Story 62


She stepped out of the house and got into her car. She drove out on the silent street at a slow and steady speed until she reached her usual spot – a long stretch of deserted road and then she revved up the engine. She unfastened her seat-belt, switched off the air-conditioner and opened the windows. She drove at full speed, the warm night breeze felt good against her skin, her hair became a mess within no time. She continued driving and when she reached the dead-end, she made a quick turn without decreasing the speed of the car. The car screeched disturbing the silence of the night. She continued driving at same speed. For a moment she considered taking an abrupt turn and going off the road. 




She hit hard on the brakes the moment the thought entered her mind. Her head hit the steering wheel and the blow resulted in a bump on her forehead. She took a deep breath and then fastened her seat-belt. She was not suicidal, not at all. She was simply frustrated. She did not understand why the thought had entered her mind in first place. It was as if someone else had worked their way into her mind and were whispering bad thoughts – suicidal thoughts. She closed her eyes and rested her head on the head-rest of the seat. The silence of the night filled her, the soft breeze soothed her and somewhere at a distance an owl hooted. And, within seconds of hearing that sound she was abruptly thrown back into the past.


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She was pregnant. That day she was sitting on the porch of their farmhouse. Her husband was out on a business trip. She loved being there, alone and amidst the nature. She was drinking the herbal tea made by the caretaker. After finishing the tea, she placed the mug on the table and closed her eyes. Somewhere at a distance an owl hooted and she heard weird noises from behind her. She opened her eyes and saw the caretaker muttering something; it seemed as if he was in a trance. The man opened his eyes and then stared at her womb. She freaked out and asked the man to leave her alone. The man told her that it was a bad omen. She did not believe in omens – good or bad. The man moved closer to her, with one hand extended, as if trying to make her understand something. Something, she did not want to believe. 
“Go away” she yelled moving further away from the man.
“Come with me. We must go and meet with my ancestor” the man said in broken English. 
“Get out, leave me alone” she screamed.
“Not good for baby” he said. That was the last thing she had heard then. The last thing she saw was the concern on the man’s face as he rushed towards her while she felt dizzy, lost her balance and collapsed on the floor. 


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She opened her eyes but could not see. She wiped the tears with the back of her hand and the scene unfolded in front of her. The street lights seemed too bright for her tear-filled eyes. The silence was too much to bear. It made her feel as if she had gone deaf. She pushed the button on the player and let the soft music fill her car and her mind. She calmed down after some time and took a deep breath. It was time to go home. She started the ignition and stepped on the accelerator. She decided to drive at full speed as long as she could; once she reached the end of the stretch she changed gears and drove the remaining distance in a slow and steady speed.


He was still asleep, lying in bed on his stomach. The bed-sheet a tangled mess. She kept the car keys in place and changed into her night clothes. She slid in bed and pulled the bed-sheet over her body. She felt him stir in his sleep. She stared at his face. He was as peace, totally unaware of the chaos going on in her mind. She couldn’t get enough bed-sheet to cover herself because most of it was stuck underneath his body. She did not want to pull it away from him and expose his nudeness. She was already feeling bad about what had happened earlier. Not that she had done it on purpose; it just didn’t feel right – not when she was in this frame of mind. He’d not complained, though. He kissed her, got off of her and slept on his side of the bed. Just like that, within minutes, he was fast asleep and snoring. And then she had slid out of bed, put on her clothes and walked out of the house.


She thought about the days when she wanted it badly and he was too tired. He never refused her advances but could not keep up either. That left her agitated, she could never sleep even though he slept moments later after apologizing to her. How could he be so lenient with her? How could he put her before his desires? Maybe because he knew what she was going through. He turned in bed to lie on his back and she pulled the bed-sheets further. She shifted close to him, feeling the warmth of his body underneath the bed-sheet. She placed a hand on his chest and the warmth filled her. He muttered something in his sleep and she smiled. She remembered their conversation when she had told him that he talked in his sleep and he refused to accept. She’d told him that she would record his voice someday.


It was years ago. She had said that years ago and she had not recorded the sleep-talking. He talked in his sleep almost every night. Almost always it was about his work but sometimes, he whispered ‘I love you”. Tonight was one of those nights. The words became clearer as he repeated the words in his sleep and then she could not take it any longer. She started crying. She did not know whether it was because of her tears that tickled his armpit or was she crying loudly despite her attempt to not make any noise; but he woke up and felt her presence close to him. He did not ask her what was wrong, why was she crying. He simply turned to face her and pulled her closer. She continued crying, her face against his chest; his hands running through her hair. He knew exactly what she needed and when she needed it. He loved her that much; she wondered whether she could ever love him the same.


