September 28, 2011

Will You Still Love Me? - 2




A story of Insecurity after betrayal, hope after reassurance and ... Love after tears

Continued from HERE


HER - I paced back and forth at the bus stop, concious of the eyes savoring me, my body.. I tried not to look anywhere but the buses approaching. A few men spoke in low tones and grinned at each other. I steal a glance at them through the corner of my eyes. A fear too known, grips me. Do they recognise me? It is a warm evening. Even though I m dressed in a full sleeved salwar kameez, I shiver. I feel stark naked at this bus stop.

Someone tapped my shoulders lightly. I was startled and immediately the 'fright, fight, flight' mechanism of my nervous system is in place.

"Hey Payal, I think I scared you."
It was the same guy from office who introduced himself to me last week.
I realised I was sweating profusely and my face had gone pale, my lips colourless. I ran my tongue over my lips trying to usher in remnants of confidence.
"What do you think you are doing?" I shoot at him, immediately realising how viciously sharp my tone had become.
"Sorry Miss, but if you don't respond to your own name, please let us lowly mortals know what name you like to be addressed." he mocked me.
He was just the kind of people I was trying to avoid, who posed danger to me. People too much interested in my life and too reckless to know where to draw the line.
Payal... It would take time to get used to the name. I wondered if the name as purposely chosen to demean me.. To dethrone me from the place that I once occupied in everyone's eyes.
"What do you want?" I confront him to defend my own indifference to my new name.
"I do not need anything. Maybe you will need this tomorrow." he said flashing my ID card.. Oh crap! I had left it behind while signing out.

I muttered a "thank you" and quickly snatched my Id. I see the colour of his face change. I cringe when I see that my act hurt him and he walked away. In some other life I would have gone after him and apologized. Right now I regretted not carrying my pack of cigarettes in my handbag.

************




I reach the place where I have been staying with my uncle's family for more than 2 years now. This place could never be home for me even for a minute.

I get cold stares from my aunt to looks ready to spit venom. I recline in the small room that was once a store room.. It still is, in a way..

I hear aunty shout at uncle, "If anything goes wrong we would lose face. What were you thinking before taking her in? I tell you, this girl will ruin our name. I don't want her shadow on our daughter."

I m strangulated by the ghosts of my past, but not enough to kill me. I could try other ways to kill myself but I hold back knowing that the consequence would be worse..
I drift off to sleep once again hoping that I won't see tomorrow.

IT won't stop.. It is relentless, deligiently following me every night.. I m shaken again, my bed damp with my sweat. That hole left in my chest won't heal. The nightmares remind me every living hour of my past.. I look across the room.. A plate of dinner gone cold.. I eat few morsels.. Like a mother soothing a child and singing a soft lullaby to sleep, the pill that I swallow takes me to a dreamless world.




--Pulkit & Maithili--

(to be continued next Wednesday)

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