Stori Cymraeg i fy.Mature

He was a bitter man, Ifan. He had a lot of pent up frustration. Jealousy was the main cause. As he was Jealous of anyone having more than him. His brother especially.

Eban had gone to the Americas some many years before and struck it lucky. Oil, his small holding had oil on its grounds, and almost over night he had become a different person. Ifan hated his letters, he wouldn’t even read the last few that had arrived, as he had screwed them up and thrown them on the fire to burn. I had scrambled to retrieve it nearly burning my piny, but could just about make out what all the fuss was about. Eban kept inviting us over to come and start a new life away from the hardship we faced here. But there was now way Ifan was going to give up on his fathers and forefathers farm.

I salvaged Eban and his new wife’s address and kept it tucked into a recipe book of my mothers on the old dresser in the kitchen.

Eban was a nice man, kind hearted, giving. He had a brain which he put to use, but when Sioned Ap owain broke his heart he took him self off, away from the small welsh village to London. Before finally departing for America.

But Ifan wasn’t always so bitter, at least he wasn’t as cold when we first started courting. But then he wasn’t big on romance either. And before I knew it we were married in chapel and then moved into the family home. His mother had not long passed away, which left his father even more useless around the place. As he suddenly became old looking and frail. This annoyed Ifan all the more, and so he eventually persuaded his father to move to his sisters house in the village.

So there was just Ifan and I in this cold stone dirty house.

With polish and spit, Seren and I soon had this house looking better, fresher. And with some jumble of old clothes we sat and sewed some cushions and curtains to brighten the huge kitchen. Ok they were a little jumbled, but I didn’t really care, as they put my own mark on the place, however small. Even though Ifan laughed and mocked our efforts, the kitchen was my domain and were I spent most of my time.

Ifan got more and more agitated and under pressure with the work load on the holding. He was angry at his brother from escaping and leaving him to it all. He would come in from a long day out in the weather, push his dinner round the dish, sometimes not eating it at all. But pushing his bowl hard till if was sent flying off the other side. Then he would shout some harsh words in welsh directly at me for not feeding him well enough. How I felt like picking the bowl up and throwing the contents back at him, but I bit my lip.

I would listen as I lay in bed, listen to him poke the fire downstairs, and talk to himself in cymraeg. Small cussing words that I could barely make out, as he would pound the stairs, making his ascent known. For me to know that he was coming.

Sometimes I would pretend to be asleep, or sleep in my clothes, for fear. Hoping that he would leave me alone. It worked in the beginning but now as his filthy hands roamed my body and tore at my nightdress, as he heaved himself onto me. Pushing and pulling as he managed to stab himself painfully into me.

Still smelling of the cow shed and whiskey on his breath, no doubt his hands not even washed. As I silently cried and waited for the ordeal to be over.

He would grunt and then push himself onto his side, leaving me there to cry myself to sleep, soon snoring for all the world to hear.

It was easier when Seren moved in, although at first he wasn’t keen on the idea, her husband persuaded him before he was sent away.

Now he had two women to boss and order around, although Seren always gave back what she had.

Quick on her tongue she was. He had slapped her round the face one night as we were just washing up from dinner.

And she astonished him and shocked myself as she hit him back with a cast iron pan.

Bruising his cheek, he had a black eye for nearly a week. He never touched her again.

He began to lay off on me, and slept more and more for the few short hours he had down by the fire in the easy chair. As he thought I was cursed for not giving him a son yet. Much to my relief.

I was kept busy with Ianto, Seren Haf’s son for most of the day, while she was out working the land. I would strap him to my back using a old sheet and wrap him up and walk the some 7 miles into the town to get supplies from the market and then walk all the way back. Bringing with me news on the war, any local gossip and if we were lucky some freshly made cheese from Cadir Idris’s farm.

I wanted a radio, but Ifan wouldn’t permit it, some people had Television in the towns, but not us. Ifan liked to keep me cut off from the world. He wouldn’t buy a car even before the war began, instead he would tightly struggle and walk his way into town in all weathers too. Hard like the land, and even harder faced like the times.

The End

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