She looked outside through the translucent white curtain… world, a seemingly familiar place than the room in which she was. She had been in a clinical room before, for her abortion, but not in such a serious position. She was diagnosed with Paget’s disease… The room seemed peaceful as well as frightening…No one was there for her…but it had always been like that for her. Her battles were always long and lonely.
She picked up the dictionary; her favorite book in the world….it provided her more answers than every other reference book. She loved thesaurus even more…Because one word had so many shades. Today’s word was the most basic and subjective…Life which had many words…some concurring with her life…days ,years…to pass, some not..Excitement, Get up and go. It sorted her life more than any advising person or manual out in the world
A knock at the door broke her horse ride of thoughts …she looked back to see who it was. A nurse was holding a plush cheerful bouquet of hydrangeas. A smile spread on her face…that must be from Nisha. The nurse gave the bouquet to her and bent to check the vitals from the notepad at the end of her bed. Manal looked up expectedly and asked,” Have I made progress?” “Yes…of course.” the nurse answered as they are trained to give hope to the patients.
As she was turning pages of the dictionary randomly, something fell on the floor; she bent to pick it up. The withered object in her hand took her back in time…time when she was her happiest…and perhaps the most emotionally vulnerable….when she was in love. The curled up dark pink rose with charcoal coloured edges reminded her that however rosy the world is, it edges down to blackness of reality.
It had all started with abnormalities in her body in eight months of her marriage. She felt her chest to be abnormal…crusted, reddish, itchy. The final frightening call was blood from the chest. The diagnosis was even more frightening…a possible case of Paget disease of the nipple. She went numb, tears too refusing to come out. Kavish kept ranting at how bad the situation was, how expensive and hassling the treatment was and his biggest anger was on the fact that till she would be ‘well’ again …no mating possible. She had heard in her room…muffled talks…of course I am not going to keep her”
On the way back home, while he was ranting, she strangely felt liberated. The ordeal she has been going through for past eight months would stop for a while. Her mind went back to the innumerable torturous time he sexually and mentally abused her. She did not even remember when the first time she was raped …every night was living déjà vu, a nightmare. A slide show ran in front of her, times when he forced himself on her when she was having menses, when she was unwell, tired, mentally exhausted and every other time she did not have consummation on her mind. He never bothered for kind, romantic, loving words to get her closer, never touched her tenderly. He believed in all the facilitating rules patriarchy laid for him: his right for a serving, submissive wife who gave him ready food and ready body for his satisfaction; that a man is “truly” a man when he does “it” every night.
She had been fighting with all kinds of men…in all coverings of a ‘social’ relation…father, brother, boyfriend and husband .She was still a strong soul, never weeping on her conditions…occasionally broke down but not so much as to leave her life…Music was one of her solace…ghazals and old songs being her most favorite…an utopia emerged in front of her, where there was peace, love, respect ever-present.
Loud horn from the car brought her back from the utopia…she was not dejected …she strangely felt empowered…however a man tries to control a woman…there is a standstill for everything…in her case …the disease of the very part that made her a woman…that made her a desirable “thing” to a man. She loved myths, Greek, Roman mythology ….but certainly not the myths society wanted to believe in…that birth of a child can solve all problems ,it is “okay” if husband beats ,slaps or asks for “it” at any waking or sleeping hour; divorce or separation are never an option and many other rubbish ones.
Resting on her hospital bed…perhaps alone on her bed for many days…she felt calmness… two good news had come to her bed…one …She gave a divorce notice to Kavish, with the help from her bestie, had been signed by Kavish ,he not wanting a “ruckus” in the society, stating that they were “incompatible” with each other..And her surgery date was announced, it was in a week ‘Breast-conserving surgery followed by whole-breast radiation therapy is another option for some women who do not have tumors’ …she was on a stage that it was curable. After the surgery and check- ups to renovate her hell removed body, she wanted to take a world tour with herself, being love with herself once again…South Africa being on her list first…As she looked from her curtain …the world looks new ready to explore….His desertion now her point to travel to world’s famous deserts…their scorching heat more soothing than his A/C room.
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