Friday 19 April 2013

'Half-Man' by Tunde Farrand

It’s the 8th of March. International Women’s Day. Listening to the radio there’s a smart male voice, making a formal speech on the big occasion. Very impressive. Reminds me of the same day, so many years ago.

That day there was a school assembly in the sports hall, where all students and we, teachers were crammed in for this very special presentation. Mr P’s fascinating speech sent a shiver down my spine. I still remember his exact words.“Without our women we would be half-men. And a half-man is not a man.” I was not the only one who had a small crush on him. Such things happen in a closed environment and it was so easy with Mr P, the handsome, perfectly dressed Math teacher. Unlike most teachers marred by the bitterness and injustice of their profession, he never failed to say a cordial hello and always had a kind word for everyone. He simply adored his two daughters and loved sharing various anecdotes about them. Most female teachers were envious of his wife, Eve; we would have given everything to swap places with her. Listening to the perfect man with the perfect speech, I kept asking myself: “Could he get any better?”  His presence commanded silence while his soothing tenor filled the air. “We are here to celebrate the joy, the beauty and the never-ending support they bring into our lives. Mothers, sisters, wives, daughters! In the name of mankind, I thank you all.”Storm of applause followed. Then flowers to all women. Then chocolates.
The week after, we heard, Eve had been taken to hospital. She had severe bruises all over her body. She fell on the stairs, people whispered. I wonder if I was the only one who knew they didn’t have any stairs in the house.

I turn off the radio abruptly before it makes me throw up. I wonder if Mr P has managed to upgrade to be a half-man since. I doubt it.


  1. A concise and very powerful piece.A story within a story. I like the way the author uses the reference to the radio programme to introduce and finish the main story. As this piece is so brief, the words had to be selected very carefully to convey the meaning and all the subtleties of human emotions. The language used makes one feel as if they were there - where the story takes place. I find the subject matter of the story fascinating - a discrepancy between the appearances and real life, the image of themselves that people project and their darker side.

  2. Thank you for your lovely comment, Dominika.


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