Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reality

She had just switched on the gas stove and put up the milk to boil, when she heard him call out to her.
"Ritu! Where are my shorts?"

Muttering to herself, she went and assisted him once again. She came back to the kitchen shaking her head, with a small smile on her face, "God knows what he will do if I am not around."
 
"Who are you talking to?"
 
The sudden question made her jump. She turned around. 
It was her mother.
 
She looked back at the milk that was just about to boil over.
"No one," she lied.
 
Her mother walked slowly and stood next to her, staring at her intently... trying to read her mind, look into her soul.
 
"Have you taken your medications?"
"Yes mother," she lied, once again, exasperated.
"I hope you are not lying. These medicines will help you with your dreams and hallucinations," her mother said speaking softly, as if to a child, stroking her hair. She put a hand on her shoulder. She flinched a little but didn't move away. 

She heard him call out to her again. She started to turn around when she felt her mother's grip tighten, "You can still hear him, don't you?"
 
The milk finally boiled. She switched off the burner and concentrated on putting the milk in the mug. 

"Well, do you?" her mother asked again.
 "Who?!" She tried to act nonchalant. Her shaking hands gave her away.

Her mother sighed audibly, "He is no more Ritu. You have to accept that. You have to move on. I know you loved him but he is gone now... he has been gone for a long time. Some things are just out of our control."
 
 A cold shiver ran down her spine. Whenever her mother spoke about her husband in the past tense, about him about leaving her, she felt like yelling at her... shaking her up. But, she knew it was not her mother's fault. Her dementia was playing tricks on her mind. Discreetly, she dropped the tablets into the hot steaming milk.
 
She handed her the mug, smiling a fake meaningless smile while her mind itched to go and see what he was doing, "I know ma. I know."
 
As she turned to leave, she saw him standing behind her mother, shaking his head, concerned. His handsome features, troubled. He had been so supportive... taking in her ill mother who refused to even acknowledge his existence.
 
Her mother sighed once more and also turned around to walk back to her room. He smiled as she passed next to him but, as had become her habit, she walked by without even a sideways glance. She knew her mother never liked him but her behavior nowadays was appalling, completely unacceptable. She stared at her husband who was leaning against the doorway... ever so patient, ever so understanding. He smiled a sad smile and shrugged. She gestured at him to come closer.

The mother turned to look at her troubled daughter. Her husband's untimely death had completely devastated her. Agreed, she never did like him. He was the reason, there was this vast ridge between them that could never be filled but she never wanted him to die. But he did, in an accident... almost an year ago. The rift that his memories were creating now, troubled her even more. Before, her eyes,her daughter was slipping into oblivion, and there was nothing she could do about it. Her daughter still believed her husband was there, around her... living with her, breathing next to her. Her heart broke as she saw her little girl, with a twinkle in her eyes, smiling, staring at nothing but emptiness.

"There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind" - Patrick Rothfuss

Which woman do you trust...? The daughter who thinks her mother has dementia and is not willing to acknowledge the existence of the son-in-law she never appreciated? or the mother who believes her widowed daughter is hallucinating about her dead husband? and Why?

10 comments:

  1. An award awaits you on my blog :) Congrats :)
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    ReplyDelete
  2. This post has been selected for the Spicy Saturday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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  3. I have reasonable doubt on the credibility of the daughter. :D

    The story is quite different and yet oddly set in a familiar set up, which makes it interesting. I also liked the narration. :)

    Also, Congrats on the Spicy Saturday pick

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    1. The story has unreliable narrator(s)... who you trust is based on your perspective and preference... I am glad you like it! Thank you!

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  4. It is superbly narrated.I would liked the story even more if last para wasnt there.Let the readers figure out the unanswered queations.My personal opinion.Any way it is a niceley written story.

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    1. Thank you... With the last paragraph I have tried to question the credibility of the daughter and the mother, both. Who should we trust? Now that's based on your preference ;)

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  5. I too doubt d credibility of d daughter!!
    Anyways I loved reading it, quite a different story it was
    Fab job done megha!!:D:D

    Doomedwriters.blogspot.com

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