She was sitting in the corner of her room looking out the window. Spring was blooming all around the city. The flowers were smiling at her through the glass window panes. She could not feel the cool breeze that was continuously trying to come inside but instead was being shoed away by the hard-hearted windows. She saw a young girl playing with her brother. The girl looked inside and smiled at her. She wanted to smile back at the girl but the lips denied her order.
She thought about how she used to play outside in the sun with her friends and siblings. She thought about all the good things that had happened to her in all these years. How could she be in such a condition? What was wrong with her? How could this be happening to her?
It seemed only yesterday that Omar had proposed to her. She was so happy with the idea of getting married to the person she loved. Both the families were happily preparing for the wedding when it happened. Was it her fault that she had to cover a story in a strange city with coward people? No, it was not her fault. Then why was she suffering from all that pain?
She was a fast learner and soon caught the eye of her chief reporter and given more responsibilities. She now used to travel outside the city and sometimes even her country to gather news for her channel.
It was on that one assignment that she had to go to a metropolitan city with a team of five. She was found three days later in a hospital after her rapist had thrown her off a car onto the highway.
It took her three months to recover from her external bruises and wounds but it took the police not more than three weeks to arrest all the four goons including the rapist. She was thankful to her seniors who tried to pull all the strings they could in order to catch the culprits.
She had scars all over her body but she joined her office within six months. She was constantly visiting her therapist to overcome the trauma and it was difficult for her to do that because the moment she entered her workplace people started looking and pointing to her. She was the most vulnerable one in the whole building. She wanted to go outside on assignments but her seniors denied that on the pretext of her safety. She was fed up with this special treatment. She wanted to move on but the people around her were always reminding her of the brutal past she had been through.
These people were responsible for all those internal wounds to evolve and they were unable to heal. Her therapist advised her to take a holiday but she was not an escapist.
Omar began to treat her like a patient. He always met her on weekends within a time limit. He wanted her to take some days off and plan for the wedding to take her mind off the traumatic incident. She tried to take his advice and asked his sisters to accompany her for the shopping but no one agreed to accompany her. She was a huge responsibility for them now. What if someone tried to assault her again? What if she was taken by the evil men again? Nobody was treating her like a normal being again. She was the fragile one who was already broken from the inside.
It did not take her long to confront Omar and broke her wedding off. He never asked why and she never told. She was fed up with an artificial relationship where she would always remain the weaker sex.
She woke up one morning with a call from her colleague, “He offered to marry you if you take back the case.”
“What???” she was half asleep and did not know what was this all about.
“Your rapist,” her friend said, “He is sending a plea through his advocate to marry you.”
Now she was awake and knew what was happening. She did not know what to say. She just asked her friend to let her think and laid awake all night.
She did not go to work that day. She was thinking about the life she used to have and the plans she had for her future. What mattered now?
Hundreds of faces crossed her mind. Her Mom, her Dad, her elder brother, her younger sister, Omar, his parents, her friends, her boss, the rapist… What was her fault?
Life is not a bed of roses, as the famous cliché goes. The harsh realities and the ugly truths are faced by everyone once or twice in a lifetime. People have to make compromises to survive or die a painful death. It’s their choice. But why the compromises have to be made by the weaker person? Or is it that the person becomes weak because of the compromises made by him time and again? Why cannot life be simple with only butterflies hovering around the fragrant flowers and the spring breeze always flowing through the hair? Why is life the way it is?
There were many like her who were doing their jobs when it happened. People would always look at her as the victim and point her out in public. Why not blame others and stop treating her like an alien in a crowd? Her life could have been different if everyone just supported her and empathised with her. But people thought that sympathising and consoling was better. They were wrong. She was brave, they were all brave. She did not need a pillar to lean on. All she needed was people who thought of her to be one of them.
She was kind enough to forgive everyone but not ready to give her soul to the devil. She was not a weaker sex, she never was. People have been wrong the whole time. They needed to gain some perspective. Life has been this way for everyone. She was not the only one suffering. Many have made changes. She could be one of them. She would change the flow of the tide. This time, the favours would be on her side.
She opened the window and took the fresh spring air inside her lungs. She was alive. She was a survivor. She could breathe. She could smile. And she did. The girl outside playing with her brother was still looking at her and waved with a smile. She waved back, smiling.
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