“I can’t believe I heard those toxic words coming out of your mouth!” This sentence has been bugging me since yesterday. True, the Emily of five years ago could never have behaved as she did a day ago, but then she also could have been in a better place now, couldn’t she? But James would never get that. After all, it was his mother. How could he put up with the fact that his wife was humiliating his GOD-LIKE Mother? He was mortified. And it was justifiable too.
But wasn’t it also his responsibility to protect me from his mother’s poisonous words and deeds all these years? Maybe he did. Perhaps he didn’t. I can’t remember now. Everything seems so blurred. Or perhaps I am exaggerating. That woman just wanted me to be hard enough for the cruel world. I was too naïve ten years ago. Hmm. She just wanted me to be able to face the nasty attitudes of the people around me.
But wasn’t she one of them too? I’m deviating again.
“Where have you been?” The snow had started falling slowly, and so did my heart as I entered the foyer.
“I told you in the morning about the meeting in the office.” I can’t believe I used to explain myself.
“Do I look like a fool, or do you think so about me?” My heart had sunk a little more.
“I…I don’t get it. I was in the meeting. I… You don’t remember I told you I would be late.”
“Or perhaps you’re lying.” Those eyes. My God.
Should I recount this incident or a thousand more like this to James? I think I did. Every single time. But why doesn’t he remember? Or he remembers everything and doesn’t want to admit it?
I have to have this conversation with him anytime soon. But didn’t he tell me off yesterday? Why have I become so forgetful?
Where is that gorgeous maple tree? Why can’t I see it? Is it covered in fog? Yes, I guess so.
Those piercing eyes of her! I still can sense a shiver down my spine.
Will James leave me now? Of course, but what do I care?
“I can’t believe I heard those toxic words coming out of your mouth!”
“That woman deserved to hear that!”
“That woman is my mother!”
“And this woman is your wife!”
He was silent for a moment. Then he left. I couldn’t believe my voice. When did I become so bold? I wasn’t proud of myself.
The door he left through is still ajar. I can see my feline peeping in. Poor creature. She had to listen to the loud and noxious voices.
What is this? ugh… I’ve been going through this a lot lately- with many other things.
The trichologist said that my hair-thinning might have to do with severe depression. Have I been depressed? What did I tell him? I told him I saw a tuft of hair sticking to the cushion and the back of the couch every time I sat on it.
I was depressed. My beautiful hair will never grow back.
Am I depressed now? Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not.
Why are my ears ringing?
“How I have tolerated this uncouth girl all these years, only I know!” She was sobbing.
But then, who endured who? I was confused. I was numb.
I still am numb. I haven’t said a word since James left. But then, it’s been a day only. I have been through this zone of silence before.
“What is it that your wife is so proud of? What is she? A queen of some sort? Why doesn’t she like to talk to me?” I had heard her once, saying this to James over the phone. Right after that, I received a call from him.
“What do you think of yourself? Why don’t you talk to my mother? Can’t you be thankful for a moment that she has given us her place to stay?! How could you be so thankless?!”
James couldn’t afford his place. He would be able to do so after 2 years. He was saving money. At least, that’s what he told me when I said yes to his proposal. Ten years later, we are in the same place.
But I am not. Since last month.
I’ve got my place. However dingy it is. Oh, did I say what it was this time? I moved a month ago. And it hit that woman’s ego. She came to see me yesterday. She came to see my “dream palace” as she called it.
“So, this is what you have preferred over my place?”
“Yes. At least it’s mine.”
“I knew your class since day one.” She had smirked.
“I could afford only this with my savings.” James had entered.
“Or you could go live in a shelter house. Oh, refresh my memory. Isn’t it where you used to live before you trapped my James?”
“Get out of my home with your filthy tongue and sick mind!” I had lost all control.
I had never raised my voice before, not even when the gatekeeper of that shelter house tried to grab me. Not even when my stepfather came and took all the money my dear mother had left me when she died. Not even when that gatekeeper finally got what he wanted.
But now? I will get used to raising my voice. Time is only what I need.
The snow is falling now. But my heart isn’t sinking anymore. I can see that red hue of my favourite maple tree now. Soon, it will be covered in snow. But the mist has lifted. It’s so quiet. I can hear my heart beating. Those soft rhythmic beats.
I can’t hear any storm coming. Or maybe there is one. Who knows?
Finally, I am proud of the new me.
My ears aren’t ringing anymore.
But will James come back? The door is still ajar.
I love my slightly grey and extremely thin hair. They are mine. That maple tree is mine too.
I love those little paws. “Why don’t you come inside, sweetie?”
She comes inside.
What is this sound? A gust of wind.
The door is closed. A sudden calm. Outside and inside.