“A Temporary Matter”
By Jhumpa Lahiri
1. The story is about the marriage of the 2 main characters, Shukumar and his wife, Shoba. The story begins when Shoba, returning home from the gym, finds a notice from the electric company letting the people of their street know that nightly there will be an hour long outage while they are repairing some lines that had been downed during their last snowstorm. Shukumar is comparing the differences in his head from his wife the way she was when they had wed three years earlier to the way she was now, comparing everything from the way she used to look, to how she used to cook and treat him when they were first married to the way it is now. The couple has no candles in the house except for some birthday candles and so they decide to eat dinner together which is different from normal. When dinner is ready and the electricity goes out, Shoba tells Shukumar that when she was little and the electricity goes out that her grandmother used to have everyone say something that no one else knew. She begin by telling Shukumar about a time when they were first dating that she looked through his address book to see if he had written her into it, and he admits that on their first date he was so enthralled with her that he forgot to tip the waiter and went back the next day to do so. Each night when the electricity goes out they tell each other something, and it becomes kind of a confessional in the dark for them. During the flashbacks, when Shukumar is recounting the things he used to love about his wife, he thinks about when she was pregnant with their child, and how he left her to go to a seminar, and she went into labor three weeks early. He thinks about how he felt when it happened, and how he felt terrible that he had left and not been there for her and their baby was born already dead. Shoba had never seen the baby or held it, she never even found out the sex of the baby. That was the turning point in their marriage, when things...
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