To Part in Many Ways- A Short Story

This has been on my mind for very long! Not the story, but to post some of my own writing. This is something I finished today.

Do leave your comments about what/how it made you feel.

To Part in Many Ways

She banged at the door with restless hands, hoping for some shelter inside. She looked back in fear, then ahead.

Knock! Knock! She slammed. The door didn’t budge.

She was drenched in fear. She had never felt fear so stark. Suddenly, she became aware of how it felt. It was rolling down her neck and her back in beads. Something was throbbing in her chest and she felt like throwing up. Her face was contorted and her forehead creased. She gasped to catch her breath.

Knock! Knock! Her fist pumped harder against the door, hurting her more… physically and emotionally. She wanted to turn around and run away as fast as she could, but she stood there stiff, immobile. It was difficult to discern what hurt more- her feet, her head or her heart.

Her heart sank. She looked back.

They would be here any moment, she knew- angry eyes red with rage…hard clubs and even harder hearts.

How could this have happened? She looked down at her swollen belly. An ache spread across her body. She realised she was shaking. She knew this wasn’t good for the life inside her. She was amazed at how she was capable of feeling love and concern for this life…even now.

She wasn’t the only one to be blamed. Yet, they were hunting only her. She felt enraged yet vulnerable. She knew it wasn’t the closed door protecting who stood inside, just inches away from her, feigning deafness, waiting for her to disappear to another place, or worse, be taken away. A thick wall of centuries-old social dogmas enclosed around the person inside. He was cloistered inside in the cocoon of his design which he had seen so many others around him build before he did.

She too felt encircled by these traditions, but not protected. Instead, she felt weighed down and stuck in fetters. It wasn’t just the fear making her unable to move, the sting of betrayal was even bitterer. How a person could break piece by piece in more than one way, she saw that day… She could see herself disintegrating, become bare and naked for all to see and shame…So vulnerable… And yet she couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Hope drained out of her with each breath. She felt light-headed, waiting to collapse to the floor, close her eyes as she hoped for herself to drift away in slumber where she would hear guffaws echoing in the air, feel the sunshine… blissful, not harsh, and the distance between him and her… still inches away… but not partitioning.

With dread and despondency weighing heavy on her shoulders, she stood there, head hung low, not like a victim but a criminal…

Just then she heard screaming and footsteps approaching. Unconsciously, she sprang into action. She turned back. They were pointing at her- those eyes, those eyes… relentless in pursuit, hungry and filled with her blood.

As if instinctively, her hand moved. Knock! Knock! She slammed! Knock! Knock! Once more. Knock! Knock! Knock, knock, knock, knock…That old trust felt one last twinge and fell silent there, amidst the clatter of clubs. She turned around, looked into those merciless eyes, head on. And then, a tear rolled down her cheek.

What happens next is for you to fill in. I have left it open-ended.

And about my take on this story…I thought it’s best to write this towards the end, to enable you to interpret the story at your end. Now, just a bit about what I wrote here.

Unlike most stories, this one does not jump from event to event. It simply seeks to understand and explain how a person feels during a crisis, be it a man or a woman, but in this case specifically a woman, because the whole situation is set in the backdrop of a patriarchal society.

I do not seek to justify whether the act of the woman was right or wrong. I have left that for the readers to decide.

I have only tried to explain the ordeal of the woman and the entire social scenario through a few moments. This is what made it fun and so intense for me at the same time. Moments truly are powerful. The most important things in our life happen in a couple of moments and are done with.

However, I do feel that all of us have some basic rights which should not be violated. This piece also brings to light the need for gender equality in the minds of people. It shouldn’t be just in the eyes of the law. The society too needs to shift in that direction.

Do let me know how you feel about this piece.

  • Did anything catch your eye?
  • What do you think is the importance of the title? (Hint: It’s a play on words. There are many things ‘parting’ in this story and in many ways.)

Hope you have a good time piecing it together!