that night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


how a person who heals lives falls prey to all the pain and misgivings of the world and moves on to save the love of his life but in a weird ways.

Submitted: June 10, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 10, 2018

A A A

A A A


That night, she stormed into her room, shoving me aside and wiping her face, her long black hair cascading away in the darkness. I made a feeble, almost quiet attempt to stop her, but found myself at a loss. She put out the lights one by one, and wanted to close the window, but then decided to let it stay ajar, allowing the beating rain and winds to bring in the tranquility she longed for. Our mansion was located at the end of the grey street, near a Pizza Hut outlet which was a personal favourite and the second best in town. All day long, you could hear the cars honking through the concrete pathway, but the town heaved this long sigh of relief as night fell and the sky went purple. My duty at the hospital was over after sixteen hours, and that seemed to drain all the energy I had possessed in the beginning. There was a patient in the seventh floor, wriggling with the pain of a third degree burn, and the elevator had ominously gone out of service that day. That implied me going up and down multiple times, only to look at his pain worsening each time, and his wife, an aged woman, was flailing her arms begging the nurse- in- charge to do something to assuage the condition. The Pizza Hut outlet was still open, much to my astonishment, because it was already in the wee hours of night, and it was raining big drops now. I walked in, plodding really, and smiled at an elderly couple near the door. I tried hard to remember how I knew them, but eventually gave in, ordering two pizzas, remembering my wife’s preferences, and imagining the way her lips would stretch into that beautiful smile I loved. As the clatter of pots and pans reverberated in the kitchen, I closed my eyes, drips of perspiration oozing from my forehead. A flashback persisted for a few seconds, and I yawned. I remembered this woman in labour who was screeching in ache, and it was my second year in the hospital, not very used to all the soreness and groans. The lights in the OT had not done much good, only casting pallor of uncertainty and gloom, with the ECG machine beeping the last few seconds of her life, a rather dismal background. She had given in eventually, and her father gasped and shrieked in the hallway, when I broke the news to him. The Pizza boy walked in with a rather silly smile, professionally sweet otherwise drab, saying “340 for two, bhaiya.”, and I jolted back to reality. I made the payment, and walked out, not liking the downpour that was heavier and louder by now. I dragged my feet, wearily and reluctantly, whimpering at the way the bruise in my left arm started stinging all of a sudden. I tried not to relive the boy at the emergency entrance, all wrapped in a barbed wire, and my senior, a sullen man of sixty had asked me to hold the boy from floundering like a crazy victim. That incurred me a few unassuming cuts and blood had oozed out from all places in my hand, the bitter twinge of which I swallowed, with a few bated breaths. I felt like crying really. All those long tedious hours at the hospital was breaking me now. Ailments everywhere, followed by groans of loss or bickering fights about money. The blank blue walls with paint peeling away at every corner would look at me every day, seeming to laugh at me in wry sarcasm, as I climbed each step with fading vigor. I could still hear the resonating wails of families of deceased people, cursing the gods, and my ears were now echoing with the grievous howling of trauma patients, draped in the surreal thudding of thunder in the distance. I felt my vulnerability, and decided I needed a drink to alleviate this agony crawling in my veins like a vengeful, slithering monster, licking away at my fervor, and rendering me a breathing corpse. I went to the roadside bar and ended up drinking from a multitude of glasses, more than I had expected, and the bartender wasn’t lying when he said that it would numb the scrawny pain eating away my soul. But only for a while. My wife was waiting for me in the hallway, her lips stretching into that dreamy smile I had expected, greeting me with a mundane “Hey honey”, and laughing on her own at its banality. She was clad in that olive-coloured satin nightdress that I absolutely loved, and for a moment I believed I really didn’t need alcohol to anesthetize me, if you know what I mean. That gorgeous smile could really soothe my nerves, anyway. “Tell me about your day”, she went on, always eager to know about my work, and I could not blame it on her. “I’d rather not”, I said, “It isn’t the kind you watch in your sloppy daily soaps, you know. There’s pizza over there, let us help ourselves, shall we?” She didn’t like the response, I could say from the way her lips twitched, but she didn’t press anyway, and I was relieved. The shower kept resonating in leaps and bounds, and the alcohol was making me very soporific, but I didn’t want Beth to see that. She would make a fuss out of it, for no reason really, and I didn’t have the heart to explain anything to her. Disaster hit an hour later, when I blurted out a certain joke about how the bartender was reciting a shayari about life and love each time he dropped the ice into the glass. I wasn’t