Silent cries and whispers
She looked through the box as though she were looking for something, some specific piece of information, but couldn’t seem to find it. “Amitriptyline 25mg” it read, bold and vivid.
The name seemed daunting enough to prevent her from swallowing the capsule, but she knew she had to. So she unfolded its packaging, fetched a glass of water and finally placed herself on the couch with the medicine in one hand and the glass in the other.
She kept the capsule on the tip of her tongue and tried multiple times to gulp it down. It just wouldn’t work. Her body felt heavy and her face was pale. She knew she did not need the antidepressant. She knew she wasn’t mentally ill.
But her parents didn’t seem to understand this. They didn’t know what had happened that chilly December night when her aunt had been out for dinner and her parents had been asleep.
It was just her and her uncle in the living room, staring at the clock that had been there for years, faithfully marking the minutes and hours of their lives.
I lay on the bare ground, ready to begin watching the second season of my favorite show ‘Friends’. The room was gloomy and silent, except for an inauspicious sound that seemed to prevail. It sounded like a man exhaling in a continuous rhythm.
Suddenly, the noise of shattering glass filled the air, followed by leather shoes slamming against the wooden floor. I let out a gasp. The floor boards creaked at abrupt intervals, each one louder and closer than the last. I felt beads of sweat trickle down my neck. My eyes were paralysed, engulfed with fear, trying to catch a glimpse of something, anything at all.
And then I saw him. My uncle, moving towards me. His beard was no longer there, his eyes were red, his clothes bruised and battered. I let out a whisper, hoping someone would hear me. I could not scream, I could not move – I was helpless.
He reached out for my hands and pressed them against his as I tried to simply breathe. He had just puffed a cigar. I could tell, for there was a whole new fragrance in the room. I could even feel the dense layer of smoke collide against my soft, plump lips which I had now squeezed shut tenaciously. It was as if he had just removed his mask and shown the world who he truly was.
But I just wish there was someone there. Someone who could hear my silent cries and whispers.
She threw the capsule in the air, and let out a delirious scream. And this time, it was not a whisper. She was not going to let that man live freely while she spent her days trapped in her own body. Her fear had possessed her and clutched her to a point where she could barely even breathe.
But it was time to let it all go. It was time to show her courage and confidence, her independence and strength. She was going to tell her mother. She had to.
And just then, as she thought of her mother, the woman who had protected her in her womb for nine months, she entered the bedroom. She took a deep breath and looked towards her mother’s face. This time, she could not see the beauty or her gleaming skin. This time, all she could see were the scars and wrinkles, each of which bore the deep imprint of her suffering and pain.
“Have you had your capsule?” her mother asked in her angelic and melodious voice.
“Mama, about that, I have something to tell you.”
And this time, she did not shiver. She did not have her hands clutched to one another. There were no rivulets crawling down her eyes. There was no dryness at the ends of her lips.
She closed her eyes and told the world her story. Her story of survival. Her story where she was the hero and not that man who she felt embarrassed to even call her uncle. Her mother replied,
“Beta, you cannot tell anyone else, alright? This is the only shelter we have, do you really want to live on the streets, underneath nothing but the vast sky? Do you understand the consequences of what you are saying?”
With a tone of finality, her mother got up, leaving the emptiness to engulf her. And once again, she whispered, calling in to someone to save her from herself. But it was just a whisper, and could not be heard.
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