As I flushed the toilet and came out from the bathroom, I stood transfixed in fear.
A silhouette of a small child could be seen against the bedroom wall. The shadows played hide and seek and the face of the child was visible for an instant. Recoiling with horror, I went back inside.
This wasn’t the first time that my child was following me. Sometimes silently, sometimes defiantly, I used to find her watching me intently. I could never escape her stare. Once, I was woken up by the touch of her fingers near the base of my throat ; as if trying out the extent of pressure she could use to squeeze my neck. Or maybe she was trying to feel my face, I wouldn’t know. But I sure got a severe shock that day when I saw her like that, her hair falling on the sides of her face, eyes bulging and lips slightly parted, she looked grotesque.
I did try to confide in Atul, my husband, but all he did was to turn his back and sleep. I had started feeling that my words were nothing more than the whispers of the wind for him.
In the initial days, I had tried to get Atul’s attention by randomly throwing Raina’s toys around but he merely picked them up and put them away. I shut myself in the bedroom once, but it was as if nothing I did or said affected or fazed Atul. He called up the carpenter and got the door opened. I was so humiliated that the carpenter must have felt my unsaid emotions. He didn’t look in my direction when he was removing the automatic lock, perhaps wary that I’ll start bawling my eyes out in front of him.
I had always had a soft corner for his Amma. She and I had always got along like a house on fire but now everything she did was irritating. Her excessive obsession with a kid , specifically my kid, was unnerving. Why to spend so much time arranging and cleaning the room of a child who was no longer around me?
But I don’t understand, why did he have to ask his Amma to come and stay with us? It was not as if I was sick or anything. I was just dead, completely and wholly dead.
Oh, I was rambling on and on about my discomfort and churning emotions when I didn’t even introduce myself.
I’m Shikha, late wife of Mr. Atul Shiv and mother to a cherubic Raina, who sees and feels me from the eyes of her heart. Perhaps that’s why she keeps following me.
I still remember the chilly night when I lost my family.
Our world turned upside-down when a drunk driver ran a red light and rammed his SUV into our car, killing me on the spot.
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