a regular drinker, and naturally, my coordination and senses sucked at that point. “Err, you know what…”, I rambled, but bit my lip, realizing the actuality that I had to face a fight after all. She abhorred alcohol, and she definitely had complaints about me, all pent-up now, that she was about to throw at me like a blizzard of sharp arrows. I had never seen her so angry, and hurt, and her eyes got all red and puffy immediately. She had always been very composed and all that, always managing to smile even in the darkest of times, cracking a piece of humor either to make light of the grave predicaments we found ourselves in, or to try and steer through them keeping her head above water. That same vivacious woman was raging a war of words with me now, barely being able to keep her emotions in check. She was shaking in resentment, clutching the doorknob and looking up to me. I leaned down, and asked her to calm down, but she wasn’t even listening. This was an emotional fraught I was finding hard to carry, after all I had been through, and more than once I held her close, telling her so many times that she mattered to me so much. That, her presence at the end of the day was like haven to me, that, I had never wandered further in search of that profound ease she could shower in a spur-of-the-moment, and that, I felt so safe and cozy when she was there. She was sobbing by the end of the conversation, hurling abuses and saying things I knew she didn’t mean. I yelled at her once, not knowing how to handle it well, and she let go of me in that instant. She broke down, and as the wind howled outside and thunder shrieked like a giant, I knew how all those bottled up emotions were coming down slowly like downpour. All those cancelled meet-ups and dinner dates, those random phone calls at night from the hospital, those lack of attention to how she dressed and put on her mascara were weirdly making way into this argument now, and that annoyed me. All at once, I was afraid. Her blood was throbbing in her veins, and that broke my heart. “Go away”, she shoved me aside, and I stood right there, holding her and saying that I wouldn’t let go. “Please”, she looked up at me again, the shadows over her now. I told her I would never go away, but she knew better. Her breath was coming in breaks now, and I could not make out all the syllables, only “Everybody leaves” in fragments. She wanted to be angry with me, wanted to hate me, hoping that disgust would make this easy, and she hit the wall once with her bare hand. The strong woman I had always known was in shambles now, strands of hair coming out on all sides, tears shedding a canopy of pain all over her body. “Go to sleep now” I said, and she flinched. That night, she stormed into her room, shoving me aside and wiping her face, her long black hair cascading away in the darkness. I was tired by now, sweating profusely in the September heat, bending over the study table and concentrating on the intricate craft on the table cloth. I wanted a respite really, a good walk under the street lamp would have done wanders, but the rain wasn’t doing me any good. I heard the sound of the door being banged, and I realised I was just as annoyed after the long fight. Quite unnecessary and complex actually, apparently, we could have done without it. But I could not stay longer. I stood near the study table, propping myself on an elbow, listening to the clock ticking. The rain steadily intensified, and the asphalt road could be seen blackening away from the window. I waited, counting my breaths. I couldn’t really leave her alone, could I? I slid into her room, stumbling in the darkness, groping for the bedside table. She was already asleep, her face lit in a bass glow under the lamp. A lamp, that could have easily been the light of a million stars, or of a thousand fireflies drifting randomly in space, casting a radiance that had the power to make her eyes sparkle, and how happy I would have been. But she was lying here now, her eyes set deep in the hollow sockets, dark circles covering the best part of her countenance. I dragged a chair and sat down beside the bed, watching her chest rise and fall with every stifled breath. There was lightning outside and I saw her eyebrows cringe together. I looked down on her, and there was this surge of guilt in my blood. I was unusually unruffled now, devoid of any comprehensible emotion or maybe, a plethora of them altogether. The rain had stopped, and the icy breeze was gushing its way through the casement. I looked down on Beth, and thought of nothing. This blankness of perception could easily have been a result of alcohol, but it was not; instead it was a byproduct of something much dodgier, something venomous about the whole thing, the dark, unspoken side of human nature materializing in its most malicious form. Her hands looked emaciated, or so I imagined, anguish emanating from every part of her body. Maybe her muscles were aching too, because she was twitching and turning in her sleep, as I kept staring. Had she lost weight? Or was it just a slideshow in my mind, devilish now, thinking of all the malnourished patients moaning away in pain, in those dirty, craggy beds in the hospital? What was happening to me? I felt calm again, almost floating, the flickering lights from outside dimming in my vision. Beth was hurt, and in pain. A pain that I kind of despised now, and wanted to diminish it, having seen agony manifested in so many