Story 11

She was stranded on the road in the middle of nowhere thanks to a flat tyre. She was not supposed to be where she was; she simply wanted to get away from the routine, the frustration and the chaos. She would have changed the tyre on her own had the spare one not been punctured as well.

She was supposed to be working. Drafting emails, sending invites, replacing coffee gone cold with a fresh pot of hot coffee. She was supposed to be standing in front of her boss, eyes to the ground, wait until her boss finished talking over the phone and then smile the pretentious smile as he looked at her and asked her to sit. She was supposed to open the writing pad and take notes.

But, she was not doing any of that. She was here, stranded, waiting for someone to show up and get her out of the mess. 

Why was she here instead of working? It was thanks to her asshole boss who was fed up of his wife and was looking for some fun. Each day she would find a way to avoid being the ‘fun’ for him but eventually he would find a way to get to her. It irked her that the man had an erection merely by looking at her and she loathed that he did not try to hide it.

What was she doing working for such a man? Paying her debt, her bills and putting food on the table. She wanted out but the job paid really nice dough. The car she was driving was provided by the office. She was not supposed to use it as per her will but she cared a damn. The moment her boss had placed the palm of his hand on her behind on his way to a meeting, she had given her pretentious smile, waited for him to leave and then stormed out of the office, hiding the tears that sprang to her eyes. She drove out of the parking lot at full speed. She drove aimlessly, her vision blurred with tears.

Before she could realise she had driven through the traffic of Mumbai, taken the eastern express highway and drove past Dombivli and had kept going. The trip had turned out to be a disaster. Apart from the flat tyre, the other problem was she did not know where she was. She had left her mobile in office, not that it would have made much difference as far as figuring out the location was concerned. Her simple mobile phone was not equipped with GPS or any other fancy stuff. There was no one around she could ask for help.

She finally made up her mind that waiting there for someone to show up made no sense. She got up from the rock on which she was sitting. She looked to her left and then to her right. Which way to go? She wondered. Should she go back towards where she had come from or walk ahead and see if she could come across some population? She made her choice. She rolled up the windows of the car and locked the door. Keeping the keys in her jeans pocket she started walking. And while she was at it, she decided to make the most of it. There was no reason for her to panic, yet, she thought. It was still broad daylight. She absorbed the scenery around her and it calmed her troubled mind.

She walked for a little more than half an hour, her white shirt was soaked in sweat and her legs started to pain. She grew tired of walking straight on the main road and finally decided to cut through the inner lanes. A part of her was scared that she might get lost and a part of her told her that it was better than facing what was waiting for her at the office. 
Finally, after walking for fifteen more minutes she saw a few houses on both the sides of the road. She continued walking until she reached deeper into the populated area. A couple of minutes later she spotted a garage. The only mechanic working at the garage looked up as she arrived.

She told him about the flat tyre and he offered to help. He saw her tired face and sweat soaked shirt and handed her a bottle of water. He asked her to wait inside while he collected his tools to fix the puncture. After a thought, he offered to fix the puncture and bring the car to the garage and she could wait here for him. Even though she felt that it might be a trick to get the car to the garage and pick out more problems with the vehicle, she was glad that he had offered. She was in no mood to go back, not even on his two wheeler. She said okay and sat on one of the tyres lying around. He left on his motorbike. Before leaving he called out to a kid working in a tea stall asking him to get her a glass of tea. The mechanic had looked in her eyes as he spoke to her despite the fact that her bra was visible through her sweat-soaked white shirt.

There was a construction site across the road and the tea stall was crowded with the workers taking their break. The kid brought tea for her and she paid the kid. Her attention was drawn to one of the workers, a woman who was working alone at the site without taking a break. She saw a man walk towards her, perhaps the construction manager. He had a short conversation with her, the woman clearly seemed to be upset about what he was saying. She decided to walk a few steps closer to listen in on the conversation.

As she had assumed, the guy was the construction manager who was informing the woman about her performance on the construction site. He told the woman that his seniors were not happy with her work and had asked him to remove her from her job. The woman begged, told him that she had a family to support and she would work harder. 
The man then gave her an offer. All she had to do was spend a few hours with him, making him happy and he would see to it that she not only kept her job, but was also paid more. He told the woman he wanted to have some ‘fun’. 
Standing a few steps away from the scene, she noticed the bulge in the man’s trousers, clearly the woman had seen it too.

The man put his hand on the woman’s shoulder and what happened next threw the man off balance. The woman had slapped him hard across the face. Before the man could get up, she spat on him and told him that she would never come back to work on his construction site.
The woman walked past the people who were now staring at the construction manager lying on the ground.

She thought about what had happened earlier in the day. She thought about all the times she had remained silent through the abuse and she felt ashamed.

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silent whispers

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