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When she opened her eyes she was in a hospital. Her husband was sitting on the chair next to the bed. He was holding her hand. She still felt dizzy. She closed her eyes and opened them again, she looked at her own body in shock. When she had opened her eyes before something had seemed wrong and now she knew what it was. The bump was gone. The nausea hit her hard and she vomited even before her husband could reach out to hold the pan in front of her. The stench of vomit filled the room as the vomit splattered on the floor. The nurse and the ward boy came rushing in. Within minutes the room was clean and exactly as it was before, as if nothing had happened or changed; but her life could never go back to what it was before, she could never pretend that nothing had happened and her life was changed forever. 


The fall had resulted in abortion. She had lost too much of blood and it was a miracle that she was alive. A miracle she was not really happy about. Her husband stayed with her till she recovered and was discharged from the hospital and when she shifted to the farmhouse, he went away, forever this time. She did not try to reach out to him, she did not try to find out where he was, whether he still stayed in the same house, their house or he had moved away. She simply let him go. He’d left the farmhouse to her but she could not stay there, not after what had happened the last time she had been here. He should have not brought her here. Or maybe he did because he wanted her to remember. He never even blamed her for what had happened, he never even tried to understand what she was going through, he simply left her alone – to live with the burden of losing two most important people in her life.
She started having nightmares and she screamed whenever she heard an owl hooting. She never believed in omens, now she was scared. She packed her bags and left the farmhouse for good


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“Wake up, it’s just a dream” she heard his voice. It seemed as if it was coming from far away. The chaos was too much, too many owls hooting and flying over her head, as she ran from one room of the farmhouse to another. She concentrated on his voice until it became loud and clear, “Wake up, it’s just a dream”. She opened her eyes and saw his face, concern written all over. She closed her eyes momentarily and opened them again, he was still there, staring down at her. He was real. She pulled him closer and kissed him on the lips. Confirmed that he was not a part of the dream, she let him go. He’d not kissed her back; she had not given him the time to recover. One moment she was screaming and the next moment she had her lips on his. 
She was sweating profusely. He switched on the air-conditioner and she took off her clothes. He was not sure what he was supposed to do; so he let her decide. He lied down in bed facing her; she moved closer and went back into his arms. She fell asleep.


“Good Morning” she heard his voice as she shifted in bed. He had brought her breakfast. He handed her his shirt and waited as she put it on. He placed the breakfast tray in bed and kissed her on the lips. 
“Good Morning” she whispered against his lips. Her stomach growled and she ate more than her share of the pancakes. The way he looked at her, she knew he was glad that she was back to her normal self; well, almost. 
Certain things would forever remain engraved on her mind; the nightmares would return to haunt her but for now, this moment, she had come out of it. Just the way she had come out of the depression years ago – with his help. 
He’d come in her life when she needed support the most. They’d met when she was committed to a psychiatric facility. He was one of the staff members allotted to her. He had seen her during her worst times, he had stayed with her during the down phase. He had not run away when the nightmares terrorised her. He had stayed, held her hand, helped her to come out of the most challenging phase of her life and the depression that followed a few months later. 


She believed she was broken and no one would ever consider being a part of her life. Her husband had abandoned her when she had needed him the most. She did not expect anything from anyone and was genuinely surprised when he had proposed marriage. She’d said yes, of course, but she had not known that the nightmares had not left her forever. They returned, same day every year. She screamed, she abused him, both verbally and physically as he tried to wrap his arms around her but he stayed. Despite everything he stayed. He stayed even when she told him that she did not want to get pregnant again. He told her they could adopt. She told him she did not want kids; he was okay with it too. 


Then, how could she blame him for forgetting the anniversary of nightmares? How could she blame him for forgetting that his wife had lost her child this day, years ago. How could she blame him for the attempt at having sex. No, she could not blame him. She had learnt to control her emotions, the agitation was out, but the dull aching pain in the chest and the depression refused to leave her. She had allowed him to make love to her but he had noticed her disinterest. She had seen it in his eyes as he remembered. He had kissed her and gotten off of her and had slept. He should have held her and comforted her, she had thought before sliding out of bed, putting on her clothes and walking out into the cold night.


She came out of her reverie as she felt his fingers over hers. He was trying to hold her hand. Wordless support. She let him hold her hand and then rested her head on his shoulder. It would be a couple more days until she would be ready again for having sex, but she knew he would understand. He would wait for the tentacles of her past to leave her alone and disappear in the deep recesses of her mind. 

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