different ways now, physically and in spirit. I was suffering too, and I didn’t want Beth to lose herself in that vicious cycle. I didn’t want Beth to feel that gnawing in her nerves, that horrible caricature of hopelessness tearing her down, that kind of terror you feel when you are drowning in an everlasting loop of misgivings and cruelty of the world. I loved her, didn’t I? Beth was almost in REM now, her eyelids fluttering impatiently, and I knew she was dreaming. Was it a good one? One about the high school graduation party where everyone was giggling, or was it the silhouette of a strange man lurking in the darkness, a gun in his hand? That fear of life again? That breathlessness that makes your feet feel paralysed and you still have to keep running, lest he catches up? “It doesn’t have to be this difficult, darling”, I wanted to tell her. Really, God, what was happening to me? I could hear the sound of a dripping tap away in the washbasin, each drop coming down with a strange effect, breaking the silence of this sombre night. My head felt heavy, my psyche screamed inside this shell of an earthly body, and Beth could not hear it, which made me happy for a while, because I didn’t want her to wake up. It would hurt her again, wouldn’t it? It was eerily quiet now, and I looked at the mirror. The silver showed back a man with drooping eyelids, tired of all this pain in the world. “I’ll save you from this, Beth”, I murmured, and laughed like a madman, loudly and hysterically. Tears were coming out now, but I still laughed, my hair all dishevelled, and eyes bloodshot. I remembered the insanity with which the dead skull in the practical lab looked at me in college, and I would laugh back at it. I was still laughing, and the pain in my hand shot up. It was blinding pain, but I felt nothing. Only voices. Beth breathing and my shrieking laughter, that echoed around the house, calling out to impending doom. I wouldn’t let Beth suffer, would I? I looked down at my hands. The hands which were using the scalpel like master for years now, saving lives, pulling back people from the embrace of the Ultimate, throwing them back to a more sadistic rollercoaster. But I loved Beth, didn’t I? That night, Beth had finally decided to let the window ajar, so that the beating rain and winds brought in the tranquility she longed for. That night, as I held my head in my hands, guilt caving its way into my flesh like a pointed knife, beating at every bone of my ribcage, looking at Pain sleeping her way into the shades of night, I wanted to do away with it. I wept like a baby, not knowing why, but my mouth was still wide open into that devilish smile. And I was laughing again, which choked me, and pulled on my intestines, tearing at it ruthlessly. That night, I wanted to kill her, and bring an end to Pain, once and for all.

That night, she stormed into her room, shoving me aside and wiping her face, her long black hair cascading away in the darkness. I made a feeble, almost quiet attempt to stop her, but found myself at a loss. She put out the lights one by one, and wanted to close the window, but then decided to let it stay ajar, allowing the beating rain and winds to bring in the tranquility she longed for. Our mansion was located at the end of the grey street, near a Pizza Hut outlet which was a personal favourite and the second best in town. All day long, you could hear the cars honking through the concrete pathway, but the town heaved this long sigh of relief as night fell and the sky went purple. My duty at the hospital was over after sixteen hours, and that seemed to drain all the energy I had possessed in the beginning. There was a patient in the seventh floor, wriggling with the pain of a third degree burn, and the elevator had ominously gone out of service that day. That implied me going up and down multiple times, only to look at his pain worsening each time, and his wife, an aged woman, was flailing her arms begging the nurse- in- charge to do something to assuage the condition. The Pizza Hut outlet was still open, much to my astonishment, because it was already in the wee hours of night, and it was raining big drops now. I walked in, plodding really, and smiled at an elderly couple near the door. I tried hard to remember how I knew them, but eventually gave in, ordering two pizzas, remembering my wife’s preferences, and imagining the way her lips would stretch into that beautiful smile I loved. As the clatter of pots and pans reverberated in the kitchen, I closed my eyes, drips of perspiration oozing from my forehead. A flashback persisted for a few seconds, and I yawned. I remembered this woman in labour who was screeching in ache, and it was my second year in the hospital, not very used to all the soreness and groans. The lights in the OT had not done much good, only casting pallor of uncertainty and gloom, with the ECG machine beeping the last few seconds of her life, a rather dismal background. She had given in eventually, and her father gasped and shrieked in the hallway, when I broke the news to him. The Pizza boy walked in with a rather silly smile, professionally sweet otherwise drab, saying “340 for two, bhaiya.”, and I jolted back to reality. I made the payment, and walked out, not liking the downpour that was heavier and louder by now. I dragged my feet, wearily and reluctantly, whimpering at the way the bruise in my left arm started stinging all of a sudden. I tried not to relive the boy at the