Why did I have to begin like that? You are definitely not dear to me. Come to think of it I wonder if you ever were. And I don’t really want to write your name.
Remember how I was in bed with by body all swollen? During those days, I thought and thought, and decided.
Remember how I ended up in bed like that? You trapped me between the open door and the wall and you kept banging the door on me. You put all your weight behind the door, trying to crush me against the wall. You don’t remember, do you? I can’t forget.
I didn’t scream. Funny! I remember thinking that the neighbours were less likely to hear the thuds of the door against my body. If I screamed they might have felt forced to abandon the peepholes and actually open their doors and investigate.
But I screamed. I screamed when you left me crumpled on the floor and moved towards our son and started strangling him. Maybe my scream distracted you. It put the switch off. The same switch that makes you go all red in the face, drool and shake and hit me.
I should have seen it before your family trapped me. I was so lost in my own goodness that I did not use my head. When you are about to marry into one of the richest families in the community, you just go with the flow. I was such a fool! My head was asking how come all the other brothers were engaged in the business while my soon-to-be-husband was sitting at home. I was deaf.
I didn’t hear my heart either. The first time I noticed something strange in your behaviour, instead of confiding in your mother, I should have just walked out and escaped. I let your people brainwash me.
All the alarm bells went off when your family cut short the engagement phase and advanced the date of our marriage. Because your grandmother was very sick and about to die. Just to make sure I didn’t get any sane ideas, your mother promptly produced me before the grandmother (now I wonder: did you poison her?) who feebly extracted a promise from me.
Once the marriage happened, all of sudden I found myself holding the key to the reputation of the whole world—your family, my family and our community. That was my world. And even after you started beating me I had to keep quiet because I was responsible for everyone’s reputation.
Then you fathered our son. I am amazed he has turned out to be such a wonderful person—intelligent, caring and so independent. There must be something in the genes that filters evil out.
Yes, he is the same little boy you almost strangled. And that act gave me the courage, after all those years of torture, to divorce you.
According to the terms of that divorce (which your lawyer prepared), I have brought him up till the age of 18. I shared this letter with him the day after his 18th birthday. No, we didn’t cry. He just hugged me and said, “I am sorry, mom.” And I told him he did not have to bother about looking after his mother. He is a smart entrepreneur. And, these days, I am busy with—forget it! Why would you want to know what I am doing?
You wouldn’t even know that this is the first letter I am writing you. And the last.
I wrote this letter because I just wanted to. Now, our son wants to bring this to you. Honestly, I am a little scared. But he has made up his mind. That is the last thing he wants to do before he leaves for Europe.
May God bless us all!
(I will leave my name out, too)
The son watched his father struggle through the letter. Then the old man turned red, started shaking and his saliva dripped on the letter which he was trying to tear up. The son hesitated for a moment, moved forward and hugged his father tight. He held him until he felt his father’s body relaxing. Then he said. “I am sorry, dad.” He turned around, closed the door gently behind him and walked out. He had a flight to catch.