It was a scream. Was it? I’m not sure. But if it was, then it surely sounded like mom. The night suddenly started to seem creepy. I stepped out of my bed and started towards the door. With chills running down my nerves, I held onto my door handle. It didn’t open!
I tried once again, but in vain.I wanted to knock from inside, but I didn’t. I was too scared. Now I heard it again, it was more of a cry. I was really getting scared. I slowly leaned on to the wall that separates me from my parents room. I heard sounds. Mom was clearly crying. I knew what this was all about. He is venting his frustration out by physically and verbally hurting her.
Everything was great untill this lockdown, my father ran a business and we were content with the middle class life we led. But this pandemic shook our lives to the core. Dad lost all his top clients and his business was now a sinking ship. This led to a change in our peaceful life. Dad started drinking. He got drunk every night and started to abuse mom. He used to badmouth her because she wasn’t eligible for a decent job. Mom never worked because she wasn’t well educated. Mom used to cry as he slapped her right in front of my eyes. I used to run to my room and cry. There would be marks of slaps and other violence on her body. But she never said a word against him.
With all these thoughts running in my mind, I lay there leaning against the wall and crying. I prayed to God to save my mom in some possible way. Finally it was dawn.
I heard footsteps. I quickly jumped into my bed and wrapped myself under the blanket. My door unbolted from outside and the footstep walked away. After a couple of minutes, I slowly walked out of my room. My eyes were searching for her. But she was nowhere to be found. I saw dad on the sofa sleeping, the liquor glasses and bottles were laid on the table. Seems like he passed out. I saw mom stepping into the kitchen after her morning shower. I ran to her and asked whether she is ok. She was trying to act normal but, her eyes showed the intensity of pain she was hiding. Her cheeks were red. Lips were wounded. She was walking with some sort of ache too.
A man walked out of my parents bedroom. I immediately recognised him. He came home with dad last night. He was said to be a client of dad and was home to discuss something. I thought he had left soon after I went to bed. But why was this man in my parents bedroom? I asked mom why was he here? Mom replied, “Son, dad’s struggles are going to end soon. This man will be investing for dad. They were discussing whole night about this matter. Dad let this man use our bedroom because he was our guest. Dad maybe inviting few more clients untill his problems get settled. Dad will be happy soon son.”
With this she ran to her room to let those tears escape. I went after her. While hugging her, I found the very saree that she wore last day lying in a corner all torn. Why was she crying if all our struggles were about to end? She should have been more specific to an 8 year old. For I never knew…