21 comments

Fiction Contemporary Romance

TW: rape, suicide

 

The first time she said it, the phrase sounded so inconsequential. I mean you wouldn't, who would rather, notice or read more into a sentence meant to provide direction.

 

Get off the train, take the 45, count the stops to 14. Alight. Look up. You see a Shiva Temple. Walk towards it. Take a left past Turning Point. From thereon, it's a hop, skip, and jump. Third house to the right.

 

Right!

 

You remember saying right. You remember doing all she told you. You followed her instructions to a T. You remember the way her lips, red thick ones, curved into the edges, formed circular dimples on each cheek as she shot an arm and pulled you past the half opened door. You also remember how her hands wrapped around you as she clung on to you, the throb in her chest sending tingling shivering delights up your gym toned torso. And you, thereafter for years to come, would remember every single moment, every single breath that you exhaled and inhaled in her presence as well as absence. Every single nano moment since the time you met her to the time you invited yourself into her house, her home, her life, and right upto the year, month, day, hour, minute, second and nano moment when she extricated herself from the shackling tentacles of a rotten, heartless, godforsaken world, a world you had promised her to turn around, to make beautiful, to make it worth living. In you, she sought her Turning Point; you- she said, kept on retiterating- was her Turning Point.

 

And then, eons later, when you try to forget it all, you remember her all the more.

 

Yet, this time the remembrances aren't sweet. Instead, they are tainted with the deeds and misdeeds of what she feels should have happened and not, of what you feel should have been done and not.

 

And while your tortured soul rages through sultry summers, waning winters, and agonising autumns and searing springs, you realise it's a lifetime of sorrow that's sped by- been sliced through and not over as yet. It's only the precursor to another lifetime of deep, bone shearing, soul seeping, agony filled days and nights, an endless array of pain and suffering, the kind only meted out to the lowliest of the low lives that wander around this 'oh so over aged world'- an unhinged flotilla of crushed dreams.

 

It is only then it rams your brain_when she mentioned Turning Point she was not merely giving the road to her place, was also laying out the metaphysical path that would be your fate once your mind had formed and firmed. Had thought to do the unthinkable. To cross the Rubicon and fall in love with someone who society had ordained to be someone else's.

 

*

'Why do you love me so much', you asked early on in the relationship. She'd half sat up, thrown her arms around you. Then, in a voice dipped in hope, her eyes carrying a far away expression, answered, " 'b'coz you love me and nobody's done so".

 

You noticed her lips quivered when she said this, the little fingers curling up and disappearing into the folds of her tiny palm. Her hands clasped a wee bit more tightly around your bare back soon after. And that's how she held on to you for a long long time. You opened your mouth to say something but she shushed you with her lips, and that's how you too stayed- she sholding on to you like a child would her mother while soft velvety fingers built sky high castles on your bare back.

 

*

'You know what, before you I had hated men.'

 

It was close to Cindrella hour, and the sea waves had died out. They had lived through the day's madness, had their fair share of playing crests and troughs, even gotten bored of the mundaneity of rushing back and forth to make love to the rocky shores.

 

"Why do you say so?," you'd asked.

 

She didn't proffer an answer right away. But you got one a month later. The two of you had just made love. And as was her wont, she had clung on to you, slid her long legs under yours, and laid one hand on your chest.

 

"Men are beasts. All they want is sex."

 

You'd broken into a smile, looked down your chin, and cheekily replied, "So, that makes me one."

 

She pretended to have unheard it. Instead, simply smiled that curve that formed small circular pools on either ends of her cheek.

 

Intuitively, you knew she was about to drop a bomb. The appearance of those dimples were a foreboding.

 

The next few words confirmed your worst fears.

 

"My father raped me as a child!

 

The words were a hammer blow on your skull. For a moment you didn't know how to react. Your mind began to swirl, thoughts- tortuous and torturous- skidded back and forth. Stupefyingly, you stared at her, at the roof above, watching the fan blades, hearing their metronomic whirr as they made concentric rounds of the hotel room.

 

After what seemd an eternity, all you heard yourself saying was, "Oh my god...how...how is that possible...I... I am...I'm so...so sorry, my love".

 

She sat upright, and this time, her smile shone like a million stars, volleyed, "But you're different. You love me, don't you?"

 

She didn't affect an interrogative tone she had said that. It had the full authority of an affirmation, sanguine words springing from the mouth of someone who believed nee breathed the truth, the truth that you were different.

 

That you indeed were the polar opposite of the man who had breathed life into her. Also, you were different from the other man with whom she had walked seven times around the sacred fire before the priest had pronounced them as husband and wife. That you were, and this she very strongly believed so, was the man who would extricate her from the hell hole of a sham marriage that she found herself trapped into. That you truly were the Turning Point she'd had longed for, craved all her bitter life for.

 

And when she, in between sobs, had let out that 'he rapes me every single night', you knew come what may, you will have to restore her faith in humanity.

It was then the words slipped out of your mouth: Be prepared! Tomorrow, we will run away and make a new life.

 

It was the last you spoke to her, it was the last she spoke to you..

 

What came thereafter came via a text message.

 

Startled by the blinking blue, you had stabbed your phone to life.

 

It was her best friend.

"She's gone. Hanged herself in her room".

You remember losing it. You remember rushing out- crying, howling, shouting, screaming...a crazed soul, a man who was seeeing the end of the world.

 

You remember doing all that you'd been doing all the time.

 

Got off the train, took the 45, counted the stops to 14. Alighted...Shiva Temple...a left past Turning Point. From thereon, it's a hop, skip, and jump. Third house to the right.

 

Right!

No- WRONG!

There was no half opened door.

The door to life had been permanently slammed shut.

