That day didn’t seem to pass as quickly as I wished because memories are cruel and come back like a boomerang. No matter how far you throw them away, they find you back! And memories which are your worst nightmares are hard to get over with.
Not every day you are scared of people until they condition you to stay fearful of them. Like a daily task it becomes a habit, a chore to be scared even of their footfall. They make sure they don’t break the continuum. They suck your light, inject you with all the filthy darkness they have little by little.
And then when they shred your soul piece by piece, when you become ‘unbreakable’; you seize to be threatened by them. They no longer terrify you rather are seldom petrified to see the canvas they painted with the blacks of their own fears.
I was born into a middle class family where I lived in my lala land and a house with a loving family. My home-Mother, Father, elder brother, fear and an old grandmother who smelled like soap. We all live fears and not lives since the time we come into existence. We hide in the womb of fear.
I feared losing my doll, Candy. A random doll, dressed in a red shirt with yellow buttons; blue trousers with red socks and a red hat which read ‘Candy’ in yellow. You see, I didn’t have to work hard to name her. It was just her long brown pleated hair and eyes that made her look feminine, rest she was a man of cotton. Candy had served as a doll to my cousin sister, who now had grown up into a lady. Her lip had come off when she was given to me and now, candy was mine. So she was and so I sketched her new lips with a black marker. I took her everywhere. I bathed her, combed her hair, talked to her for hours and slept with her. We humans are strange-treat dolls just like another human and toy humans like dolls. From the fear of losing my doll to losing humans to losing myself; the fear just grew bigger and bigger with every dawn kissing the earth.
Life was as normal as it could be and I couldn’t help but be chirpy and mischievous. Like candy, I too was dressed like boys because I was thin and bones would usually stick out of the frilly delicate clothes. I was so frail that I remember my mother counting my ribs on me. My legs were twitched like witch’s broom and hair hardly longer than my father’s. I barely looked like a girl! I forgot to be one until I was reminded, like every girl is- through words, gestures and yes the touch!
“Aren’t you the good girl?’’ said the man in the long beard who used to come to my home to teach me the holy book. He sat right in front of me with just a table between us. I stopped reading at once and gave him a strange look after which he said, “go on keep reading”. I did so. I moved my body back and forth slowly with the rhythm of my voice as I read the verse from the holy book and read them out loud so that he could correct me. I did that every day. As I was reading, he kept is hand on my shoulder and felt my bone. At first I thought he wanted me to stop moving but as he ran his hands down my body and clenched my hands which rested on the book, my voice quivered. The room went silent. I heard a throbbing in my head and a voice deep within saying “I will tell Mama”. I couldn’t give voice to my words. Alas! I couldn’t say that out loud. “I know you are a good girl” he said while lustfully tracing his hands on mine. My voice betrayed me and I sat like a dead meat while he bit my lower lip and sucked and sucked the childhood out of me.
While he left, his smell still stayed in the room. I ran to my mother knowing not what to say. All I said was “he kissed me”. “Where” my mother asked. A child of nine was I, when I gestured towards my swollen chapped lips.
“Don’t tell your father” my mother said immediately.
I wish I had. I wish!
Picture by _mxsh_ (Unsplash)