The Dark Face

Short-story

Anger‘, read Anamika again from a paper-cutting in her hand. She had already read the word, a hundred times rarely blinking while sitting on the armchair in her room. Her face muscles had hardly made any movement since the last few hours.

Sun rays were peeping from the side of the curtains which covered windows intentionally to prevent rays from coming inside her room. Anamika got addicted to the darkroom in just a few hours. Any place where sunlight couldn’t reach; where no one could see her, was now a comfort for her.

After staring for so long at the paper cutting, she finally called the Counsellor’s Clinic and fixed an appointment.

It was around two in the afternoon. She went outside the room and asked her son smiling, “Hey Aarav, go bring some chocolates for yourself from the market.” Expressionless, he left for the market.

It was almost half an hour since Aarav left and there was no sign of him till now. Anamika was now terrified.

Anamika had never been so frightful. Aarav used to go the market, to the playground, to his friends’ place and even for a walk alone; but never did she feel so worried. In this half an hour hundreds of negative thoughts whacked her. Even one minute seemed like hours.

There was a reason why Anamika was so scared.

She was known for her strong and influential personality in her workplace. She has always dealt elegantly with her colleagues, staff and every other person in the entrepreneur world.

She, being a businesswoman and a single mother, had different faces behind this elegance.

While she was waiting for Aarav to come, her mind was wandering in another zone, thinking about the chain of an event started two days back.

Two days ago, Aarav showed her a letter from the school. He was caught smoking in school with his friends. They were taken to the Principal’s Office where he got into a fight with one of those friends and hit him hard. His friend started bleeding and Aarav in return received a week’s suspension.

Anamika lost her temper and scolded him. She even slapped him. This wasn’t shocking for Aarav as it wasn’t the first time his mother had hit him out of anger.

Two days passed after this incident and Anamika still hadn’t talked to Aarav. Though Aarav tried hard to melt her, nothing worked. This morning too he surprised her by preparing morning tea and went to her room with a delicious smelling cup of tea.

As soon as Anamika’s eyes fell on him, she slapped him again. But this time she broke the silence. She started abusing Aarav and kept hitting him with all her energy. She was shouting at the highest pitch she could. This continued until she got tired.

The moment her torture ended, she looked at Aarav. He was standing numb. Neither he was crying, nor he was responding to her actions.

Seeing him Anamika’s mind started recalling every physical and mental abuse she had done with her own child.

Although Aarav had faced tough days with his mother’s tortures, he always knew this was never intentional. Past two years have been dreadful for his mother too after his father left them for some other woman. She was single-handedly managing her house as well as work.

Above all, Aarav loved his mother and he knew that his mother loved him even more.

Aarav’s numbness made Anamika break into tears as if it struck the right chord. She hugged him and muttered ‘Sorry baby’.

As soon as her words fell into his ears, he started sobbing. His grief started unleashing with the teardrops and Anamika felt relieved at his response. But Aarav was trembling now. He was breathing heavily and was struggling for air. His broken voice was unable to find its way out.

Aarav’s condition made Anamika frightful. She gave him water, hugged him and rubbed his back but nothing made him better. She asked him to sit silently and take deep breaths but nothing calmed him down.

Anamika was now weeping hard and didn’t know how to bring him back to normal. So she finally took him outside in the garden, made him sit on the grass closing his eyes and pray. While he was doing as asked, Anamika counted till five and asked him to breathe slowly with the rhythms of her counts. As soon as she noticed that his pulses slowed down, she whispered in his ears, “Forgive me, Honey. You know momma loves you so much”.

After around twenty minutes, Aarav was much better and Anamika sighed in relief.

The morning started badly but soon Aarav got busy in his school work and Anamika locked herself in her room. Although random thoughts kept harassing her until she finally stood and asked Aarav to go to the market.

This incident was the reason behind her worry. Aarav was upset with what happened and Anamika regretted asking him to go to the market alone.

Minutes passed and Aarav was still not home. What if Aarav never comes back? What if Aarav is still angry and he decides to leave her? What if his love for her vanished and he decided to punish her by doing something unacceptable to her?

Anamika started consoling herself. She repeated inside her mind, “He is a strong boy. He loves you. He won’t do anything stupid.” But the intensity of fear overshadowed her assertions. So she finally locked her house and left to find his son.

She searched every store where Aarav could possibly go, but she didn’t get lucky. She even searched the playground and a few more places near her house but there was no sign of Aarav. Anamika’s pulses were now very high.

She then thought maybe Aarav got home and was waiting for her to come. So she went back but he was not there. Unaware of Aarav’s whereabouts, she sat on the bench in her garden. Her brain stopped working and she was clueless about ways to find him. She cursed herself for being so harsh, for dumping all her frustration inside him, for forgetting about the tenderness of the little child and for every stupid thing she had ever done without thinking about him.

While she was going through these memories of guilt, she felt someone’s hand on her shoulders. She looked up and started crying like a baby; it was Aarav. He was baffled with her action but he kept quiet and hugged her saying, “I understand Mumma”.

After all this drama Anamika finally visited her Counsellor. No doubt, Anamika loved Aarav a lot. Her life had turned upside down when her beloved husband left. Time made her life messier and she tried to clean the mess by putting his son’s mental peace at stake.

Whatever Aarav faced, he never complained. But for sure, he was still like a bud and he needed to be treated with love and care.

Nothing is precious than our time for our loved ones, so they both started spending more time together. Anamika forgave her for his suspension from school and Aarav forgave her for all the troubles. They both decided to move on further with a promise of facing all highs and lows together.

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