Years ago, she suddenly woke up one night. The memories of that night continues to haunt her even today. What did she witness?
I quietly crawled out of my bed on hearing subdued screams from the adjacent room. I couldn’t fathom what exactly it was. Judging from how groggy I felt, I assumed it to be easily past 3 am. I had a slight headache and my vision was blurry. I couldn’t make sense of my surroundings except the distinctive noises from what seemed like a brawl. At the age of 10, I was terrified of what it might have been. However, curiosity got the better of me. I peeked into the other room through the space between the curtains and the door.
As I stood there witnessing what nobody should have been, I wanted to scream, but my voice betrayed me. My mother lay unconscious with no visible injuries, but the pain inflicted was deeper.
Her husband, my doting father, stood there with his hands holding his head, almost horrified with my presence. I thought I was in my senses, but I didn’t want to be. I wanted to lose myself into the darkness of the night. I felt nauseous with what I felt in that moment. And as I was experiencing it, a tinge of light hit my eyes; dawn was here. My vision became hazy. I could feel the warmth of the light on my face, but the grisly scene before my eyes drained every bit of it. I wanted to know. I wanted to forget. I wanted to howl. I wanted to run away to never return. In that moment I became numb. I was trapped in my diabolical thoughts of possibilities. It was everything I had ever dreaded. Suddenly, I felt my body moving without my consent, I was shaken inside, but it was involuntary. Next thing I knew I was tucked underneath my blanket.
And the next time I woke up to recount that night was today. Sitting in your office Pallavi, as I revisit those moments I am equal parts scared and infuriated. And everytime I remember those “dreams”, I shudder, but amazingly the haziness reduces. It becomes more distinct even though I want it to be shrouded by the veil of uncertainty. I want it to be a secret, a mystery. Something I want never to know of. Alas, it isn’t. I know what exactly happened. The exactness couldn’t be more prominent. I was tucked by my father. My body was led by him. Hence, it wasn’t a voluntary action on my part. It was forced. My father’s hands were on his head because he couldn’t believe what he had done. My mother lay on the floor as she was knocked down by him and suffered a brain haemorrhage. She passed away soon. I don’t know the why, what, and how. I can only feel myself drowning into this swamp of guilt, as the thought of not being able to save her shatters me. I shudder at the thoughts and the only warmth I ever felt ever since was the tinge of light at dawn.