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