A roaring thunder jerked her awake. It took her a few moments to realize that it was cloudy inside, the room was too dark. The faint streak of light urged her to take a tentative peek outside. The sky looked almost opaque with clouds, blocking out whatever light was struggling to come through. A sense of dread immediately settled upon her. Something is going to happen…
“Sometimes, some things just don’t feel right”, she reasons, “there’s nothing in it”. She can’t exactly figure out what it is, what is making her so uneasy, what is it that’s giving her this sense of foreboding! She thinks, she thinks hard, trying to wade into the depths of her mind, attempting to do a thorough root cause analysis of an unfounded alarm. She asks herself, “Why are you scared? What is it that you fear?”
She knows something is about to happen and if her senses are anything to go by, it’s not going to be something good. “Ugh! just one day… one day is all I’d asked for… can’t I get even that? Am I so unworthy that I can’t be granted even a day’s solace?”, her mind screams. Frustration, anger, sorrow building up as the haze of sleep clears from her rest-starved mind. Emotions tear through her consciousness, making her feel queasy.
The throbbing ache at the back of her head brings back memories of last night. She shivers as flashes of ripped clothes, wrinkled sheets, searing slaps, cigarette burns, sharp bites and alcohol breath make her dizzy. Pain… that’s all she remembers… pain as she was violated brutally, pain as blood flowed freely, pain as skin burnt away, pain as she went numb, pain as her head struck the headboard and everything went dark… That’s how it has been… that’s how it always is… Pain is what she wakes up with every morning, pain is what lulls her to sleep every night.
Short breaths hack through her prone body. She tries desperately to calm herself down before a full-blown panic attack incapacitates her. Trembling hands look for a bottle of water on the crowded table-top in the dark, dank room.
Lightning crawls across the gloomy sky for a split second, momentarily illuminating the dark room before the deafening thunderclap almost makes her lose her balance. A storm is brewing… what will this tempest bring with it?
A sudden knock on the door pulls her out of her reverie, terror settling in instantly. Wobbling on unsteady feet, she stumbled towards the door, sore body protesting at every step, alarmed mind warning her not to open the door. But she does exactly that anyway, “What’s the worse that can happen? Maybe, he will be merciful for a change and kill me this time… finally..”
Steadying herself, she unlocks the door, ready to face her destiny. But it’s not him. Uniformed officers stand at the threshold, somber look on their faces. They extend a packet towards her, some bloodied items inside. “We are sorry… There was an accident this morning… visibility was low due to the rain… it was too late for the doctors to do anything….”
White noise filled her ears as the officers’ voices got tuned out. She pulled the familiar grey-hued shirt from the packet, stained crimson now. The metallic stench was still strong. An ID fell out from the folds…
The dizziness had come back.
She got to her feet. Walking aimlessly, she tried to fathom exactly what had happened. The first gush of damp wind on her face made her realize she had somehow reached the terrace. There was nothing between her and the overcast sky, nothing stopping the droplets from reaching her as the sky finally opened up, nothing stopping her from feeling free.
She raised her face towards the sky, embracing the rain for the first time in a long time, the downpour healing her little by little. Tears rolled down her face, getting lost in the rain as she reveled getting drenched.
At long last, the numbness melted and the barrage of her feelings gave way. Sadness, confusion, fear, relief blended into a scream, the sound – raw, bare, honest.
It’s over, it’s all over! What did this storm bring her? Freedom? Is this what absolution feels like?