Story 110

Continued from Story 109
The story starts here.

She walked to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and took out a bottle of cold water. She splashed some cold water on her face. That refreshed her. She gulped down some cold water straight from the bottle and walked towards the platform to prepare for evening snacks.

Her body had ached the whole day but now she felt the usual dull & severe pain in her lower back. It was her body’s way of telling her that she was about to get her periods. Her daughter walked out of the room and watched her standing near the kitchen platform, one hand on her waist.

“Are you going to fall sick?” her daughter asked, and she turned around.
“No” she replied and added, “What do you want for snacks?”
“Dosa” her daughter replied immediately. She knew her daughter was being considerate. She smiled and put the tawa on the burner, while re-heating the leftover sambar on the other burner. Her daughter was considerate to save her the trouble of preparing something fresh for snacks, but she knew she would have to make something for her husband. She settled for his favourite ‘upma’, it was the best option since it did not involve much efforts either. She took out onions from the basket and was about to start chopping when her daughter offered to help her chop the onions. She pulled her daughter close and kissed her on the head.

The onion was chopped, the Dosa was ready. Her daughter started eating her snacks while she went to the bedroom to wake up her husband. He was already awake, but still in bed.
“What are you making for snacks?” he asked.
“Upma” she replied.
“Make some bhajjis.” He said and climbed out of bed.
 She walked back to the kitchen and took out more onions from the basket. Her daughter watched her father walk out of the bedroom and said, “I think mom is going to fall sick.”
He looked at his daughter and said, “Your mother is fine, she is just tired. A good night’s sleep will make her feel better.”
He failed to understand that his daughter was trying to tell him not to burden her mother with additional work. She finished her snacks and washed her plate in the sink. She then offered to chop the remaining onions.
“Don’t you have homework to do?” he asked, and the girl silently walked to her bedroom.

She finished chopping the onions, added besan and chilli powder to it and put it aside. She kept water to boil on one burner for tea and oil in pan on another for the bhajjis.
The bhajjis and tea were served on the dining table. She filled a plate with some bhajjis and walked to her daughter’s room who was sitting at her study desk, reading a book. She placed the plate on the desk, kissed her daughter’s head and whispered ‘thank you’ and walked out of the room.

The pain was unbearable, like always. She tried to ignore the pain as she took out clothes from the washing machine to put them to dry on the clothes-line in the backyard, while her husband sat on the couch watching television.

She went through the same emotions each month. She feared she might go in depression if she succumbed to the thoughts. It was hormonal, no doubt, but its foundation was laid years ago. Her once caring husband had become an emotionless and arrogant man. The change of nature was due to an event that shook the foundation of their relationship. Thinking about the event made her choke. She threw her husband’s trousers back in the bucket and placed a hand on her chest. She could not breathe. She was about to have a panic attack and she could not call her husband for help. She knew he would not bother. She rushed to the bedroom, switched on the fan in full-speed and sat on the bed. She took out a paper-bag from the side-table drawer and started breathing into it. Tears smeared her face. She tried to calm herself, still breathing into the paper-bag. It took a while but finally she could breathe easily.

Six years after the birth of their daughter she had gotten pregnant again. There were minor complications in the pregnancy and she was advised bedrest. Her husband, then a loving and caring man, had taken care of her and the little girl as well. He took a leave from the office, he cooked for her, he took her to the doctor, he gave her medicines on time. He kissed her and told her he loved her. He assured her that everything would be alright.
The pregnancy progressed. His family doctor who was also a close friend of his told them that it was a boy. He was joyous. She was happy, too. She was worried, but he was not.

One night, couple of weeks before the delivery date she could feel nothing. She woke her husband and asked him to feel her abdomen for the foetal movement. He could feel nothing. He told her they’d go to the doctor in the morning. He held her hand as she cried. She could feel it, feel the disaster that was about to strike. He fell asleep, but she could not sleep.

They held hands as they waited in the doctor’s cabin to hear the update on her pregnancy. She knew. He knew, too, perhaps but he was unwilling to accept it. The doctor confirmed their fear. Their baby had died in her womb. His hand slipped out of her hand as the news was delivered. She looked at him, but he looked straight at the doctor. He did not even blink. That day onwards, he had turned into a different man – a man who was less human. Someone who did not empathize with her. They had the option to continue the pregnancy, wait till the labour started or induce labour. They decided to induce labour. She was hospitalised. He stayed with her in the room but when it was time to go in labour, he slipped out of the hospital without informing anyone. She faced the incoming wave of depression alone.

When the stillborn was out of her body, she held in in her arms and cried. She needed her husband, but he was not there. They took the baby away from her. She cried more. Doctors recommended going to a therapist. She considered it, he refused. He started maintaining distance from her. She was already feeling guilty for the loss of the baby. She needed someone to tell her that it was not her fault. The doctors had failed to give cause of stillbirth. Not knowing was killing her. She started having panic attacks; her PMS symptoms intensified, and her menses became painful. Each month was a torture she endured silently, hoping that her husband would empathize with her. But he did not.

“It’s not my fault” she had yelled at him in frustration one day, when he pushed her away as she had tried to get close to him hoping he would take her in his embrace. He had not replied, he had simply walked out of the house. He did that often.
She put a lid on her emotions, lest he walk out of the house forever.
She was still mourning the loss of her baby; perhaps, he was mourning too, in his own way. She mourned silently and so did he. The communication between the two dried.

There was one thing, she thought, would bring them closer. She had waited long enough for him to initiate sex; one night she did, and he pretended to be asleep. The next night he told her that he was too tired.
“Let’s make a baby” she told him one night and he looked at her as if she had gone mad. He pretended to respond when she touched him but finally told her that he was unable to have an erection. He climbed out of bed and stepped out into the backyard. She cried herself to sleep.

The next day he went to the clinic to get a Vasectomy. He told her when he came back home. She was shocked. It was a decision they were supposed to take as a couple, but he had gone ahead and taken it on his own. She saw a smile on his face, but it was gone when she looked again so she thought she had assumed it.
When he healed after the surgery he took her forcibly.

On one hand what he did hurt her immensely, on the other hand it helped her come out of the depression. She had finally given up on him. Had almost given up on the relationship. She survived for the sake of her daughter. She stayed with him for the sake of her daughter.
Things had changed irreversibly between them, he had changed and so had she.

“What are you doing?” her husband’s voice brought her to the present.
“Huh?” she asked trying to hide the paper-bag, but he had already seen it.
“I was calling out your name for past ten minutes.” He said.
“I am sorry.” She replied as if having a panic attack was her mistake.
“I am going out” he said and walked away.

She wiped her tears and got up from the bed. She had yet again hoped that he would show some concern towards her and she was disappointed yet again. She put rest of the clothes to dry on the clothes-line and went to the bathroom to refreshen up. She stepped out of the bathroom, opened the wardrobe and took out a sanitary napkin. The emotional rollercoaster time had begun. 

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silent whispers

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