emergency entrance, all wrapped in a barbed wire, and my senior, a sullen man of sixty had asked me to hold the boy from floundering like a crazy victim. That incurred me a few unassuming cuts and blood had oozed out from all places in my hand, the bitter twinge of which I swallowed, with a few bated breaths. I felt like crying really. All those long tedious hours at the hospital was breaking me now. Ailments everywhere, followed by groans of loss or bickering fights about money. The blank blue walls with paint peeling away at every corner would look at me every day, seeming to laugh at me in wry sarcasm, as I climbed each step with fading vigor. I could still hear the resonating wails of families of deceased people, cursing the gods, and my ears were now echoing with the grievous howling of trauma patients, draped in the surreal thudding of thunder in the distance. I felt my vulnerability, and decided I needed a drink to alleviate this agony crawling in my veins like a vengeful, slithering monster, licking away at my fervor, and rendering me a breathing corpse. I went to the roadside bar and ended up drinking from a multitude of glasses, more than I had expected, and the bartender wasn’t lying when he said that it would numb the scrawny pain eating away my soul. But only for a while. My wife was waiting for me in the hallway, her lips stretching into that dreamy smile I had expected, greeting me with a mundane “Hey honey”, and laughing on her own at its banality. She was clad in that olive-coloured satin nightdress that I absolutely loved, and for a moment I believed I really didn’t need alcohol to anesthetize me, if you know what I mean. That gorgeous smile could really soothe my nerves, anyway. “Tell me about your day”, she went on, always eager to know about my work, and I could not blame it on her. “I’d rather not”, I said, “It isn’t the kind you watch in your sloppy daily soaps, you know. There’s pizza over there, let us help ourselves, shall we?” She didn’t like the response, I could say from the way her lips twitched, but she didn’t press anyway, and I was relieved. The shower kept resonating in leaps and bounds, and the alcohol was making me very soporific, but I didn’t want Beth to see that. She would make a fuss out of it, for no reason really, and I didn’t have the heart to explain anything to her. Disaster hit an hour later, when I blurted out a certain joke about how the bartender was reciting a shayari about life and love each time he dropped the ice into the glass. I wasn’t a regular drinker, and naturally, my coordination and senses sucked at that point. “Err, you know what…”, I rambled, but bit my lip, realizing the actuality that I had to face a fight after all. She abhorred alcohol, and she definitely had complaints about me, all pent-up now, that she was about to throw at me like a blizzard of sharp arrows. I had never seen her so angry, and hurt, and her eyes got all red and puffy immediately. She had always been very composed and all that, always managing to smile even in the darkest of times, cracking a piece of humor either to make light of the grave predicaments we found ourselves in, or to try and steer through them keeping her head above water. That same vivacious woman was raging a war of words with me now, barely being able to keep her emotions in check. She was shaking in resentment, clutching the doorknob and looking up to me. I leaned down, and asked her to calm down, but she wasn’t even listening. This was an emotional fraught I was finding hard to carry, after all I had been through, and more than once I held her close, telling her so many times that she mattered to me so much. That, her presence at the end of the day was like haven to me, that, I had never wandered further in search of that profound ease she could shower in a spur-of-the-moment, and that, I felt so safe and cozy when she was there. She was sobbing by the end of the conversation, hurling abuses and saying things I knew she didn’t mean. I yelled at her once, not knowing how to handle it well, and she let go of me in that instant. She broke down, and as the wind howled outside and thunder shrieked like a giant, I knew how all those bottled up emotions were coming down slowly like downpour. All those cancelled meet-ups and dinner dates, those random phone calls at night from the hospital, those lack of attention to how she dressed and put on her mascara were weirdly making way into this argument now, and that annoyed me. All at once, I was afraid. Her blood was throbbing in her veins, and that broke my heart. “Go away”, she shoved me aside, and I stood right there, holding her and saying that I wouldn’t let go. “Please”, she looked up at me again, the shadows over her now. I told her I would never go away, but she knew better. Her breath was coming in breaks now, and I could not make out all the syllables, only “Everybody leaves” in fragments. She wanted to be angry with me, wanted to hate me, hoping that disgust would make this easy, and she hit the wall once with her bare hand. The strong woman I had always known was in shambles now, strands of hair coming out on all sides, tears shedding a canopy of pain all over her body. “Go to sleep now” I said, and she flinched. That night, she stormed into her room, shoving me aside and wiping her face, her long black hair cascading away in the darkness. I was tired by now, sweating profusely in the September heat, bending over the study table and