The person lying in front of her was the last person in the world she would think of shedding tears for. Her green eyes scrutinized her father’s rigid face, his erect body, and his furrowed forehead. She let out a deep sigh, He was the person that had made her life worse than hell and unbearable to live. She was fed up of him. Even his sight made her sick. She could now go wherever she wants, there won’t be anyone to ruin her plans. She would live a normal life and a lot better one from the one she was living before.
She endured 13 years of her with this man but no more. She glanced sideways at the sound of weeping and gawped at her mother. She never knew why her mother ever loved this cold-hearted man. Who couldn’t even see her own daughter’s happiness?
Her mother was slumped on the chair beside her father whimpering like a child. Her sobs were the only sound that could be heard in that white walled room.
A female doctor had entered the room a few moments before to tell them about the damage done by the accident; giving him paraplegia. His father was in a poor shape and there was a fat chance of him staying alive. When that news was told, both of them took it differently, her mother was about to faint but then she got a hold on herself., however, Natasha didn’t say a word, just stared at her father’s lifeless face and thought how lucky she was.
Natasha was snapped out of her thoughts at the arrival of the doctor. It was the same doctor, but this time she had a file in her hand.
‘Mrs. Dean, here’s the file and all the documents you need. We cannot tell you the exact time, when he will be discharged nor I want to give you any false hope of his recovery. One thing I want to add, very dejectedly that Mr. Dean is in a terrible state and if he does recover, he won’t be able to stand on his legs. You can only pray for him.’ She announced monotonously with no emotions and turned around to leave but then stopped as if she remembered something.
‘Can I ask who’s Natasha here?’ Natasha had long lost interest in her but then when she heard her name pronounced, she quickly turned to see who had called her name.
‘Yes?’ Natasha asked raising her eyebrows.
‘You are Natasha?’ the doctor asked to make sure, but then said,
‘Of course. The thing was that your father was persistently mumbling your name in his sleep and was saying something about keeping her safe. I thought this was something you guys want to know.’ She left the room leaving behind the aroma of her jasmine perfume.
Natasha waved her hand and added smirking, ‘I won’t be surprised even if he comes in my dreams and haunts me. I bet he had vowed that he won’t spare me till my death.’
Her mother was too tired to argue so she just carried on her crying.
Three days were gone, and Natasha’s life had changed so much. Natasha didn’t know her life would be so much amusing without her father. She had started living her own life not giving a heck about her mother who was weakening day by day, turning hollow from inside, the sorrow for her husband was eating her up.
Not only Natasha’s life had changed but she herself had transformed, at her place a strange girl had taken place who just live for herself, her mother would insist her not to go outside but Natasha didn’t care. she had stared to go in the gathering which her father strictly forbade, she went to malls with her friends and spent most of her time outdoors unaware of the danger that awaits her outside the four walls of her house.
‘Natasha! Her mother groaned from her room because she needed a glass of water; her throat was all dry She tried to get up and positioned herself in a sitting position. Her body was paining all over and she was about to stand up by putting all the force on her hand when her hand slipped beneath her and she stumbled back on the bed breathing heavily. She had never imagined that her own daughter would do this to her. Even that thought brimmed her eyes with tears. She remembered very clearly as if it was happened yesterday when Natasha was in her hands sleeping cosily, her cute soft hands folded in a fist. It was the happiest day of her life, her wish to take her daughter in her hands, to feel the happiness, the warmness of her. Her mother had brushed her nose against her face and had closed her eyes, forgetting about all the woes in her life, all the troubles she knew she had to face because of Natasha but still she didn’t let those thoughts spoil her moment of her life.
Her mother jerked her head from the meddled thoughts and once again called out Natasha’s name but to no avail as Natasha was at her friend’s house living the time of her life.
‘Natasha, I am surprised.’ Her friend, Mariana, said looking at her and putting down three bottles of bear on the table in front of the couch.
‘You should be, I already know the reason of your amazement, let me clear your foggy thoughts. Listen everybody, listen up!’ Natasha shouted to her friends, waving her hands in the air.
‘Remember the old hag; known as my father is, dead!’ she said this as if she was announcing a party invitation. She cheered and booed.
Everyone goggled at her. ‘What? you guys shoulda be celebrating with me, come on, cheer up, drink up for my freedom!’
She was completely drunk.
‘Has he seriously died?’ Mariana shouldered her and whispered in her ear.
‘Huh?’ Natasha asked.
‘Mandy, can u please bring me a glass of water?’ they poured the glass on her to bring her back to her senses.
