The slap echoed across the room. The family stood rooted in shock. Bihan’s face was turned away due to the impact of the slap. The gun he was holding lay limp on the floor. Thapki stood across him, her hand slightly raised, still shaking as was her whole body in complete rage. One by one the witnesses filed out of the scene leaving Thapki and Bihan to their own personal hell.
Thapki turned away from him. Tears refused to stop. Bihan stood silently, his head hung, completely stunned. Several suffocating seconds passed. Thapki wiped her tears and moved to close the door. Without a word she began spreading the mat on the floor. The gun still lay on the floor. Bihan watched her through the corner of his eyes. Her hands still shook. He wanted to scream at her. He wanted to hurt her. But he couldn’t, he just couldn’t. He had enough. He had enough of everything. He had enough of this guilt, the guilt of trying to kill his own father. He had enough of this hatred everyone harbored for him. He had enough of his hatred for himself. He had enough of this agony. He knew his mother was right when she asked why he is still alive. He wanted to destroy the pain his existence caused. Put an end to it forever.
His eyes followed her movement. Thapki stood up and moved towards him. His breath hitched as he saw her nearing but she walked past him to the bed side table. He looked on as she picked up the jug and pour water into the glass. Time stretched on and the silence was eating his heart. He wanted, no needed to hear her voice. He longed to hear her scolds. He longed for her to abuse him. He couldn’t blame her anymore, not anymore. He was at fault, he knew he was. He was the one who stabbed his father, not her. He wished she would look at him.
He whirled around hearing the noise. The glass jug lay shattered on the floor. His eyes found her hunched form. Her shoulders shook by the impact of the violent sobs. That did it to him. He ran towards her and held her arm. But she threw his hands off and pushed him. Tears ran down his cheeks as he saw her hugging herself and crying. Thapki clutched his collars enraged.
“Were you MMMad Bihan? What were you thinking?” Bihan’s control snapped at her question.
“YES! Yes I was mad. I tried to kill my- He failed to complete his words. A tight slap landed on his cheek. He was caught off guard. Thapki clutched his collars and shoved him.
“Why is it sso hard for you to understand that you are innocent?”
She turned to leave but he held her hand. Their eyes met. Thapki saw the guilt which ate him from inside, the terror of his heart and the longing of his soul. Something snapped inside her and she hugged him, pouring every bit of her heart into the one hug. Her hands wound his neck. Bihan was stunned for a moment then he pressed her closer to him. He felt his anguish melt away as he buried his head in the crook of her neck. He felt safe. Loved. Thapki caressed his face with hers and their tears mingled. He clutched her like his life depended on it. After what seemed like an eternity Thapki broke off gently. Bihan panicked at the loss of contact but Thapki clutched his hands reassuringly.
She gently led him to the bed and made him sit down. Thapki made a move to leave but Bihan held her hand. She kneeled down before the bed and cupped his face.
“Please don’t go…Thapki..I am very lonely and I am scared.” Bihan whispered like a child. Thapki was in a dearth of words. She couldn’t bear to see him like this. So very broken, scarred, and unloved. His words came back to her.
“This girl destroyed me….”
She had thought of those words every second from the moment it was uttered. Did she destroy him? She had asked this question to herself a million times and every time her heart gave the same answer. Yes she did. She destroyed him or rather she put the last nail on his coffin. He had always loved everyone and everything without any expectations. And everyone always failed him. But he hoped that she would be different, that she would stay but she turned out to be another deceitful liar who was never worth his love. She understood that he loved her, in the full sense of the word and it burned. It burned her that she was so very full of herself to ever realize his worth.
Thapki placed her forehead on his in an attempt to calm him. He leaned in closing his eyes taking in her scent. Her lips found his eyes. She traced the path of the tears with her lips. She kissed his nose and chin lingering close to his lips. His hands found her face. Thapki was the one who initiated the kiss. She gently caressed his lips with her own. The kiss wasn’t an expression of passion. The kiss was meant to heal. Or an attempt to heal. His wound was deep beyond her comprehension. She poured all the love she was capable of into the kiss but it just felt inadequate. He kissed her back and she felt the love and longing. She felt her cheeks moisten as his tears made their way down to her face.
She made him lie down and she slipped beside him on the bed, holding his face to her chest. He wound his arms around her waist
“You think Bauji will be alright?” Bihan asked in a whisper. She gently stroked his hair.
“Yes” Her words choked but she answered firmly. “And he will sssay that you did not stab him. Everything will be back to normal. Everyone wwwill know that you are innocent. Everyone will love yyyou once again.” Her voice faltered at the end. Bihan snuggled closer.
“You are sure that everyone will love me again? Tears tickled down her face and disappeared into his hair at his innocent query. Before she could answer she felt Bihan’s chest rise and fall rhythmically.. For once in their relationship she felt the need to play the protector. She lay awake beside him caressing his hair.
Credit to: Lachu