Written by: Kevin Gatti
Carabelle sat on her bed staring out her bedroom window. She was deep in thought. The fact that she had just learned that her parent’s where in an arrangement marriage earlier that day was weighing heavily on her mind. A part of her wanted to know more. She knew very little on how the whole process even worked. Another part of her was horrified by what the actual truth was.
She called Sasha on the phone. “Guess what I just found out?”
“What?” Sasha answered cautiously. Carabelle was now living in uncharted territory for Sasha. She feared what Carabelle was going to tell her.
“Did you know if you pick housewife as your box, you get arranged to someone to get married?” Carabelle asked.
Sasha was confused because in this world that was common sense. Everybody knew this. She didn’t know how Carabelle didn’t know, especially since her mom was a housewife. “Okay. And you didn’t know this?” She said back to Carabelle with a confused tone in her voice.
“I didn’t know. They mentioned this today. My parents never told me.” Carabelle replied.
Sasha was stunned. “That’s crazy that you never knew.”
“So, how exactly does that work?” Carabelle nervously asked.
Sasha explained, “Well, when a girl decides to be a housewife you interview for the job just like any other job. She applies to different men. If men are interested, then they reach out for interview. If the interview goes well then the man can choose to hire them, or ask them to be their wife.”
Carabelled was shocked. “Are you serious? Don’t you think that’s awful?”
Sasha rolled her eyes. “I mean, I guess you can say it’s dehumanizing, but what are you going to do about it, Carabelle? You’re only one person. It is what it is? That’s your problem. You want to change things that you can’t and you’re getting yourself into trouble. You need to just embrace what is and accept the world as it is.”
Carabelle was getting annoyed with Sasha. “But seriously, how are you okay with that? I’m not. So, is it just housewives that are arranged, or are all women in arranged marriages?”
“No. Just housewives, and that’s because it’s literally their job. House – Wife. Everyone else can pick who they want to marry.” Sasha explained.
“That’s ridiculous.” Carabelle scoffed.
“Carabelle! You can’t change it. There is no sense getting worked up.” Sasha said.
“I CAN IF I WANT TO!” Carabelle yelled into the phone.
“OW!” Sasha suddenly yelled in pain.
“Are you okay?” Carabelle quickly asked.
Sasha said back, “My box just pinched me. It’s fine. It was just the way I was sitting. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah… you do what you want Carabelle. I don’t care. I can’t stop you.”
The phone call between the two ended shortly after as it was clear they were not going to see eye to eye.
Later that night, Carabelle’s parents laid in bed under the sheets and without their boxes. Their boxes sat neatly next to the bed on each side right where you would think a nightstand would be. They sat ready to go for the next morning. Usually, Carabelle’s parents said nothing to each other, but this night, her dad had something to say.
“I have something I need to tell you.” Carabelle’s dad stated.
Her mom ripped off her eye covering and said, “What is it?”
Carabelle’s dad continued, “I’m having second thoughts about being a teacher.”
Carabelle’s mom said nothing in return. She just rolled in the opposite direction and closed her eyes, pretending she didn’t hear anything.
Carabelle’s dad continued to explain, “It’s just that I don’t think it’s for me. I’m hoping maybe they’ll let me change careers just one more time. It would be the last time I promise.”
“Stop talking.” Carabelle’s mom interrupted.
“What?” Carabelle’s dad asked.
“I said, stop talking. Go to sleep and never speak of this again.” Carabelle’s mom added.
Carabelle’s dad got defense. “No. I’m being serious. I think I need another change.”
Carabelle’s dad grew up on small farm. His dad had a farmer labeled box. His mom had a farmer labeled box because she worked in the field too. His grandparents each had a farmer labeled box. His older brother had a farmer labeled box. His cousin Randy Joe had a farmer labeled box. Everyone he knew had a farmer labeled box.
Then when decision day came for Carabelle’s dad he proudly stated, “I’m going to be an architect.” There was a loud applause at his school after his decision.
When he got home his mom looked at him confused. “Son, they spelled farmer wrong on your box.”
Carabelle’s dad had completely baffled his family. They would say to each other, “Karl is an architect? A what? Is that what they’re calling farmers now?” They just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. After trying for some time to coexist with his family, Carabelle’s dad realized he needed to move away. He left the farm he grew up on and moved to a big city. He then selected Carabelle’s mom to be his housewife. They got a place together and had Carabelle. They had what society would call the perfect family. Then Carabelle’s dad decided to be a teacher, with second thoughts to follow.
After Carabelle’s dad insisted in bed to Carabelle’s mom that he was serious about his second thoughts, Carabelle’s mom got up out of bed and put her box back on.
“What are you doing?” Carabelle’s dad asked.
Carabelle’s mom ignored him.
“I said, what are you doing?” Carabelle’s dad asked again.
Carabelle’s mom turned to the mirror on the wall yelled, “JOYCE!!!”
Carabelle’s dad was startled. “Are you okay?”
“I’m sorry. I need to go somewhere. I just need to.” Carabelle’s mom said as she left the bedroom.
“What is that supposed to mean? Where are you going?” Carabelle’s dad said as he got up to put his own box on. He wanted to run after her, but he was too late. By the time he got his own box on, she was already out the front door and driving away in the car.