Some stories need to be told even if it is sure to make you sick and uncomfortable.I want this piece to deeply unsettle you, disturb you, pull you out of your very equilibrium, to the extend that you decide to take that time to look around you and stay alert. And if you don’t want that, you can navigate back right away and spare yourself the horror.
And Yes! This is absolutely a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. However my protagonist and antagonist do have ideological and emotional resemblance to many many people, both living and dead.
Before I drop more clues on the story line and its relevance, I will start my narration.
Once upon a time there lived a woman. She learned that destiny works in mysterious ways when he asked her to marry him. She did not quite know why the most popular guy in the neighborhood picked the most invisible woman around. He was the youngest one down a family tree of proud businessmen and their marriage had been a major affair in the village. The flowing white gown, the orchids and lilies, the velvet cake- everything about their marriage was just too beautiful to be real. They lived in his prodigious mansion overlooking the meadows and mountains with his parents, brother, his wife and their baby Aliya- their sunshine.
He helped his mama cook her favorite fries and read out the news to his aging papa. He would often come back from work early to spend his long evenings with the family. Most Saturdays he would babysit Aliya while her parents took their well-needed break. He would take the baby in his tender hands with so much of compassion that even the sight would melt your heart. He would hum a feeble lullaby and disappear along the misty corridors and let the music echo around the house.As if by magic, in a few minutes, the baby would slowly stop mewling and fretting.
Despite everything being so close to perfect, she was not happy. She felt a kind of emptiness within herself and assumed that he wasn’t really happy with her. Yes, he always had his dinner with her, but he was always metaphorically miles and miles away. He was gentle with her in bed but he never looked at her in the eye or whispered sweet nothings in her ears. Eventually, she figured that this indifference was something to worry about. Determined to make some serious amends to brighten up the marriage she broke the news of her pregnancy to him. He was ecstatic and she knew things would change for the best now on.
One of those days, she decided to take a walk along the hazy corridors watching the pansies and violets that filled the walkways which looked like an amazing collage of the most splendid colors. The baby was coming in a few weeks and she felt distinct waves of excitement and thrill pass down her spine all the time. She kept moving forward, running her fingers along the sides of the wall as she passed. She noticed a window to the play room left open and leaped on to close it shut because she did not want Aliya to catch a bad cold.
Young Aliya was in deep sleep, her tiny chest moving up and down like a piano playing a mystical symphony. She kept looking at the toddler for a few seconds and slipped a hand on her own bulging tummy to feel her cousin move within her to join the rhythm. Then, she saw her husband walk in to the play room. He cupped her face in his hands and planted a gentle kiss on her forehead. And then abruptly,as if taken over by an evil force, he was moving fast, and then faster, caressing and fondling with his niece as she watched in horror. The expression on his face grew more tense as she watched her husband pull the baby to his bare body. With each movement he made, she felt as if a heavy stab just slit through her bare skin. She watched in horror, cold and terrified, an image of her own husband turn into a monster. Before he could lower her down any further, she closed the window with a heavy thud. She saw him pull up his clothes and walk away in frenzy as soon as the sound of the slamming windows reached his eardrums. She pressed her tears and recalled in horror that the last time she had seen that expression on his face, she was under him.
She felt weak and helpless. Her immediate thoughts, contrary to what I would have liked, were not about calling the cops or about exposing the gruesome obscenity. She felt heinous and nauseous but somehow, she believed that no one would believe her. She did not know if she would be able to save the kid every time. She also knew that she did not have the strength to confront him or demand some serious explanations. That night she did not sleep. She spend hours with the phone in her hand wondering if she should dial 100. She thought of the vows they made at the wedding and decided that this was the toll she had to pay to conserve his honor. Everyone has an ugly secret. This was going to be her’s. Her betrothal to a vile pedophile.
She believed that with the arrival of their son, he would be a changed man. Until one day, only a few months later, she walked into their room to find Rihaan asleep right after his dad left the room with that familiar monster expression on his face.
“It is us today, it will be you tomorrow.” – Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia
P S: I do not know when or where we started loosing as a human race. We live in this society where the sacred bonds of being a father or daughter or wife or mother no more deter us from exercising horrible crimes like these which are not only detestable but are also atrocious and immoral. Sexual abuse is a terrible , terrible thing to happen to anyone. Having said that, it kills me to even dare to fathom the emotional and mental devastation that would be perpetrated on children who fall victim to these. Do they not realize that these leave a burning scar on the lives of the victim forever and ever ? Remember that atrocities like these- marital rape, domestic abuse, honor killing, cruelty towards women and elderly- keep happening because of people like you and me who choose to remain silent because we live in a delusion. We do not want to see our husbands or siblings or kids get punished even if that comes at the cost of posing a threat to many others. If you ask me, they need to be send to concentration camps, if not worse.I won’t guide the directions to your thought process beyond this point. You can be the woman in the story or not, it is your choice.