Friday, June 26, 2009


I sat there for a long time. Unable to move. Unwilling to move. It was dark now and the rain was beating down harder. I cold wind was blowing. I knew the porch roof had leaks. It would be all wet now. He knocked again…

“Please! I beg of you! Please let me in. Help!”

I felt dark. Like someone switched off the lights inside me. And it all came back again. I didn’t remember if I had cried back then. In retrospect, maybe I did. It was all hazy and yet, painfully clear. It seemed to be very cold in those days, even in the summers. I would often be alone in the afternoons, when others kids would be asleep. Their mothers wouldn’t let them out to play.

I would sit about listlessly, with the few toys that my mother would get on the way back from work. Cheap china-made dolls from stalls by the roadside. I never really remembered when it first started happening. All I could remember was the touch. The raw, hideous touch of his hands. I probably didn’t know what was happening, but there was instinct, the most primal there was, which told me it was wrong.

He came back often, sometimes several times the same day. I would try to run away, but he would always stop me. There was a smell of dust on him. Dust and alcohol. And despite his stupor, he was always to strong for me.

I could still smell the dust in nightmares sometimes. Now I could hear the howling wind…

“Let me in!”, he cried again. I could hear the pain in his voice. “I’m bleeding! Please!”

It was this voice, this very voice that I would dread. It was a voice that would change a lot too. When my mother came home, often late at night, he would be sweet. He m\would make sure the alcohol wore off. Sometimes he would even bathe. He would be clean. I never felt the same way in those days. I would wash myself, my clothes, several times. I would spend hours in the bathroom at a time. It was only less time that I had to face him. Despite my blurred memory, what I could remember best, or worst, was this dull pain. It was a pain in my heart. Beneath my little ribs, a nine-year-old heart used to cringe, squeal and throb with that dull pain.

“I’m in pain! Please listen to me…let me in…it’s…hurting….They stabbed me….took everything away….i can’t go anywhere…please let me come in….only for a few hours. I’ll go away”. His voice broke in through the cold shrieking of the wind.

I now stood with my back to the door. I couldn’t bring myself to forget. My mother come to know eventually, when she came home early. What happened after that, I didn’t know. She sent me to my room. I sat there for a long time. Trying to listen to the muffled noises outside. Then she came back and let me out. We never spoke about it. I discovered he had left with his things, never to come back, till now.

“I will die here if you don’t help me.” His voice was feeble now, almost like a polite request, like he was asking for more tea, please.

For one small moment, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I turned around and opened the door. The cold wind came in with the smell of dust and alcohol…

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