The tomorrow you had dreamt for her, for you, for both, was never to come. Instead, what you were left with was a morrow of never ending sorrow, of endless tears, and a soul searing question that begged for an answer: why did she lose hope in men, in me?" 

 

Guess, her Turning Point came long before she'd met you; yours after she'd left you.

July 20, 2021 18:51

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21 comments

Mahima Sharma
09:37 Aug 01, 2021

This was a marvelous piece of writing. The blending of romance with the rape side was just perfect. It was truly touching story.

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10:52 Aug 01, 2021

This was more stream of consciousness though I had a the narrative arc quite clear in my mind. I so very much appreciate this! If you would, I would really like you read and critique my other stories, especially my latest submission Two To Tango. Thanks again Mahima. Have a nice day! P.S I shall reading yours as well

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Mahima Sharma
16:59 Aug 01, 2021

I would love to. And I wish you the same.

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Mahima Sharma
16:59 Aug 01, 2021

I would love to. And I wish you the same.

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Rayhan Hidayat
10:41 Jul 28, 2021

Ah, I love my contemporary romances with a side of rape and suicide. Although the subject matter was grim, I was quite enamored by the beauty of this piece. What elegant prose. Great job 😙

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11:12 Jul 28, 2021

I am so very glad you found this story beautiful. Coming from you this means a lot! I am a huge, huge fan of your writings. You weave poetry through your words. Thanks Ray for the highly inspiring words. Have a nice day!

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Rayhan Hidayat
11:29 Jul 28, 2021

It’s my pleasure! Oh, you flatter me. Thank you, and have a nice day too.

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Vj Hamilton
00:53 Jul 28, 2021

You really drill down into the moment!

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05:13 Jul 28, 2021

Thanks VJ. Greatly appreciated I though person POV would more suit the character's agony and despair. Looks like my gamble has paid off.

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Moon Lion
01:45 Jul 27, 2021

Despite the warning at the beginning and elements of the storyline, the entire thing was written incredibly beautifully. Your use of certain allusions, e.g. fairytales, wedding customs, imagery and general style of writing set up and conveyed the story really well. I agree with a few of the points made by fellow commenters, including the use of 'that' All in all you created a masterful narrative, and a really sympathetic protagonist.

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07:16 Jul 27, 2021

Hi Moon, I am so overwhelmed by your words. I am glad my effort paid off, and nudging by the warm responses, I feel vindicated. I thank you dear Moon for the critique. I shall also read your story. Do tell me is ther a personal favourite you want me to critique! Thanks again!

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Deidra Lovegren
21:12 Jul 25, 2021

Oof, Neel. Gut punches all the way through. Corey makes some great points. This works so well in 2nd person. Ending needs a little fine tuning. How about this? The tomorrow you had dreamt for her, for you, for both, was never to come. Instead, what you were left with was never ending sorrow, endless tears, a soul searing question that begged for an answer: Why did she lose hope in men, in you? (*This question could be italicized for internal thought, not dialogue.) Her turning point came long before she'd met you; yours came after she'd ...

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Corey Melin
22:42 Jul 24, 2021

Overall a superb read of a romance that turns to tragedy. How life can be so tragic. That is where one needs to strive for some kind of bright light or the darkness will swallow you whole. I would recommend trying out pro writing aid. I use it for all my stories and it helps in many ways. Not a perfect tool, but a plus. I would also say when it comes to the use of "that" try reading your sentences without the use of it and see if it makes sense. I had a problem of using "that" all of the time until a fellow writer told me to omit a go...

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05:05 Jul 25, 2021

Hi Corey, I shall definitely follow your recommendation. Do you have one in mind? Is that a paid one? Also, I really appreciate you took time for this. Thanks for the very elucidating critique. I wrote it in the second person POV as I thought the resonance would be better. I am glad it worked.

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Corey Melin
15:32 Jul 25, 2021

It’s called pro writing aid. It’s for free but limited. You can pay for a year for advanced checking but I just kept to the free one

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15:36 Jul 25, 2021

Thanks Corey. I will surely check this one.

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15:36 Jul 25, 2021

Thanks Corey. I will surely check this one.

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07:06 Jul 22, 2021

I have always been keen on sad stories and this was a beautiful example of one. Let me start at the end: I like the expression, gives the readers time to think and another feels to the story. That way, we get to sit back and muse on every little detail in this. Halfway through, I realized she must have ended everything herself (dying) and I guess I did that because, one, of how you've written it. Two, of how traumatic both her life as a little girl and as a married woman was. My critique is to maybe touch up the present. It's more about som...

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07:21 Jul 22, 2021

Hi Abigail, first of all a big thanks for reading my story. I am so glad that you did so. Your comments are very succinct and constructive. That you liked the story and found it beautiful has filled me with a lot of confidence and vigour. Yes, it is a very sad story, and the MC is yet to come to terms with the sudden, inexplicable loss of someone who was very dear to him. No wonder, he still dwells in the past. Maybe , I would one present his current moods but that would be a new story altogether. Still, your view as to it should be he ...

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Claire Lewis
00:20 Jul 21, 2021

Hi Neel, thanks for the comment on my story. As requested, here are my thoughts on yours! I think you’ve made the second person POV work well in this story. I felt that instant pull into the plot, and you maintained that the whole way through. I also liked some of the recurring imagery, like her dimples, and there were some really nice turns of phrase scattered throughout. Critique-wise, I think this story could use another general edit or two. There were a few places where you may want to consider condensing sentences or splitting run-ons...

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02:08 Jul 21, 2021

Your well and timely comments are so very useful and welcome. I really appreciate and look forward to such concise and constructive criticism. Thanks a lot. I shall definitely work on them and incorporate all that you mentioned. Have a nice day, Claire.

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