‘No, he’s not actually dead, but it doesn’t matter because his legs are paralyzed so...’ Natasha told her when she came back to senses. She was feeling so ashamed at her behavior that she asked leave as fast as she could. Her heart stopped when she peeked through the curtain because it was pitch dark outside. She didn’t have any idea how would she get home in that time of night.
She didn’t have money for taxi so she just walked to home, there wasn’t much distance in her house and Mariana's. It was only 15 mins walk but at that time it was hard not to be afraid. Mariana’s house was in the alleyway, she stammered in the corner trying not to catch attention. There was utter silence, not even a dog in sight. She walked with a quick pace but it was like the distance is stretching itself. She was halfway to her house when she realized that someone was following her, she didn’t have guts to turned around and see who the follower was so she just broke into a run. She ran like she never had; she didn’t give a rest to her legs until she was at the doorstep of her house. She quickly put her hair right and put them in a catcher. Put her bangs behind her ear and rang the bell.
‘Natasha!’ her mother shrieked at her sight. She was worried sick, checking the watch every passing second and praying for her safety. ‘where have you been? Why are you breathing heavily? Is there something wrong? What happened? NATASHA!’ her mom yelled at her when she walked pass her and headed to her room, ‘Mom, for god sake!’ and slammed the door at her face.
Mom just stood their for a moment and then return to Dean’s room. Her mother softly pushed the door open and peek inside, his eyes were open staring blankly at the ceiling.
‘Did you tell her?’ Natasha’s father asked in a strained voice.
‘Don’t you worry. I’ll ask her as I get the chance.’ Her mother didn’t want to make him more worried than he was.
‘But she doesn’t even want to see me.’ He added in a hurt tone. He turned his face towards Neola.
‘Dean, calm down, and don’t fret up yourself because of her. She is big enough to look after her and if you are forgetting I am with her.’ She tried to console her.
‘Nice try, Neola. I heard the conversation you had with her. I know she didn’t give a shit about us.’ Neola took his hands, ‘Dean, let me try. And Please take care of yourself, I can’t afford to lose you too.’
‘Natasha?’ after a whole week she gather the courage to ask because her mother couldn’t see Dean in that state.
‘Mom, I don’t want to talk about that night okay? So please just leave me alone.’
‘no, it’s not that, actually your father is continuously asking for you.’ Mom already knew the reaction.
‘huh! I knew it. Please told him to LEAVE ME ALONE. Isn’t he at peace after ruining half of my life?’ Natasha shrieked.
‘Natasha, he loves you. Why don’t you understand?’ her mother pleaded.
‘I very well know that how much he loves me.’ She said disgusted. ‘That was my worst day when I open my eyes into this world and found that monster looking down to me. He never loved me, he just felt pleasure in tormenting me, and I am ashamed to call him my father and one more thing you just quit forcing me to do anything.’ She pushed the plate in front of her and got up.
‘please stop pushing me into him. My life is a lot better without him. And here,’ She pushed some money in her mother’s hand.
‘When did you start working?’ Her mother said feeling offended.
‘Do I have to? I think so you both have lost the right to question me.’ Her mother would prefer being stabbed by a knife rather than to endure that pain.
The days passed and Natasha became more stubborn than ever, she spent most of her wandering in the streets.
Both her parents were worried to death what would happen to her. They both locked their gazes on the clocks when it would be the time of her arrival.
Her father now scarcely talked. Her mother was also getting ill day by day. And then one day; Natasha came from her school and found her mother on the floor; her hair spread out, her mouth open, and her legs were folded underneath her. Natasha was awestruck what to do but then she called an ambulance and her mother also ended up in ICU.
Now it was Natasha’s duty to feed her father, because of that she quit visiting her mother.
Natasha would give her father food at the dead of night so she could not meet her when he was awake. When her father realized that trick of Natasha, he forced himself awake at night too.
Natasha opened the door as quietly as possible and tiptoed in the room, she was amazed when she found her father quiet because most of the nights, he would be mumbling her name but that day his ragged breaths could only be heard.
She put the tray down beside her bed and she had just turned around when she realized that someone was holding her hand.
Natasha quickly jerked back and pulled her hand away, but his grip was strong.
‘Leave my hand!’ she yelled.
‘Please! Just sit beside me for a minute. I have not seen you I don’t know for how long.’ He said gently.
‘Why? You wanna beat me up. Or what?’ She was surprised at his father’s calm but desperate voice.
