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Sunday, September 30, 2007

The new widow

She received a phone call from her father-in-law.

"Beti, your husband is no more."

Amidst his and her tears, she dropped the phone onto the floor. As her father-in-law's voice faded away, she could only see the haze of her bedroom through her glistening eyes. She imagined his 6 feet tall, muscular build laying on the hospital bed, lifeless and stone cold. She cried even more. Stretched out on her bed, her body shook uncontrollably as she buried her head into the pillow.

Last night, her husband had returned home at midnight, much earlier than usual. He was unusually quiet and his silence always scared her. It meant that something was amiss and she dreaded to think of the time when the silence would break. For two hours, she could only hear his heavy breathing and the ticking of the clock in the room. When she gathered her courage, she asked him if he wanted dinner. She only heard a grunt. She withdrew.

The next few hours, she watched her husband drink. With each drink that he guzzled, she felt her body muscles tensing. Her neck hurt. Her shoulders hurt. Her fists were clenched. Her breathing becoming slower. She counted the number of drinks he was having..counted and counted until she lost count. She awaited the news with fear. What had happened today?

She never found out. Her husband started vomiting. She saw that he struggled to breathe. He fell on the floor and continued vomiting even when on his back. She watched him. She turned her face away and watched him suffer. He stretched his hands out and she continued to watch him until he fell unconscious. And then she quietly walked into her bedroom and waited for the sun to rise.

The stench of his vomit kept her awake all night. In the morning, she called her father-in-law and told him the state of her husband. The ambulance was called. And now he was dead.

She cried harder. She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled through her tears. Her mouth would no longer be swollen, she would receive no more scars on her face, her bruises would now heal, and she was free.

Free from the clutches of an abusive husband.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


She was a petite woman. So petite that she was often mistaken to be an 11-year-old..or maybe 12ish. It was a matter of shame for the otherwise strikingly attractive 21-year-old. As she stared at herself in the mirror each morning, stark naked from the fresh shower, she inadvertently covered her small breasts. A loud sigh escaped her mouth each morning while huge tears streamed out of her hazel eyes. Her 4 feet 10 inch frame, narrow shoulders, thin arms and legs, and her pencil like figure had not yet won the heart of any man.

As the clock struck 8, she embarked on her daily routine. She walked out the door to catch her bus to work. Her drooping frame drooped even more with the burden of her laptop bag. She was oblivious to her surroundings. The same birds chirped every morning, the same trees shed leaves, the same jasmine scent made her sick to her stomach, the same stray dog followed her, the same strangers that she hoped to see walking with her, were not there. These were events that she ceased to notice. The dry, lonely pathway belonged to her, or so it seemed. But not today.

As she bent down to straighten her anklet, a black figure pounced on her. Before she could react, she felt her body pressed to the ground with nothing but darkness around her. The loud thud of her own body was unmistakeable. It was truly happening. She had been attacked...and was captured. How could this be? Who would attack a child-like woman? Or was she being "kid"napped? Her mouth tried to scream but no sound came out. Within minutes, she found her legs getting heavier as if something had dropped on it, and she was being lowered into a barrel like figure. She could only sense that things around her were falling, and some even on her. She felt her empty stomach churning, as the barrel was rolled and dropped onto the floor. She kept rolling and swaying and rocking. She heard a loud crash that belonged to breaking glass, a helicopter flying in the near distance, dogs barking, and what was that...she could hear screaming, crying, and screeching. Where was she? Where was she?? She tried hard to open her eyes.

And when she did, she realized that she was in her bedroom, in her purple nightgown, on her queen bed, experiencing an earthquake...