“Oh, this is so beautiful”, they chorused in excitement but one. All eyes gleaming, all smiles beaming, everyone talking about the it but one. Sweet pandemonium filled the room, imaginations unchaining at the speed of light, everyone suggesting but one. Suddenly, she belted out a scream so screechy and piercing, halting every on-going. The silence that followed was deafening, no one moving but one. Calmly she stood, picking up her bits and bobs, reaching for the door knob, not looking back, in a twinkle she was gone.
Where she was headed, I knew. This was no strange occurrence. Calling it tradition would be an understatement. I let her a moment to herself and an hour later I made my way to her safe haven. There she was, with her hour-glass frame curled up in a ball, rocking back and forth with hands over head, barely noticing her space invader. I stopped few metres away from her, pondering what to say to her this time. A part of me resented her for punishing herself in such manner. Though, tired myself, compassion prevailed. I knelt silently next to her embracing her tightly. Quietly we rocked to the rhythm of the unspoken words.
Until four years back, Alice was of an effervescent demeanour. Things went pear-shaped right after she stumbled upon George’s Pandora’s box. It was a relationship built on lies, everyone saw through him but her and all attempts to fore-warn her she deliberately aborted. Their whirlwind of passionate romance lasted 4 months, he had even proposed by the third month of their meeting before the dark dragon got unleashed. He hid his crack addiction for so long but the lid just couldn’t keep it down any longer.
The shock jolts from the discovery threw her off-balance but she soon recovered after manipulating herself into believing she could change him. The abuse started not long after and for every time he violated her, she forgave and stayed in. He tested her limits of indulgence and maxed it thoroughly. No amount of talking to got through to her. She desperately held on, dreading the thought of being alone. Now, that, I couldn’t wrap my head around. What’s the point holding on to a relationship that constantly erodes you of self-worth, self-respect, self-dignity, self-everything?! I thought endlessly about her circumstance. The more I did, the more questions I asked.
“You honestly need to walk away from it all”, I said to her quietly. I mean, she had become his punching bag, a means through which he expressed his pent-up frustration, resentment, anger and inadequacies as a failing man. She stared continuously at the ring on her left index finger, a precious circular piece that should have been a symbol of unending L♥√ع, respect and a promise of fidelity. This was far from it in her case. I took a quick glance at it and all I could see was a heavy metal holding her down in bondage, shrouding her sense of clarity and judgement. She managed to muffle out these words amidst cries, “the truth is; I am afraid to be alone, all by myself. The mere thought of it gives me panic attacks.”
“This is twisted”, I thought to myself. Why do people ever so willingly sacrifice priceless solitude on the altar of an unhealthy relationship? Could it be the fear of the unknown? Could it be an inferiority complex issue? Could it be to keep up appearance or fit into societal status quo? Could it be to manage peer & family pressure? Could it be for material gains at the expense of losing one’s mind & soul? Could it be for validation? What could it be? What could it be? I pondered.
I once saw on a friend’s bbm status update, “The most important career choice you’d make is who you marry”. I churned this saying several times over in my head and couldn’t disagree with it. If so, why do people still compromise?
Still cradled in my arms, this time I damned all possible consequences, braced myself and told my home girl …”You are better than this. Count your losses and move on!” With tears streaming down, she stood and walked away!