I Am Not Going Back To That Man!

'Where will you go? You stupid girl. You can't keep running from life. Your marriage is your life!' Savi's mother stood up, to have a look at the fish swimming in oil.

‘Where will you go? You stupid girl. You can’t keep running from life. Your marriage is your life!’ Savi’s mother stood up, to have a look at the fish swimming in oil.

‘Are you crazy? No woman in her sane mind would think of leaving her husband just because he doesn’t speak to her. This silent treatment and stuff are all bullshit you’ve got in your mind from the internet. Something might be wrong with you.. Otherwise you wouldn’t think of leaving a husband who earns in so well.’

Savi’s mother went on as she fried mackerels for her little canteen.
‘I can’t bear it Amma. He doesn’t speak to me for months for no fault of mine. I feel like I’m one more wall in the house’

‘Be a wall then. He buys good things to cook, clothes you, recharges your phone too. What else do you want? All you have to do is cook, clean, eat and sleep. Look at me, ever since your father passed away, I’m on my own. Running this canteen, guarding you and your sisters. I have a loan to repay. Don’t you come back to sit on my head again.’

‘I won’t come back to you. I’ll go away, never to return.’

At this Savi’s mother dropped the container of oil she held in her hands. She cast one swift glance at her daughter, her eyes brimming with tears.
‘What do you mean?’ she asked.

Savi was weeping. She was sitting on her haunches in a corner of the little kitchen. A cockroach ran beside Savi’s toenail and hid itself behind the innumerable steel utensils dumped under the kitchen slab. Savi stared at the red oxide floor, sobbing and refusing to look up at her mother who had now kneeled before her.

‘Don’t you dare do what your father did’ Savi heard her mother plead.

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‘No, I won’t kill myself Amma. I’ll just go away’

‘Where will you go? You stupid girl. You can’t keep running from life. Your marriage is your life!’ Savi’s mother stood up, to have a look at the fish swimming in oil.

‘I can’t go through it anymore Amma. He ignores me for weeks together and when I ask him why he yells at me and throws the glasses on the floor shattering them to pieces. Later he wants to sleep with me and he makes me do so many things..’

‘Things? Why did you stop? Aren’t you ashamed of speaking of things like these between couples before elders.’

At this Savi, stood up with a sudden jerk in her body and walked out like one possessed. She marched into another small room where three mattresses were rolled and piled one over the other on the floor. Beside it stood an old iron cupboard. Savi banged open it’s door and pulled out her bundle of clothes. Before leaving with her bag, she snatched a scrap of paper that lay desolate on the old rickety chair beside the cupboard.

It read: ‘On the surface, all may seem calm, but things move forward exactly as they should, in tandem with an unseen natural rhythm..’ Savi watched the words on the paper. She had scribbled it only the previous night, while she lay awake thinking of her life. Writing was her way of venting out her frustration. She had hastily shoved the scrap of paper under her pillow when her mother had turned in her sleep. But the mother was too quick for her. Mother had grabbed the piece of paper, read it and demanded what it meant. That had created the whole racket in the morning.

Savi tore the scrap of her writing into tiny bits of pieces and threw it into the mouth of the wind as she crossed the threshold of her mother’s house.
While the tiny bits of papers went and hid themselves on the bush of pink Bougainvillas, Savi walked like one doomed. She could not go to her husband again. She did not want to. Her feet took her to a public park. A stone bench in the park was eagerly anticipating the arrival of anybody who could ease its boredom. It was overjoyed when Savi chose to be seated on it.

Savi however, knew nothing about what the stone bench thought or felt. She was lost in her own woes, and sat there for a very long time. She was actually counting how many times her stomach rumbled, when she heard footsteps behind. She turned quickly.

‘I was searching for you. You’re mother called me.” came the gruff voice of the large moustached man.

She looked away.

‘Don’t be silly. Get up quick and come home.’

‘I’m not coming anywhere’ Savi heard herself speak.

‘Will you sleep here? You shameless whore…’

‘Mind your language..: her anger was rising.

‘Get up then. Don’t create a scene here.’

‘No I’m not..’ Savi heard herself scream. A few dog walking men and women came around to see what was the matter.

The large moustached man retreated silently.

As Savi watched her husband leave, her phone quivered slightly. She looked into the screen to find a new mail.

Congratulations, it said, you’ve been selected for the job.

Savi breathed a sigh of relief.

This story had been shortlisted for our December 2021 Muse of the Month short fiction contest. The author-juror Ranjani Rao said about this story, “You need to stand up for yourself no matter what.”

Image source: YouTube

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A mother and a writer intrested in writing things that matter read more...

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