The narrator of the short story, narrates the story of a single mother named Meera. The narration delves into the difficult marriage that the protagonist was in and how she finally found the courage to leave her husband and live a much happier life with two of her daughters.
A ray of sunlight enters through the minute hole on the glass ceiling and falls gently on the surface of the platform. The background of the train station resonates with the voices of countless people scattered all over the station. The lady on the speaker making the announcements regarding the arrival and departure of trains can be distinctly heard among the fusion of voices.
Meera drags herself to the platform where her train always arrives. Fatigue has spread to every bone of her body.
Fortunately, her train arrives as soon as she establishes herself on the platform without her having to wait for too long. It is 4 o’clock in the evening. She didn’t have to push herself through a crowd of women to get herself into the compartment. The train being empty, she soon settles herself on an empty window seat. She leans her head against the wall behind her and closes her eyes gently. Tears come cascading down her cheeks. She doesn’t stop herself from crying. Slowly the train begins to move and eventually, catches speed. The movement of her body co-ordinates with the movement of the train.
Meera, are you sure about your decision to marry him?
Yes of course, why do you ask?
It just seems too hasty, that is all.
What seems hasty? I don’t understand.
Meera, I just want you to think this through, just to be sure.
Meera opens her eyes. Today was the day 8 years ago when they became man and wife. But today, they cease to be man and wife. It has been a year since he has transformed from being her husband to her ex-husband. Theirs was a marriage which was done in haste. But theirs was also a marriage which wouldn’t have lasted for too long. She was 24 when they first met. She had never been in a relationship or had fallen in love in all of her existence, until she met him.
In the course of one year they got to know each other and realized that they loved each other and that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with each other.
The first year of their marriage was the last time she remembered them being happy. They did have fights but not the one’s which destroyed them.
After giving birth to their first daughter, he began to feel less loved by her. Things weren’t the same between them. Bit by bit, silence was what prevailed between them for the most part. The only time they communicated was when she mentioned something about the baby or anything very general, to which he replied in monosyllables. Communication with their bodies lacked emotion. He soon began spending more of his time outside the house. He slowly began coming home drunk after consuming a large amount of alcohol, on most days. One such night, he forced himself on her. He pushed her on the bed and held her wrists with great force. She tried to break away from his clutches, but he was too strong for her. As he came closer, she could smell the alcohol on his breath. Tears rolled down her cheeks as he entered her. She grabbed the sides of the pillow and tried to prevent herself from screaming. She wept silently. She cried herself to sleep.
He no longer remained the man she once loved, but a beast. A beast who had taken him, entirely. A beast who filled his empty stomach every night by consuming her.
Gradually she stopped crying when the beast consumed her. She lay like a dead body, allowing him to complete his beastly act. One such beastly act resulted in the birth of their second child, another daughter.
He didn’t care to give either of their children the kind of love they expected from him. She ceased to care whether he loved her or not, but what mattered to her was that he’d at least be a good father to their children. He refused to hold them in his arms, to talk to them or be there for them through every important event in their lives. His attitude toward their children slowly made her angry. She chose to embrace silence at first and keep everything inside her for fear that her words might lead to troubling consequences. But soon enough, the anger shut behind the cells within Meera, slowly found its way out through her words. The silence between them was substituted with long hours of arguing on high decibels. Meera didn’t care about being attacked by the beast. Every time she spoke, she felt less claustrophobic. She remembered arguing one day with him. It was pouring outside. It felt like their high pitched voices were competing with the sound of rainwater cascading down from the sky and hitting the ground. In the middle of the argument suddenly her eyes fell on her baby girl standing near the door of the living room. She stood there, her little body shaking and fear written on her face. She just looked deep into her daughter’s eyes, the beast’s voice now less audible in the background.
A little part of her died inside. That was the moment when she realized that she had to leave.
She ran toward her daughter and held her tightly. She carried her younger daughter and held her other daughter by the hand, took whatever she could and marched toward the door. He came and stood in front of her. He grabbed her arm tight and threatened to do something. She pushed him aside with all the strength she had and ran out with both of her daughters.
Meera lifts herself up from her seat and walks toward the door of the train compartment. Her train begins to slow down as it reaches the station at which she gets down. She steps out of the train and walks home. She walks home with fatigue spread to every bone of her body and the need to get past the end of this particular day. She stands outside her house for a few seconds and takes a deep breath. She enters the house to see her daughters playing together. Meera stands there watching them and the sight wiped away all the sadness living within her. She smiles to herself and completely feels the happiness that she hasn’t felt in a very long time.
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