This is a long post.. Aunt Judith is speaking about Grace.. her younger sister.. and something that changed everybody's life. I thought a lot about splitting this into two halves.. but I dint want you to loose the continuity..
Things changed one day when she came over to my place one evening. She was crying. It seems she had a major fight with your father. Lately both of them had been fighting more often. She said she doubted him having an affair. He was being unusually late from past few days and she once had overheard him talking to some female.
But none of these were taken seriously until she said she received a call from some guy. He never said his name but had said that your father is having an affair and her marriage was in danger. Following that phone call, when your father came home that night she tried talking to him which ended up in a fight. She had no idea about the guy who called her but over a period of time he would call her up often telling her about your father and what he was doing. One day, she was told that it’s a woman from his office.
And when she tried to ask about to your father, he yelled at her and called her names. She then realized that he would never agree to it. She, unlike any other women believed that they could still work this out. But the more she tried to talk to him about this the more fights followed. The only person who believed in her was the guy who used to call her. Your father in fact even went ahead and accused her that its she who is having an affair and was blaming him instead so that she could get out from this. Coming to think about it now, nobody would have ever imagined what she was going through. She told me this and when I asked her about the guy who calls her so often she was becoming defensive. She wouldn’t tell his name even. She began yelling at me that even I like her husband dint believed her.
I remembered this. The fights. It all started suddenly. Yes, dad had started working late nights. He used to come home very late. I was made to eat my dinner while maa used to wait for him. Sometimes she would join me and eat too. He used to come by the time I was put to bed. Initially I could hear them argue for long late at nights. It was bad. I could hear maa crying towards the end of it. But these were not often.
Maa was changing too. She had become very restless over the period of time. Her temper levels very rising pretty bad. I remember she once had beaten me so badly for losing my new set of color pencils she had got me. But then, she cried harder with me after that. She was changing. And I never knew what was happening. Sometimes late at night, she would come into my room and hug me and cry. Sometimes she would just sleep holding me tight as if she was afraid if I would run away in the middle of the night. Asking if over and over again if I would leave her, making me promise her that I wont. I never knew what was happening or why. Now I know, it was that cursed phone call that started it all. I wondered who was calling her. I wondered if Aunt Judith ever came to know about the guy who was calling her.
Once she called me up late at night. She said she had a fight again with your father that night. This was becoming more than usual now. But there was something else that had happened. He had assaulted her. The fight had gone physical. A fit of rage grew within me. I wanted to call up the police and get that man arrested. After all how could he? She was crying so badly, I dint know what to do. I said I was coming to her place that very moment but she begged me not to. I dint know what to do but I was damn sure if I had gone to her place that night I would have given him a piece of my mind. I would have showed him that just because he is a man he can’t do that to his wife. He can’t do that to my little sister. I felt like stabbing with a hot piece of iron.
I was getting impatient. I called her up again sometime later to find out if she was fine. She told me that he went out after the fight and has not returned. She was adamant on me not coming over. She felt it could worsen situation. I dint sleep that night. First thing in the morning I went over to her place to find her left side of the face bruised and swollen. Son of a bitch and beaten her up like an animal. I lost it. I never imagined that this day would ever come when I would have to look at her like this. The moment she opened the door and saw me, she hugged me and broke down into tears. She was crying like a child. I was melting inside and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it than cry along with her. I stayed there with her and try to talk to her but she dint want to. I decided that I couldn’t let this go just like that and pretend that it never happened. I left by evening, but went straight to your father’s office. I was told he was at a meeting and that I would be late. But I insisted that I would wait and there is no way he would go without talking to me.
When he finally agreed to meet me, I was called inside the office. I was in complete rage like a mad bull on rampage. He started to explain, when I asked him to come out with me as I dint want to create a scene at his office. We went outside his office in the parking lot. He started to explain with an apology when I slapped him hard on to his face. The ass deserved one. He was totally shocked. He knew why that for was. I told him that I have always understood that it was his family and whatever was wrong was to be sorted out between them but he wasn’t to think that he was man enough that he could dare assault my sister and get away with it as if nothing happened.
He listened to every word I yelled at him with complete silence. I was about to leave when he called me a psycho bitch. I lost it again and slapped him harder. But then he lost it too and what he said after that just shook my world from within. He asked me if I knew what really happened ? he continued saying that irrespective of all the false stories Grace was building up about him having an affair with someone from office he never once had lost his temper. He said that, his company had suffered a major loss and he was working late to cope with it. He was neck deep on loans and needs more contracts to come out of it for which he was working almost 12 hours a day. Irrespective all these he made sure he never once gave her a hint of this in order to worry her but she on the other hand blamed him of going around with a fancy office colleague whom he knows nothing about. She always was saying that some friend, some guy was calling her up and telling these stories. And that he tried hard to find who this person was. Neither she nor the phone records that he checked showed any such details of a guy calling up. Last night he came home late and the usual arguments begun. He was in no mood to for an argument and was avoiding talking to her when she picked up a vase and hit him. That’s was when he slapped her in an attempt to stop her as she was becoming more aggressive and there was a silent spectator that night watched it all. He said that you had woken up and had come out of your room to witness your mother physically assault your father and him slapping her in return. He felt so disgusted and in pain with the hit from the vase that he left house immediately and met their family doctor as his head was bleeding.
He said that she was mentally sick and needed help. But she was not ready to accept that. She said that it was his trick to get away with his affair by proving her mentally instable. I was speechless with what he said. He went on explaining more instances that Grace never told me about. Like she used to sit and talk to the paintings she painted in the middle of the night. Walk around houses aimlessly talking to herself, sometimes even yelled out and dint allow anybody to come near her. Initially he thought she is just venting her anger or frustrations against him by talking to herself but more incidents followed which convinced him that she was not in a proper state of mind. He also said that he had planned to put you in boarding as he feared your safety since he had to work late and you were spending a lot of time alone with her.
I had seen that.
That was one night I had tried hard to forget but I could never. Both of them were physically fighting. Dad slapped maa and left. She held me all night and cried. I know it because I cried with her too. I dint know what was happening. But all I knew was that dad had hit maa and she was in great pain. I hated my father since then. And before I could forget any of those, he came to me one day and said that I was being sent to boarding school. And he would come by and meet me often. I dint wanted to go, but there was nothing that could change his decision. I had cried hard the night I left home.
I don’t know how but I felt that my eyes were full. I closed the diary. Went out into the balcony. Lit another cigarette. I was trying hard to shut every thought.
I was trying to shut every thought of my mother like I had done for all these tears. But I couldn’t control them. They had completely taken over my mind. I was seeing every image, every incident of me and maa that I could remember was running in front of my eyes. I couldn’t go on. I couldn’t read this further. I was fine with what I knew. I dint want to know any further. I decided I won’t read any further.
I went inside and closed the diary. I wanted to throw it away. While I putting it back into the what remained of its cover, I saw that the picture of me, maa and aunt Judith was still out on the table. I picked it up and once again carefully saw maa. I pulled the diary out and was placing the photo back inside the book when I noticed something written on it back.....