Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An explosive scene between Hannah and Afi

In this scene from The Sweater Curse, Gwen and her parents are preparing to leave their family homestead in Manitoba and move to British Columbia. This move was initiated by Doctor Hannah McNamara (Gwen's mother) accepting a position in a large Vancouver hospital.

And so we left.

Well, not quite. First we had to say a few good-byes. Most were tearful and heartwarming.

Mother gave her notice at the hospital. Nurses, staff, and patients organized a potluck dinner to send her off in rural-style. They shook her hand and wished her luck.

She glowed, her ego swelled, but she didn't care.

Tears were shed, hugs were given, but Afi's eyes were dry. His arms folded in front of his chest. His face was an angry shade of red and steam came out of his ears.

"I knew you were bad news the minute I met you. You have no respect for tradition, for our ways," he roared.

Mother roared back. "And you think a woman's place is in the kitchen, in bed, or under your feet."

"Kris, be a man. Control your woman." My dad's face was white; he gulped, but didn't say a word. This battle was between Mother and Afi. "I knew you wouldn't act to defend our ways. You've never had a backbone. Your mother coddled you, and now look at you, you're not a man. You're a mouse. You let this woman walk all over you. You let her rob you of all you have. You don't stand up to her or teach her to mind."

My dad said nothing in his defense, but Mother tried. "Don't talk that way to him. He respects me."

Afi ignored her, didn't even look at her, simply continued his tirade. "You've turned your back on family history, on our way of life, and you've endangered the survival of the family farm." He glared at Mother. "If our ways aren't good enough for you, then you aren't good enough for us. Get the hell off my land. Leave. Now!"

All families operated by a code. Taboos were made clear, if not by words, then by their lack. Afi made the family rules. We'd broken them.

If we were Mennonite or Hutterites, we would have had a word for it. We would have called it shunned, but Afi was Icelandic-Canadian. We read our fate on his bitter face and quickly left.
Next post:  randomly blogging
I have a few topics fighting for dominance in my brain, but--at least at this point--the topic will be a surprise for both of us.


Anonymous said...

Oh yes -- I remember this scene!

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Hi Laurie
Thank you for commenting. : )