“Hello, David,” I responded to the call after 3 consecutive missed calls.
“Where have you been Rima? I have been calling you since morning. Why don’t you reply to my texts or calls?” David spoke without taking a pause. I could sense frustration and anger in his voice, though he tried his best to sound polite. Well, this wasn’t new for me. Over the years I have got habituated to his way of treating me.
“How many times, do I have to ask you to stop calling me? What do you want?” I asked without giving answers to his question. At first, David seemed to be taken aback by my counter questions. But then he said, “You know I love you, Rima. I can’t stay away from you. Let us forget our conflicts and make a new start. At least, for the sake of Anu.”
“Don’t you dare take her name, David? She is my child. You are nothing to her. Speaking about the love that you feel for me, it’s nothing but another lie.” “You love no one but yourself. I don’t want to start about how selfish you are,” I gave a stern reply to him.
“How dare you speak to me like that? Don’t forget, I am your husband and Anu’s father. I have the right….”
“Stop. You have no rights to anyone. I am no longer your wife and Anu isn’t your daughter. She is just my child,” saying so I disconnected the call. However, David called once more but I didn’t receive his call. Instead, I went to see what Anu was doing. She was filling colors in the sketches she drew. I couldn’t stop myself from admiring her work. I sat beside her and kissed her tiny hands. Anu smiled and asked if her drawing was beautiful. I nodded.
While I sat there seeing her draw and fill colors, I recalled my marriage with David. Ours was a love marriage. David and I met while we were in college. David was a heartthrob, credit goes to his smart personality and charming smile. Soon, we became friends and started hanging out together. Initially, we helped each other with assignments and projects. Our friends often teased us, saying, we would make a perfect couple.
Over the course of time, David and I fell for each other and started going on dates. We made numerous promises of spending life together. I was so much in love with David that I wanted to marry none but him. Though my parents were against our relationship, I fought until they gave their consent. My parents never raised any objection to my friendship with David but they were reluctant about our inter-religion marriage.
During the initial months after our marriage, David was a dotting and caring husband. Or maybe, I never tried to look who he truly was. Everything was fine until I got pregnant. The very first thing that David told me was, “I want a son. Let us pray for her son. We may have a daughter later.”
I was taken aback and I tried talking to David about it. He never listened to what I said. In fact, he would scold me for thinking otherwise. During my entire pregnancy, David never asked if I would like to have a daughter. Every day he would remind me about his excitement to hold his son in his arms. But destiny had some other plans. We became parents to a beautiful baby girl. The moment David saw her, he gave me a furious look as he seemed quite angry. Instead of holding his firstborn, he scolded me for giving birth to a girl.
After Anu’s birth, I thought David would accept her and take up his responsibilities towards her. But this never happened. He won’t even go near her, forget about giving love and affection to Anu. One night David came home drunk, only to announce that he was no longer in love with me. He asked me to pack my bags and leave his house. Since David and I lived away from our parents in a different city, I had nowhere to go. But David didn’t care about us. He packed my bags and stuffed Anu’s clothes, diapers, toys, and other things in a bag and threw us out. With a 4 month child in my arms and bags, I stayed at his door, crying and calling out his name.
Eventually, I gave up and booked a cab to one of my friends’ place. She let us in and asked me to file a complaint against David. Thinking, David would eventually come and take us home, I didn’t file any complaint. Every day, I would call and message him but he never cared to talk to me. I even tried going back to him, only to find him slamming the door in my face.
I couldn’t go to my parents as they believed I deserved this for marrying someone out of my religion. Anu needed me and so I decided to do something. When Anu turned one, I re-joined at my previous workplace. Soon, I got a place to live with my daughter and hired a babysitter for her. But one day, when I wasn’t at home, David barged in. I came home to find him pacing up and down furiously. He said, “I thought, you would leave this girl and come back to me but you chose her over me.” Before I could say something, he pushed Anu against the wall. Her head hit the wall and started bleeding.
Crying helplessly, I took her to a doctor. Once Anu regained consciousness, I promised her that this was the end of our misery. The same day, I filed for a divorce and pressed charges against David. It’s been 4 years since David and I signed on divorce papers.
I won’t say that life is easier now but it definitely is peaceful. Though David often calls now, stating he wants to have his family back, I am not buying it. My parents resent me even more. They believe I have added more disgrace to them after divorcing David.
Whatever, it is, I am happy to be a single mother to Anu. After all, she deserves all the happiness and I am going to make sure she gets all of them.
Also read: Sunaina: The Widow That Didn’t Cry
Prerna loves to write and shower love on animals. She enjoys reading and exploring places. Though sweet in her pictures, at times, she is difficult to understand. Being a strong believer in hard work and karma, she loves solitude and peace. Apart from this, she loves petrichor and harmony and wishes to achieve her one and only ataraxia for a lifetime.