Mashal was sitting in the car, waiting for her parents and 7-year-old son to bring things from the mart. They were going on a vacation together and her son loved to munch during the journey.
Her car was parked a little away from the store, the pole light next to the car illuminated the street ahead of her. In the faint light, she saw a stooped figure moving towards her car. His tattered clothes and unclean attire told her he was a beggar. She kept watching; skeptic until he crossed her car. He went by, but for the second he was passing, made a little seed of worry grow in her mind and she thought; I don’t want to die.
She laughed at her little scare; He wasn’t going to kill you. She unconsciously looked towards her right, from where the mini mart was in sight, her thoughts drifting away.She thought how people and circumstances changed you and your entire way of looking at life. I don’t want to die, was, All I want to do is die, a few months ago.
Her mind took her back to the sting of his sharp nails scraping along her cheeks, the pull of his strong hands plucking her hair out of her scalp, the maniacal voice tearing through her eardrums. That lonely sitting in the dark, for hours, after the storm of kicks and fists subsided. When she picked up her broken self and cleaned the mess of bruises and purple blotches, the storm always left.
Later she found herself listening to the traumatized rant of her mind;
I want to die.
I want to die.
I want to die.
She was amazed how at one point of life your circumstances can make you feel so trapped that you wish for death and how when they change, when you find yourself getting free, the idea of death sounds rather distant. How, now, the idea seemed very strange but still oddly familiar. Now, after she was free, from the demon that had trapped her for 10 years.
She thought about the demon. Should she refer to him as a demon? She was glad to ask this question of herself. This was new too.
Because now that she was out of that bubble in which both of them were trapped, she could see he had his own demons. Unsolved, unattended mysteries or rather miseries which came out as strong outbursts. She could see his demons now in the form a violent mother and a ghost of a father.
She wished him a free life too and decided not to call him a demon from now on wards. He also had the right to live normally and she had seen little remnants of the normality after their marriage, in the initial years, when his addiction had not taken full control of him.
Happy footsteps and laughter approached her bringing her back from her detour to that dark niche in her mind, which, she was happy to realize was getting lighter day by day. Her son came running towards her and started showing her all the munchies, he had brought for the trip. She smiled and put an arm around her son’s shoulders and absorbed all the excitement and thrill dripping from his face.
The circumstances change; as the former have, maybe these will too, but she wanted to remember every bit of these. She wanted to enjoy the fact that her surroundings made her think; I don’t want to die.
Shortlisted and published in the Brilliant Flash Fiction Freestyle Writing Competition 2015