Lost words could not account for my lonesome since it had only been 5 months. I could not particularly owe it to the lack of love for my deceased husband nor could I owe it to the lack of my husband on the whole. I could just not find the words to speak to the guy. My mother told me to chill and to just fight the urge to not say anything. After all, this was my future and what I say, or rather, if I say anything at all will decide it. 5 months without that bastard. My body did not know kicking and screaming for 5 months. My mouth had not tasted blood and my ears had not rung with the ignominious words of a 42 year old wife beater.
“You need a husband, beti.” mother said in that fake concerned voice of hers.
“YOU need a husband.” I retorted.
The words weren’t clear because I had phlegm stuck in my throat but she heard it nonetheless.
“What do you mean? I have one!”
“Ya well, you need another one because he’s never around!”
“Your father is a busy man! Trying to earn money to get you married off AGAIN”
“You’re acting as if I killed my husband” I yelled back.
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We were sitting on my room balcony at 12 in the midnight. Father was still not at home and mother was throwing her insufferable annoyance at me. My mother huffed away with her excessively long sari pallu trailing along.
Those people who had come to visit earlier were nice, I can’t deny that. The guy was a young fellow who had endured a miserable divorce, his wife running away to indulge herself in a clandestine relationship with some Nepali guy. Good for her. They were friends of my mothers and their son needed a bride to take care of his girl twins. Mother says it’s a good idea since I can’t have my own kids due to my stupid deceased husband’s lack of punching aim when he’s drunk. Or even otherwise.The guy looked sad and I pitied him. He was so weak, even a caterpillar could very well take advantage of him. He should’ve expected his doomed marriage.
I couldn’t speak to him. Not because I didn’t want to. Like I said earlier, I pitied him. I couldn’t speak because I didn’t know how to speak to a man anymore. My deceased husband never lets me speak. Eventually, it had gotten to the point where he didn’t have to punish me for speaking because I stopped speaking just like that.
Words were overpriced back then. They were just sounds produced by anatomic lip movements but somehow, they seemed to be more than just that.
I am well aware that speaking is pretty much rudimentary. However, it is what it is.
Mother didn’t see the point in me dressing up for the next meeting because “Whats the point huh? why will a man want to marry a mute girl?”
I didn’t care. I wanted to look smashing.
“Uff mother, I’ll talk this time. Promise.”
I practised the entire night. Things to say, how to say them and when to say them.
I had to convince myself that it was all okay. “All men are not like your stupid deceased husband.”
I would chant this all night. I smothered my lips with California Merlot and crept to the corner of the staircase to steal a look at my heartbroken heartthrob. I was going to marry him regardless of what I felt. That is if I eventually felt anything at all. My parents had decided and for all the big things I had said in my mind and to my mother, it didn’t matter. I was a 21 year old girl with no college education and a dead husband. If he didn’t marry me, no one else would.
The wedding was a small affair, both parties attempt at keeping societies eye away from their unfortunate daughter and weak son. What an odd pair we were. My misfortune and his weakness were just what society needed to paint a pretty picture of a careless wife who didn’t bother to care for her sick husband and a dim-witted man who didn’t know how to keep his wife in place.
He cried at night but I never woke him up nor did I ask him about it the next morning. For some reason, I never saw him as pathetic. Pitiful, yes. But never pathetic. At first, it was hard sleeping with him. The crying didn’t bother me as much as the fact that he was my new husband. It was odd having a man sleeping next to me while my body felt no guilt or compulsion to please him. He would ask and I would give. It was very simple. When I was unwell or tired, he wouldn’t even ask.
His girls seemed to be very fond of me. They cried a lot, just like their father. Little things made them happy though. The Gulab Jamoons I would make, the little skits I would play out to them and even the origami birds I had learned to make in school.
One night we were seated at the dining table and one of the twin girls asked me to sleep with them for the night. “Of course she can” my husband responded and the girls ate their sabzi and roti faster than they ever did.
I lay between the two girls, counting their soft breathing. They seemed to breathe in unison and I lay there trying to mimic their breathing. Three logs breathing together. I giggled at myself when the room door creaked open. My husband peaked inside.
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“Come sleep with me. They won’t notice you were gone” he whispered.
I gently climbed out of their bed and walked with him to our room. We lay on our bed and slept in our usual positions. Him sideways and myself on my back.
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