy regrouped. “Well, I could marry Jason and he could die and leave me all his money!”
            I looked up from my lunch in alarm. “Please don’t kill me in my sleep,” I begged her.
            “What if you’re suffering in a major way?” Saffy asked, oozing innocence.
            “Not even then,” I said firmly. “Knowing you, you’ll make a mess of it.”
            Saffy’s bosom inflated.
            “I’m not defending you if you kill him!” Amanda said, a comment that led Saffy to post on Facebook the cryptic message: “You don’t know who your real friends are till there is a crisis.”
            Sharyn commented immediately: “Why, what happen?! Who? Tell!”
            It’s all made me think that Saffy is probably onto something with her refusal to read the news. I mean, what is the point? When was the last time you read anything uplifting in the newspaper, or watched something funny on Fox News? How about never? Behind every commercial break is something bad waiting to spring on you. Like a grandfather cutting off his wife’s head and then dipping it into concrete. Once you start with that kind of news cycle, it can only get worse.
            So, maybe that’ll be my new year’s resolution. Stay away from the news.
            And, maybe, Saffy too. I’m still a bit nervous about that look in her eyes.


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