An excerpt

It was dusk. For most people it was the end of their day’s work as they were hurrying home to their family – who spread the warmth on their stony faces. But in Prabha’s house everything was quiet. Tonight nobody would be coming home.

“Just leave and never come back!” She had screamed at him.

He had reluctantly packed some clothes later in the evening and left with their six year old son.

She sat on the divan laid with a hard mattress and an old yellow bed-sheet, looking at the trees from her window, which were turning darker as the light dropped below the horizon. She did not turn on the lights in her house. There was gloominess within her which no amount of light seemed ever to erase. She sat very still going over the events that had transpired over the day and the last and she wept softly. Her heart seemed to sink every moment as the dark house began to haunt her. She looked just like the dark hous – dark and deserted.The traffic sound outside couldn’t drown the silence that seemed rather over powering, screaming, beginning to engulf her. Outside, the sounds of civilization continued unceasingly taking no account of the sadness which she experienced now.
Suddenly, she picked something from the table that lay close to her.
At that moment the street lights outside turned on as if surprised and in the light entering through the window, the blade of a knife glistened in her hand.
With one swift action she could have ended all her troubles she thought.
She held the knife to her wrist for a long time, procrastinating, thinking. What lay between the knife and the wrist was the delicate, innocent face of her son.
“I love you mom..” she heard him distinctly. And then she heard him. “You are a bad mother! you will ruin him in no time!”
She closed her eyes and strengthened her grip on the knife. As the cold steel touched her wrist, she shuddered and her heart started beating faster.
She began to wonder who would find her first as she bled here all alone, unknown to anybody of having committed such a horrendous act. She scanned all the faces she knew. Shocked weeping faces. Maybe his would reflect hatred. But suddenly the idea of lying all alone, blood stained, slowly retreating into the arms of death seemed distasteful to her. She was beginning to dismay at her cowardice. She had too many commitments – most of all to her son – to end up her life like this.
She threw away the knife and lay down on the divan. She was very tired and she felt sleepy. Deep within she knew that everything was going to be alright ina few days and that she would settle quietly again in her role as a wife and a mother.
She suddenly felt disgusted and started looking for the knife in a frenzy. She saw it lying on the floor, the light falling directly on it, and picked it up.But now she just looked at it as if shocked. She seemed to be making sure that after all there was a way out of it and that she was not choosing that way now.
She knew how it was going to end. She always forgave him. No wound was deep enough to replace the ones that she had received when she was growing up. But now she was shocked as she saw the unconscious desire of creating a family seemed to crumble – the desire that had erupted from being a part of a broken family. A family which was never complete and to which she still belonged.


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