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The Day She Stopped Crying [#ShortStory]

Her dreams were quashed somewhere in fulfilling those of others. She cried in the silence of the night for a life she dreamt of but could only live in her thoughts.

She wriggled out of her mother’s womb and entered this world with a ear piercing cry. They rejoiced her birth- crying is a healthy sign for a new born, they said.

She was a toddler now and she cried for more milk, more sleep. Ah babies cry for everything, don’t take it seriously they said.

It was her first day at school and she wailed, pangs of separation were making her sad. You have to study and become a big person like Papa. Be strong, you are a big girl now, they said

The boy hit her in the playground, she was but 8. She was too stunned to retaliate. Tears brimmed her eyes. That’s how boys are. Learn to move on and be careful next time, they consoled her.

She got her first period, the shame was more than the pain. The whispers and name calling by her classmates stung her. She was ashamed of being a girl. She shed tears of helplessness. A girl’s life is like that, these few days of impurity are always tricky, they sighed.

She was 15 and her skirt was pulled by some hooligans. Her eyes were filled with tears of rage. I will complain to the police, her voice quivered, but was held back by her family. Papa will drop you to school from tomorrow, good girls don’t get into such a mess, they said.

As a 21 year old who had dreams to work and get a taste of the real world, she was asked to “settle down”. Tie the knot. As a daughter don’t you owe this much to your parents? Let them be relieved of their responsibilities. “Am I a liability?” she shed silent tears as they rejoiced the new match.

It was their first night, her dreams were brutally shattered as he forced himself on her. There is no such thing as consent between a husband and wife, do I go to other women then to satiate my desires – he asked. She lay down closing her eyes as a tear trickled down.

She cried – tears of joy when she saw her little one for the first time. You shall not lead a life like mine, she whispered. Her family cried outside for it was a girl and abuses were hurled at her for not producing a male heir.

She was a middle aged woman now, a mother of 2. Toiling from dawn to dusk, cooking, cleaning, attending to the needs of her husband, kids and in laws took a toll on her health. Her dreams were quashed somewhere in fulfilling those of others. She cried in the silence of the night for a life she dreamt of but could only live in her thoughts.

Mum please stay out of this, it’s none of your business – the words of her son were like a dagger piercing her heart. She retreated to her room, looked at the picture of him as a baby by her side and the years of sacrificing her dreams at the alter flashed before her. She cried like a baby that day. Tears for a life that she could never live.

She saw her daughter crying today, being forced to marry a guy chosen by her family. I want to study, I have dreams she pleaded. What dreams? A girl’s dreams should be confined to the kitchen and her husband they barked. Something snapped inside her.

A fleeting image of her daughter being married forcefully and living the same drudgery day after day, stifling her dreams and dying one day.

No this will not happen, I will fulfill my promise. She will live a life on her own terms. She will not die with remorse of a life not lived.

Today there were no tears in her eyes, she stood there blazing eyes and strong resolve as she reclaimed her life and that of her daughter.

The day she stopped crying is the day she started living.

Published here earlier.

Image source: Vimeo

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