As I look at my sleeping baby, I m awestruck, yet again -at her beauty, at life and at being the person I have become. I was a career woman and someday maybe I will resume being one, maybe I will learn to re-love the limitless stress, the endless meetings and the ladder that I hope to climb. Maybe, I will learn to re-love the adrenaline rush I used to get when I set to work, the cubicles, the smell of coffee and sandwiches, the overcrowded lifts, the swiveling chairs, the conference rooms.But today I am just a mom, who is exulting in the little thing she has co-created,who loves the smell, the touch of her baby, who looks forward to playful giggles,the crawls and the cuddles, who wakes up in the middle of the night just to hear her baby‘s breaths, whose heart sinks when her baby cries and for whom all colors of the rainbow make up her baby‘s laughter…my role as a mom has completed me for it has taught me what unalloyed happiness and love can feel like- pure,divine, magical.
She held her newborn grandson close.
‘ He is so handsome’, she said proudly, ‘he radiates a kind spirit’.
‘He sure does’, beamed her son.
‘He will take care of you when you are old’, the old lady looked at her son, her eyes giving nothing away, none of the pain, none of the longing, none of the questions. Maybe this time, she thought, she hoped.
‘Of course, he will’, said the son.
‘Uh, we better get going. You take care’.
She kissed her grandson’s forehead, a silent blessing passed her lips and slowly, reluctantly she handed him back to her son.
They walked away.
Had she seen a glimmer of guilt in her son’s eyes? Was he remorseful? She will never know. She did not want to know anymore. Her last strand of hope had just broken, her frail heart could hope no more.
She slowly walked up to the window of the tiny room and looked down at the yard.
Her son, with her grandson in his arms was getting in the car as a chauffeur held the door open.
She closed her eyes and said a prayer, again gave a blessing. When she opened her eyes, they were gone. She continued looking, trying hard to capture the silhouette of her son, her grandson, her blood.
The Old Age Home, the yard, the window had just been witness to yet another breaking heart, yet another hope dying. A hope that death comes in a place where life had been – Home, that is.
She stripped off her dress and stood in front of the mirror. That tiny scar below her left eye, the first time, the first beating,twenty days after a fairy tale wedding. A minor glitch; happens in all marriages, she had rationalised, not wanting to take off the rose-tinted glasses that she had just put on.
Her eyes moved to a long thin line in her midriff. A mishap at the stairs, tripped, silly me, she had told the nurse who had stitched her up.
I hit the wall while heading to the bathroom at night, she had told a concerned friend who questioned a black eye.
A string of lies, so skilfully told that sometimes she believed them herself. Years of practice.
There had been a lot of time to walk out, leave him, start over. But she had waited, hoped, prayed that things would get better. He did seem so sorry in the mornings. I will stop it, I promise, he kept telling her. She kept believing him.
By the time her body filled with scars and cuts,
it was too late. She had died a thousand deaths every night, till she no longer felt the pain. Pain and love were cremated by her in the same grave.
She gave a final look at the bruises she could see, and those only her heart could feel as she got dressed.
Kicking her bloodstained clothes aside, she sat back on the armchair and placed the 911 call.
There is always time to walk out, leave. Not just for her. She had waited too long.
“I have killed my husband”, she said into the phone, not looking at the lifeless body lying on the floor.