She woke up with a groan. She was having a throbbing headache and her throat seemed to be on fire. She did not count how many times she had already visited the bathroom and vomited in the commode. She climbed out of bed once again and dragged herself to the bathroom to check her face in the mirror over the basin. What she saw in the mirror brought back the nausea and she bent over the commode and emptied the contents of her stomach yet again. She straightened up, walked back to the basin and rinsed her mouth and then she looked up at the mirror again to find a distorted face looking back at her. Her right eye was swollen and the skin around the eye was black and blue. There were bruises over her neck and shoulder and there was a small cut on her lip. She knew she should have dressed up the wounds at night when they were fresh but she had been so tired after the incident she had returned home crying hysterically and had collapsed on the bed.
Samruddhi opened the medicine cabinet and popped a painkiller and gulped down a glass of basin water. She filled the same glass with more water and taking out a cotton ball from the medicine cabinet, she dipped it in water and then carefully tried to clean her face and get rid of the dried blood. She winced as she accidentally pressed too hard over the cut on her lip causing it to bleed again. She poured some antiseptic on another cotton ball and applied it over the wounds and gave a heart-wrenching scream as the antiseptic licked at the wounds. She fell on her knees and started sobbing causing the antiseptic to sting further.
Controlling her sobs she finally walked out of the bathroom and slid into the bed again and closed her eyes. Her cellphone vibrated next to her on bed but before she could attempt to answer the call, the cellphone stopped vibrating. She checked the display and frowned. There were 38 missed calls in 10 mins! She wondered what was going on. She checked the missed call log and muttered under her breath, “What the fuck! How dare he!” She did not understand why Sid would call her now, especially after what had happened the previous night. She sat upright in bed and stared at the wall, remembering the happenings which had led to the pathetic state she was in. It had been just a few hours ago.. five or was it six; she did not clearly remember..
Her husband Sid and she were at a late night party together, everything was fine and she was having a great time with Sid until some guy she knew from college approached her and asked her for a dance. Knowing how possessive Sid was about her, she politely refused and the guy walked away but not before kissing her on the cheek. Sid did not say anything in words but she could feel it. She knew it had upset him. Sid walked to the bar, holding Samruddhi’s hand and after he had downed a few drinks, Sid lost his control. He placed a glass of whisky in front of her and asked her to drink it despite knowing that she could not consume alcoholic beverages as she was pregnant. She tried to refuse but he forced the glass to her mouth and titled the glass pouring the content over her lips and down her throat, finally she opened her mouth and drank to avoid further embarrassment because the couple seated few seats away from them at the bar were staring at Sid and her. After emptying the glass into her mouth he pushed his drink towards her and asked her to take the shot of Vodka he had ordered for himself. This one, Samruddhi drank without resisting because by this time she had started to get scared of the man her loving husband was turning into. After she finished the drink he pulled her towards the dance floor and danced with her, his body too close to hers. She could feel his grip tightening around her waist and he pulled her further close, their bodies completely against one another’s and then he kissed her. Right there, in front of all the people, in front of her friends, in front of the strangers. She tried to pull back but he held her tight against his chest. With no other option left, she did the only thing she could. As Sid’s tongue explored her mouth, she bit his tongue really hard, which made him move back in shock and loosen his grip over Samruddhi. He cursed and before Samruddhi could move back to a safer distance he slapped her hard across her face. Feeling his tongue with his fingers, when he realized it was bleeding, he slapped her again. This time Samruddhi had moved away but unfortunately not far enough. Sid’s hand still hit her face but it landed on her eye. Samruddhi winced in pain and covered her face with her hands to avoid further blows; it also saved her from looking into the eyes of the people at the party who were staring at them forgetting the dance, forgetting whatever they were doing before Sid had started his own show. Sid then pulled her out of the party and away from the staring gazes of the guests. Pulling her towards the parking lot he yelled at her accusing her of having problem dancing with her own husband and secretly wanting to dance with men from her past. Tears started flowing down her cheeks and she cried silently not saying a word. This infuriated Sid further and he reached for her throat. Shocked by Sid’s sudden movement Samruddhi struggled out of his grip bruising her neck and shoulders and then she fled from the parking lot. She ran holding her high heels in her hands, she ran not bothering that the shoulder strap of her dress had come off slightly exposing her chest, she ran without caring that people were staring at her, the maniac girl who was running barefoot on the highway. She did not stop, she did not look back, she did not bother hailing a cab, she just ran – ran until she reached home. She opened the door with the spare key and entered the house, their house. It was only after closing the main door and securely locking it did she take deep breaths taking in as much air as she could to ease the tightness in her chest. She collapsed on the bed but only after a few minutes she had to get up and rush to the bathroom to vomit. In between the episodes of vomiting she had managed to get some sleep.
The vibration of the cellphone pulled her out of her reverie. She was still holding the cellphone in her hand. She looked at the display. Sid’s name flashed on the screen. With shaking hands she reluctantly answered the call and whispered hello.
“Hello!” The voice on the other end was not Sid’s.
“Yes?” Samruddhi questioned. Sid never left his cellphone anywhere, so it was not possible that someone else had found it and dialed her number from dialed list. Maybe he was drunk and someone else had accessed his phone to call her so that she could pick him up. Too depressed because of what had happened at the party, she had not even realized that Sid had not followed her home, he had not come home at night!
“Hello, are you there? Hello?” The voice repeated.
“I am still here. Who is this?” she asked.
“Ma’am I have been trying your number for past ten minutes. I found your number in the dialed list of the cellphone. The person who had the cellphone in his possession has met with an accident. He has died on the spot. The ambulance is on its way. Could you please reach Cooper hospital as fast as you can make it? Hello …” Samruddhi zoomed out of the conversation which made no sense to her anymore. Sid has met with an accident? How could Sid ever get hurt? He only knew how to hurt others, how to hurt her. Her Sid was hurt, no he was dead! It made no sense, no sense at all. She dropped the cellphone to the floor and fresh tears gathered in her eyes and ran down her cheeks creating fresh tracks on her face. This time, however, the salt from her tears did not cause the antiseptic to sting. There was no pain, there would never be pain again.