Not anymore! Not ever!

It was raining very heavily; almost ominously. Clouds engulfed the entire sky allowing very little light to pass by. It was early in the morning with the sun just waking up from its slumber and all that could be heard was the pounding drops on the roof and the lawn outside. Nina sat in one corner of the room with dark circles deeper than her beautiful yet gloom laden eyes. Her lips were swollen blue; clothes all withered and torn; hair dishevelled as she stared blankly towards the bed where lay her husband.

She slowly drifted her glance towards her hands which had scratch marks all over them. She raised her left hand bit by bit and gently put it over her lips which felt inflamed but no sooner than she laid her hand on it, a quiver ran through her body. It was painful; her body ached and so did her soul. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last she thought. She had woken up to similar mornings for the past ten years. She had woken up with the same insensitive husband for the past decade. She had lived all the way through till today and would continue to live through a troubled and abusive marriage. Somehow the pain was now a part of her existence. Her slow gasps no longer cried for respite. It has become a daily chore; yes her life was just reduced to a mere errand.

As Nina continued to be lost in thoughts, suddenly the door to her room opened and there stood her five year old daughter, Moina, infront of her. With curly hair upto her waist she was the absolute reflection of her mother. With a dimple on the right cheek Moina was the small angel in Nina’s life, the reason behind her tolerating the non-existent bond. As Moina slowly tip toped towards Nina and ran her small fingers through her face the latter couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with emotions.

Mom does it hurt?’ she asked in a whisper as Nina couldn’t even muster the courage to look Moina in the eyes. Tears slowly began to roll down Nina’s cheeks as she felt helpless for having her baby girl witness her mother in such a state.

Mom I love you, don’t worry’ saying that Moina innocently hugged Nina.

It wasn’t the first time. These mother daughter moments were a regular. In some ways Moina was the strength that Nina needed to come out of such mornings and look forward to the next day.

It wasn’t any different this time as well. Nina slowly raised Moina and walked out of the room for she knew the needs of the family never took a break inspite of the hardest of nights. She freshened up and did her best to hide the scars with makeup. Yes she covered herself in reds and hues to cover her battered self. She then sent Moina off to school and got around doing her usual household jobs. By the time she was done it was time for Moina to come back home.

As the bell rang, ‘It must be Moina’ she thought and rushed to let her little angel in.

Hey baby how was school?’ Nina bent to hug her little girl but Moina just ran to her room.

Nina stood at the door puzzled for some time. What had happened she contemplated? Moina would always hug her after school. It was like a mother daughter ritual.

What happened baby’ she asked going to Moina’s room.

Moina looked towards Nina and showed her hand which was full of scars.

Mommy there is a girl. She bullies me in school infact everyone in our class. She hit me today because I didn’t give her my lunch’ saying that Moina hid her face in her moms arms and began to sob.

No honey, don’t cry. I am here with you. I’ll take care of this.

Did you make a complaint to your teacher about her baby?’ asked Nina.

No Mom. I didn’t’ replied a shaken but unusually sure Moina.

But why baby? Well you know what that’s alright we shall go together to school tomorrow and see to it that this girl stops bothering you’ said Nina as she slowly applied antiseptic to Moina’s scars.

Why mommy I thought we should never complain. You don’t do anything when daddy hits you; do you? So I didn’t too and we shouldn’t do anything tomorrow either’ said Moina innocently.

At that moment Nina felt a jolt from within her. She had been silently bearing all the torture for her daughter’s future. But was that actually harming her daughter? She was still in this relationship; still suffering in this marriage to give her daughter a chance at good life. She didn’t want to give a broken family to Moina but if she were to grow up compromising and not fighting when need be; what sort of a life would she actually be gifting her Nina pondered.

Mommy I am hungry’ murmured Moina as she ran towards the dining table pulling Nina who still was deep in thoughts along.

Nina watched Moina having food and as she turned her attention towards her scars, she felt responsible for it. She looked at her own arms and there were scars too some fresh and some a few days old. She looked around in the house and thought of the kind of life she was leading. She could foresee Moina too in a similar home with an abusive husband and family. She could see Moina bearing everything mutely and in the end leading an unhappy life. That was it; that was the final straw. She ran her hands through Moina’s head and promised herself that this was the end of it. Not anymore; not ever!

Baby what do you say about taking a long long vacation?’ saying that she kissed Moina.

Where are we going mommy?’ asked her Moina.

Where we won’t be bullied anymore honey!’ saying that Nina smiled and her vacant eyes were again laden with hope.

‘One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.’― Michael J. Fox