concentrating on the intricate craft on the table cloth. I wanted a respite really, a good walk under the street lamp would have done wanders, but the rain wasn’t doing me any good. I heard the sound of the door being banged, and I realised I was just as annoyed after the long fight. Quite unnecessary and complex actually, apparently, we could have done without it. But I could not stay longer. I stood near the study table, propping myself on an elbow, listening to the clock ticking. The rain steadily intensified, and the asphalt road could be seen blackening away from the window. I waited, counting my breaths. I couldn’t really leave her alone, could I? I slid into her room, stumbling in the darkness, groping for the bedside table. She was already asleep, her face lit in a bass glow under the lamp. A lamp, that could have easily been the light of a million stars, or of a thousand fireflies drifting randomly in space, casting a radiance that had the power to make her eyes sparkle, and how happy I would have been. But she was lying here now, her eyes set deep in the hollow sockets, dark circles covering the best part of her countenance. I dragged a chair and sat down beside the bed, watching her chest rise and fall with every stifled breath. There was lightning outside and I saw her eyebrows cringe together. I looked down on her, and there was this surge of guilt in my blood. I was unusually unruffled now, devoid of any comprehensible emotion or maybe, a plethora of them altogether. The rain had stopped, and the icy breeze was gushing its way through the casement. I looked down on Beth, and thought of nothing. This blankness of perception could easily have been a result of alcohol, but it was not; instead it was a byproduct of something much dodgier, something venomous about the whole thing, the dark, unspoken side of human nature materializing in its most malicious form. Her hands looked emaciated, or so I imagined, anguish emanating from every part of her body. Maybe her muscles were aching too, because she was twitching and turning in her sleep, as I kept staring. Had she lost weight? Or was it just a slideshow in my mind, devilish now, thinking of all the malnourished patients moaning away in pain, in those dirty, craggy beds in the hospital? What was happening to me? I felt calm again, almost floating, the flickering lights from outside dimming in my vision. Beth was hurt, and in pain. A pain that I kind of despised now, and wanted to diminish it, having seen agony manifested in so many different ways now, physically and in spirit. I was suffering too, and I didn’t want Beth to lose herself in that vicious cycle. I didn’t want Beth to feel that gnawing in her nerves, that horrible caricature of hopelessness tearing her down, that kind of terror you feel when you are drowning in an everlasting loop of misgivings and cruelty of the world. I loved her, didn’t I? Beth was almost in REM now, her eyelids fluttering impatiently, and I knew she was dreaming. Was it a good one? One about the high school graduation party where everyone was giggling, or was it the silhouette of a strange man lurking in the darkness, a gun in his hand? That fear of life again? That breathlessness that makes your feet feel paralysed and you still have to keep running, lest he catches up? “It doesn’t have to be this difficult, darling”, I wanted to tell her. Really, God, what was happening to me? I could hear the sound of a dripping tap away in the washbasin, each drop coming down with a strange effect, breaking the silence of this sombre night. My head felt heavy, my psyche screamed inside this shell of an earthly body, and Beth could not hear it, which made me happy for a while, because I didn’t want her to wake up. It would hurt her again, wouldn’t it? It was eerily quiet now, and I looked at the mirror. The silver showed back a man with drooping eyelids, tired of all this pain in the world. “I’ll save you from this, Beth”, I murmured, and laughed like a madman, loudly and hysterically. Tears were coming out now, but I still laughed, my hair all dishevelled, and eyes bloodshot. I remembered the insanity with which the dead skull in the practical lab looked at me in college, and I would laugh back at it. I was still laughing, and the pain in my hand shot up. It was blinding pain, but I felt nothing. Only voices. Beth breathing and my shrieking laughter, that echoed around the house, calling out to impending doom. I wouldn’t let Beth suffer, would I? I looked down at my hands. The hands which were using the scalpel like master for years now, saving lives, pulling back people from the embrace of the Ultimate, throwing them back to a more sadistic rollercoaster. But I loved Beth, didn’t I? That night, Beth had finally decided to let the window ajar, so that the beating rain and winds brought in the tranquility she longed for. That night, as I held my head in my hands, guilt caving its way into my flesh like a pointed knife, beating at every bone of my ribcage, looking at Pain sleeping her way into the shades of night, I wanted to do away with it. I wept like a baby, not knowing why, but my mouth was still wide open into that devilish smile. And I was laughing again, which choked me, and pulled on my intestines, tearing at it ruthlessly. That night, I wanted to kill her, and bring an end to Pain, once and for all.


© Copyright 2018 meredithwrites. All rights reserved.

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