Story 4

She was shattered when he finally made up his mind. There was nothing she had not tried, to stop him. Convincing, pleading, manipulating, emotional blackmailing, she had done it all. But, his heart was set on it. The decision was made. In other circumstances, she would have felt proud of his decision. Seeing him in uniform made her heart swell with pride. She respected what he was doing for the country. When people looked at him and then at her with envy, she felt taller than she was. Holding on to his arm, feeling the fabric of neatly ironed uniform, attending the functions organized for the army, being there with him made her feel almost complete. There was only one thing that remained to make her complete. And, now even that wish of hers was being fulfilled. 

They were in college when he had told her about his wish to join the army. He had been recently recruited when they got married. They had kept in touch through the phase of his training. Writing letters, talking late into the nights whenever he could. She had been very happy when he had returned home. She melted into his arms the moment he hugged her. Not bothering about the audience to their display of emotions she had kissed him standing amidst hundreds of people on the railway platform and then they had gone for a long drive instead of returning to their house full of people waiting to meet him, knowing too well that they would not get time to be with one another for at least a couple of hours. 

And, the fact was - he could not keep himself away from her for any longer neither could she. They had been to their farm house; a single storeyed building, with one room and a kitchen, surrounded by acres and acres of farm land. He had taken her not once but twice and as they lay exhausted in each another’s arms he had told her that he was to be deployed to the border. The way her body reacted to the news he had known he should have waited but the truth was that he was as excited to be deployed as much as he had been excited to be there with her, perhaps more. 


Sitting in her room, watching him pack his bag she could not stop herself from thinking about those days in the past when one part of her was sad that he was leaving soon again and another part was proud of him. As compared to that time, the present circumstances were different. The first time he had returned home soon to be with her. The first time she had not been hypersensitive, overprotective, susceptible to intense emotions or vulnerable and easily prone to tears – in short; the first time she had not been pregnant.

This time, however, she was. The hormones made it impossible for her to think rationally. She did not want him to go. She wanted him for herself. Being pregnant had made her selfish in a way. People admiring him when he was in uniform, attending functions organized for the army, and holding on to his arm did not make her feel taller, instead it filled her heart with dread. She feared losing him. They fought for the first time. She did not want him to go and he could not wait. He said he knew about his responsibilities for her and she should respect his responsibility towards the country. What about the responsibility towards the child, she had asked. That had made him furious. He had walked out of the house without saying a word. He did not come home until very late at night. 

She had been lying in bed, crying when he had come closer to her and kissed her neck. She had pretended to sleep. When she woke up in the morning, he was gone. She cried for days, locking herself in the room, not eating or sleeping properly until her in-laws had made her understand about her responsibility towards the child. One moment she had been furious and the next moment she collapsed on the floor, crying – realizing all of a sudden as to how he must have felt when she had tried to remind him of his responsibility for the child. She wrote letters to him but he did not reply. She convinced herself that perhaps he wanted to but could not.


She was eight months pregnant when she finally received a letter. He was coming back home. Happy tears rolled down her cheeks – he was coming home to her. Since he had served active duty at the time of war, he was relieved for a few months before he had to report back on duty. She eagerly waited for the day when he was supposed to arrive. And, when finally it did –she went to receive him at the railway station despite angry refusals from her in-laws. They did not want her to be too excited. How could she not be excited? Her husband was coming back to her and their child. The train arrived at the station and her heart leapt out of her chest as she saw him climb out of the compartment carrying his luggage on his own shoulders. She hurried towards him. He saw her and smiled, she hugged him. He kept the luggage down and wrapped his arms around her. Then he looked at her swollen belly and smiled.

They walked out of the station and she handed him the keys to the jeep. He drove. She was disappointed when he stopped outside the house, she had hoped to go to the farm house. She followed him silently as he entered the house. He had not spoken a word during the ride back home. Perhaps he was still angry. She would make it go away, she thought as she readied his bath. When he came to the room hours later, he walked straight to the bathroom and locked the door. She knocked and offered him a towel hoping that he would open the door and give her the chance to slip in. He told her to leave it outside the door. She was hurt. She went back to the kitchen to make snacks for him and when she came back to the room he was asleep. He did not wake up for snacks, he did not wake up for dinner. Assuming that he must be tired she did not try to wake him. Talking to him or convincing him would have to wait for a day, she thought.

She slid in bed and slept close to him, a moment later she put her arm around him. He woke up suddenly, screaming and sweating. He turned around and climbing on top of her he put his hands around her neck and tried to strangulate her. Fear gripped her heart as she tried to free herself. Struggling to breathe, when she looked into the eyes of her husband she saw darkness. The man sitting on top of her, choking her, was not her husband. The war had changed him.

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silent whispers

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