Anita stepped carefully, quietly into her garden. Her haven, the one place where Sunil wouldn’t follow her. The one place that was her own.
She knew she would have to pay for it, when she went back indoors, but it was worth it. Her only defiance was her garden. Little had she imagined, as a young bride,10 years ago, that this would be her life. Of course she blamed herself, Sunil wouldn’t have become so violent if she had presented him with a baby. He was just this way because he yearned to be a father. At least he did not divorce her, as her mother kept telling her. So what if he got a little angry? So what if she got a little hurt sometimes. Did she want for anything? ‘Just some love and not having to worry about tiptoeing around your husband’, whispered the annoying little voice in her head, but she was quick to silence it.
All the love that she had inside her, she poured into her plants. Her plants became the children she never had. Every seed that sprouted would make her heart dance with joy. When Sunil was away at work, she would spend hours, weeding, pruning, watering her plants, and sometimes just sitting at the little bench that the previous owners of the house had left there. Yes, there had been times when she wished for her husband to join her, relax, and enjoy the beauty, but of course, those were just dreams, dreams she knew now, would never come true. She knew now not to anger Sunil in any way. Even a small request could result in him blowing up. Of course, he was careful to never strike in places that people could see, yes, he was considerate that way. He never humiliated her in front of others. Her neighbours wouldn’t have a clue that their marriage was anything but perfect. The only person who knew was her mother, who lived in fear of the day that Sunil would walk out on her daughter. She just prayed that her daughter had better sense than annoy her son-in-law.
Lost in her thoughts, Anita pulled at some stubborn weeds, when she felt her head yanked back. ‘Have you gone deaf now?’ Shouted Sunil, his other hand landing on her cheek. ‘ It is a bit too much to expect a wife to get her husband a cup of tea in this place!’.
Fuming, he pulled at her biggest rose, and flung it at her, hitting her on her face. Some rose petals fell into her hands, and as she raised her stunned and stinging face, she found herself looking into her neighbour, Malini’s shocked face from the other side of the fence. But funnily, instead of feeling ashamed as she always did after one of Sunil’s out bursts, she felt light, liberated and strangely unburdened. That slap in the garden felt like fate was trying to knock some sense into her. She walked, not towards her house, but out. She walked out, head held high, the rose petals in her hands giving her some strange strength. She did not know where she was headed, but she definitely knew the place that she was leaving forever.
Picture Credit – http://sarabbit.openphoto.net/gallery/
Written as part of the Write Tribe Prompt