No not again, God cannot be unfair to me always, can he? I run as fast as my little legs could carry me. Away from the hell hole called home. Fresh hot teardrops roll down my cheeks. But this time I don’t stop them. I let them flow. Panting I reach the only place that calms me and provides me with hope to live – the temple on a hill top. It’s around two kilometers from my home and in a small town like ours there are not many places one can go. As I sit on the bench that gives an overview of the village, those images come haunting me again. My mother curled up in a corner as my jerk of a father hits her with a leather belt and kicks her until she bleeds from the mouth and passes out. It is an everyday thing. He comes home drunk. Unfortunately no one comes to our rescue; sometimes it happens out on the street where people are the silent spectators of my mother’s misfortune. I have tried intruding many a times but I was pushed away as my mom said,” Raju you stay out of it”.
How can I see that nights after nights and behave normal when its dawn. I cannot pretend like she does, every morning to be the perfect family. Even the world out there knows we are not, they must be even talking about us and cracking a joke or two, then why all this drama and for whom? My mom is a beautiful person you know, Except for all those bruises and the heart breaks. She is a different person when he is not home, just like a normal mother as she cooks me good food, narrates stories and plays cards with me. But as the dark shadows of night enclose our household she turns cold to everything, I don’t see that warm light in her eyes anymore and her smile seems distant like she is breaking inside but cannot do anything about it. I am scared of her then because she does not look like my mom; she just becomes a body with life. I remember last night when I went to her after he left, I placed my palm on her head and she whimpered in pain. That voice gave me chills and my blood ran cold as I hugged my pillow and cried myself to sleep. It is like my life is divided in two parts the warm mornings and chilly nights the former that I yearn for and the latter that I dread.
I even complained to police uncle once. But my mom refused to give any statement. And that day I recall as my jerk of a father comes home furious, with blood shot eyes and unstable steps he barged into their room and hit her even more. Mom says we don’t have anyone to support us except him; I won’t be able to go to school if we leave him. Also the society won’t let her be. But is going to school more important than my mother being alive? And which society it is to let her die this slow poisonous death? Once I suggested mom to give him something in the food and kill him so that we can live happily ever after but she slapped me and did not talk to me for two full days in the form of punishment. There are times when I don’t feel like going back home and just get lost somewhere but then I think of her, the way she cuddles me in the morning, the ice cream we have in the noon when she comes to drop me to school, the way she feeds me even when I say I am full. How can I leave her alone?
One day when I am a big man and will be able to support my mother I will throw that jerk of a father out of our house. I will never let mom cry thereafter. I will make sure that I make up to her for all those years she suffered under him for me, so that I can go to school. I will make her forget everything and then it will be just me and her in our own little world where there is no man who disrespects woman and there is no society that witnesses it all in silence.
“Raju, what are you doing here?” I heard her say. “Get away from there you might fall”.
I turn and see her limping as she takes slow steps towards me. I run and hug her around her legs and cry burying my face into her sari. She pats my back and lifts me up. I see her face the dried blood stains and the cut on her lips as I slowly run a finger along it, a lone tear escapes her eyes. I bury my face in the crook of her neck and let my arms go around her shoulder tight as if never letting her go. ‘I love you mommy, always have and always will”, I murmur as I let the sleep overcome me.
Note: This is for all those people out there surviving in an abusive relationship or marriage. There are people in your life breaking with the every blow that comes your way. Make sure your choice is not wrong.