For the DAILY PROMPT
“Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?”
By the time she reached the railway station, she was panting with sweat tricking down her face, ebbing down her breasts and drenching her completely. She had hardly been able to pack her bag when he had come back knocking. high on desperation and inebriated out of his wits. Today was the day that she had called it quit to those incessant nasty disparaging remarks that she as the lady of the house had chosen not to conform to. Aisha wanted a different life, a better life, a life with respect and a life without her alcoholic better-half.
Lately his responses to her concerns about his life were becoming vague. Was he going to loose his job, would they have to shift again or was he finally getting back on track? Sanjay had an issue with his temper and usually would spring up on everything and anything that would insinuate a repugnant remark on his caliber and character. He had come to think of life as a constant affair of immeasurable pain, wherein he tread the path of misery alone. His love for Aisha had dwindled over a period of time, as it had become difficult for him to see her concern as an act of utmost love, but an act to rip through his insecurities by reminding him of his acts of indiscretions and incompetence. Slowly and slowly, the cracks in the relationship had become so wide, that the wife he adored became a paddle to rub against as he swerved through rough waters in life. Sanjay would constantly abuse Aisha, both physically and emotionally. Number of occasions, he would come back really late, usually drunk. He had been going through some tough times at office in the past one year, and his professional life had started taking a toll on his personal life. Over the past two months, things had only gotten worse. Not only did he sound dejected and cheated in life, all his frustration in life would translate into forced sex with Aisha. If she would refuse, he would beat her up and do so regardless. Making love had taken a different trajectory in life and it was becoming harder for Aisha to believe that in what was once a relished as a union of two bodies and one soul, was now a relationship bereft of any emotion and was a plain carnal relationship.From being that jovial woman with an intellect, who painted a larger than life picture across her,Aisha had come to become a submissive and passive woman, who would startle even at the sound of a bell. A fine delicate face, which once fashioned a broad smile, now had bruises and dark patches redolent of a violent life. She was loosing it and loosing it fast.
Having deliberated on situation and options, Aisha could no more find reason to stay in a relationship wherein her husband no more saw her as a partner, but just a critic. She had become a symbol of his failure. So, one evening she confronted Sanjay for the dismal condition that they had reached in their life and told him about her finally calling it quit and leaving him forever. Of what followed were constant rebukes and utter violence. She was not only beaten but locked inside the house as well. Having lost her parents at a young age, Aisha didn’t have anyone to look upto and with in-laws who were not even willing to acknowledge her as their daughter-in-law, things couldn’t have been worse. So, she began writing and counting days of her miserable existence. She even contemplated killing herself, but in a place where she was already dead in her aspiration in life, physical death hardly mattered. Deep down inside she wanted to live.
So, one day when Sanjay was out for work, Aisha made up her mind to run away. She packed her bag and took whatever she could in that short time, for he could return any minute. As she had feared, he returned shouting shortly afterwards. Only later when he realised that he had locked her in, did he open the door . This is when Aisha, completely shaken and shivering knew that the time had come. It was now or never, or else life would come catching and cut it short of the happiness it deserved. As Sanjay made way, the house opened to an empty living room with things discarded and thrown around, with an open window and a rope running down. She had run away from the shackles of his abhorrent life to see life in a way she knew how.
Probably too exhilarating an experience, Aisha was making a dash for her life and was finally smiling again. She felt liberated not at the breath of fresh air, or by the fact that there was no more incessant beating, but only because she could decide for herself. She ran towards the station as fast as she could, fleeing away from the place not even to let the old air catch her and cake her lungs with the weakness that had come to adorn lately.
She booked the ticket for the next north-bound train she could find and waited for a few minutes. She placed the satchel on her lap as she sat down on the bench at the deserted station, keeping the suitcase beside her. Nearly exhausted enough to pass out, she glared at the lights around her, which seemed to transcend from just beacons of illumination to thoughts of a future. As true perspective had come to her when she was forced upon a pedestal of pain and agony, she now envisaged life differently .With a discerning gaze, she looked at the passing by people, observing them for what they were and how different they seemed. She knew in her heart, that people were all the same, struggling in their own existence yet laughing away , taking things in their strides.