‘Why would I want to hurt you huh? You are my princess. The most precious thing in my whole life. Why do you always act as if I am the worst enemy of yours. Natasha I am your father. You are the most beautiful thing that ever happen to me. You are my life. I would never want to hurt you. I couldn’t even think of hurting you, let alone from my words.’
‘right!’ she turned her face with a derisive laugh.
‘Just listen me up. The last favor I asked from you. Okay?’ she didn’t have another choice.
‘You know which is my best day of my life, the best moment, one which I just can’t forget is the day when you were born.’
‘Yeah right, I also couldn’t forget that day but the difference is that day is my worst one.’ Natasha muttered. Her father was lost in his own thoughts and ignored her.
‘You know, when I took you in my arms, it was like all the happiness in this world was in my hands, I cradled you and felt you, it was the best feeling I ever felt. I cuddled and played with you. You are my universe, Natasha.’ Her father was smiling sweetly lost in the memories. It was like he was 10 years younger from his age, his face was so lightened and full of life.
Natasha stared at him and couldn’t help smiling back. She just couldn’t believe that that he was the same man.
‘I don’t know if your mother has told you that we both ran away from our families. you know why?’ his father took her hand in his and squeezed it. A tear rolled down his cheek as he relived the sourest moment of his life.
‘Because of you.’ Natasha looked at her father’s face, to check if he was joking but his face was serious and straight. Because of her?
‘We didn’t want to lose you and your grandparents wanted a boy but they got was you. They told us to waste you but we didn’t. You were our first ever child just how could we kill you?’ he paused for a minute.
Natasha just couldn’t express her feelings, their parents ran away because of her, they sacrifice their families just because of her. The proudness, the happiness, the freedom she was feeling just hours ago was creeping away, instead she felt like drowning in a black sea where there was no return. She thought the way she talked about his father ‘the old hag’. She felt her face hot; how could she do this? Her mother was suffering in the hospital fighting for her life, alone.
She was so ungrateful; she didn’t know that she had parents who love her to death.
‘And,’ his father brought her to the present. ‘you know why I never allowed you to go outside, because of your safety. You were being followed by my family, my brothers who envy me and just couldn’t see me happy. They want my most precious thing. And that’s you. But they are no more. I finished them up when this accident occurred just for my little darling.’ Natasha remembered the time when she felt that she was being followed and all the other moments she felt that she was in danger.She got up and put her lips on father’s forehead.
‘Baba!’ she cried softly. That was the first time she had called him that.
‘Natasha, you are my love, my princess, my darling, my honey, my dearest, my universe, you are something to me that takes me to the horizon, you are my dream. Nothing is precious than you, nothing is dearest than you. I am so sorry if you are hurt or...’
‘Baba please! I don’t know how will I ever face you. I am a useless brat. Please forgive me and if you don’t, I won’t be surprised because I am not worth forgiving.’ Natasha felt the word ‘baba’ and cried aloud that she couldn’t even have the chance to feel the word.
The tears flowed down without stopping. She put both her arms around baba and adjusted her head on his chest. It was like no power in this world could harm her, she felt so safe, so warm, so happy, at that spot, she whimpered and wept and didn’t let go of him.
‘Here come here, baby’ Natasha put her ear on his lips to hear what he wanted to say and then she felt lips on her cheeks, she let him kiss her.
When she entered the hospital where her mother was admitted she shouldered her way towards her ward,running wildly.
‘Mama?’ she called to her mother. Maybe she was sleeping, she thought.
‘Mama! Please open your eyes. Here’s Natasha.’ She shrieked but her mother didn’t even stir. Her heart was sinking lower and lower.
‘Mama! Come on!’ Nothing happened.
‘Doctor! Please wake my mom up.’ She stared at the doctor and knew the reply straight away.
‘Mama!’ she called her heart hammering; forehead sweating and her body was shaking uncontrollably. She shook her but still her pale face was empty as it was before.
Natasha was enveloped by darkness, someone was pulling her away from all the light, her heart sunk and she felt like her body had frozen. Her head was pounding. She tried last time by shaking her mother but she was as still as a rock. Natasha stood their hopelessly staring at her mother’s dead body, tears rolled down her cheeks.
Natasha tried to digest the truth that her mother was dead, she didn’t have a chance to ask forgiveness. Her mother had died because of her. How would she live with the regret engraved in her heart? It was like someone was taking the sole out of her, how wrong she was to think that her worst day was the one when she opened her eyes and found her parents looking down at her? Her legs gave away from under her and she stumbled down.