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A cold, eerie calm settled on her. She knew what she had to do. She had constructed this world with her own hands, and she’d destroy it with her own hands in turn.
Ritika hated being alone in the house, but being alone at home was expected of her, but a ‘house’ wife. Whenever she was alone, thoughts consumed her. She felt trapped, crushed under the weight of her own mind. It hurt.
Every part of her body was entrenched in pain, no thanks to her husband. He’d taken to come home late, too late for her to even stay up, but she was too scared to say anything. Her kids were all out of the house…she was all alone.
Alone, alone, alone…
Darkness slow and deep, quiet, still, unmoving, unbreathing in a dark, sugary sleep: no pain, no joy, no sight, no sound, no taste; she remained floating, distant. She wouldn’t wake up, she’d stay in this cotton-wool world, its soft, sleepy music lifting her up through the roof, the banisters, the rooms up above, through the entire weight of the building, its steeple. She rose like a wisp of cloud.
She lit a match, and was ready to watch the house burn — but something persisted. Something stopped her in her tracks, stayed her hand…
The face of her lovely child, playing in this house. The smile of her husband, offering her an anniversary dance.
She sighed, blowing out the match. Things would have to wait… she knew it was not right, and yet…this dreamy escape she had created for herself seemed so tantalising. She could scarcely take it, but she had to.
So instead, she sat down and wrote. This was the only way for her to escape.
Sorry, my lovely husband, for the many times I told you I didn’t feel like coming to party. I just couldn’t be in the same room with her. I know you said it was a one-time thing, an accident. But then, I can see it your eyes. We have been married 30 years now, and I know.
Sorry Mama, I couldn’t fulfil your dreams to become a top-notch business magnet. I couldnt manage my inlaws, my kids and my job. I couldn’t be the super girl you wanted me to be.
Sorry, dear daughter Ria, for always calling you Roshan. For never knowing, never letting you be who you truly were. For letting you slip through my grasp and run away from home before you told me that you were Ria, not Roshan.
She could not continue this life anymore. She had not achieved anything. Neither at home, nor otherwise.
God, what was she doing? She looked at the knife, heard the water rush into the bathtub… and lay her head down on the desk and sobbed. Did she want this or not, she wasn’t sure.
She wanted… everyone to be happy, and she wasn’t sure she could do it.
Did she have to?
Did she have to live for her kid, who would be devastated without her? Did she have to life for for her mother for whom she was the only support?
And she knew, she would have to do it for herself. She didn’t have any other option.
She picked up her phone and scrolled through google for a few seconds.
“Hello?” She said. “I’m calling to book an appointment with a therapist?”
This story had been shortlisted for our February 2021 Muse of the Month short story contest.
Image source: ArmOrozco on Pixabay
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I am Janani Balaji. A grade 10 student, 15 years old and passionate about writing
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