This story is by Nidhi Sharma and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Maria entered the room, her lungs took air faster, heart paced, but her legs froze when she turned the knob to close the door. Her hands were cold in this blistering summer and as she closed it, she felt an instantaneous urge to open it and run away, which she endured. It was a dark, lifeless room, she couldn’t hold on and she fell down on her knees and sobbed irrepressibly.
It had been a year since Maria set foot inside Ginnie’s room and it still hurt the way it did that night when she returned from her sister’s place. That night the door of Ginnie’s room was closed which somehow made Maria’s heart pound faster. She called out banging the door as loudly as she could “Ginnie, open the door… OPEN,” when there was no response, she got a hammer from the kitchen and broke open the door. The sight in the room made Maria shriek in terror and drop the hammer in her hand, her eyes trickled tears of excruciating pain as she moved towards her daughter, Ginnie, hanging from the fan with a scarf. Maria held Ginnie’s body, removed the scarf from her neck. Wavering Ginnie’s hair Maria took her face close to her chest and hugged her and in a choked voice she murmured “You’ll be alright, I won’t let you go.” Although as a doctor Maria knew nothing could be done, the heart of a mother never accepted that fact and she wailed with Ginnie’s face in her lap on that very floor she was sobbing today…
Maria pulled herself together and got up, drawing the curtains and letting the sunlight in. Misty-eyed she looked at the frames with Ginnie’s pictures hanging on the opposite side of the bed, she took one of the pictures and murmured in a shaky voice, “Why… why did you do it my sweetheart, Ginnie?” After the death of her daughter, Maria had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Repetitive thoughts twirled in her mind Why I didn’t recognize it?… why I left Ginnie alone that night? Only if I would’ve known any of this was on her mind… Only if I would’ve changed my plans… My darling little daughter… She was only 16… Why didn’t you share your pain with me… and she couldn’t control tears from bursting from her eyes.
“Ginnie, wake up… you have to go to school.”
Ginnie felt wretched, dispassionate and enervated just after opening her eyes, her face looked swollen and eyes were puffed, her head was aching, she sat up dismissively with an urge to jump off the window through which she saw the sun rising whose rays failed to lighten her up. She spoke aloud “I am not feeling up to it, I’ll stay at home, I’ll be in my room.”
“What happened? Do you need me to check you?”
“NO, I just need some rest.”
“Okay, but I’ll stay back in case you need me.”
“No. I am okay.”
“Then I’ll give breakfast in your room.”
Maria came to Ginnie’s room and kept breakfast. She saw Ginnie lying down, “I am leaving for the clinic, take care,” and kissed her goodbye.
After Maria left, Ginnie sat up once again, her appetite was lost long back I would more happily take poison she thought. She tried to concentrate on her studies but it was impossible with the unceasing hammering of her head, which only got worse as her mind constantly nudged her. Because of this excruciating pain in her head, she felt nauseous and spewed. I can’t handle this… I can’t bring this child into this world nor can I kill this child in my womb… and she lamented quietly.
The same thoughts whirled her mind Why did I let this happen? It’s because of me even this baby suffers, I am the worst daughter, the worst mum… I should not live… only this is the way to end my problems… She tried to shut her mind but failed, and nothing would stop it from creating those gloomy thoughts.
That evening Maria returned home and came to see Ginnie in her room, “How are you now?”
“You are looking a little stressed, what is it?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, Ginnie… please tell me.”
“Mum, can I have your red scarf, the long one?”
“Why not, I’ll just get it and keep it in the closet.”
Maria dashed and got her red scarf for Ginnie, kept it in the closet and kissed her good night.
The next morning Maria didn’t wake Ginnie as it was a weekend, she just peeked through the door and saw Ginnie sitting upright glazing towards the window at the rising sun. “Good morning, sweetheart.” The placidity in Maria’s voice struck Ginnie. Ginnie turned to look at her mother expecting her mother to decipher her minds’ conundrum and somehow find a solution to it, the way her mother always did. But not this time, today Maria misread it, “You look tired, is there so much school work? I’ll get you something to eat. You take rest.” Ginnie thought should I ask mum for help, but she already has so much to stress about, why add to her worries, in fact, if I could only reduce her burden…
Maria came back with breakfast, she sat next to Ginnie to eat the breakfast which she kept on the side table near the bed. Maria sipped coffee from her cup It’s my sisters baby-shower tonight… I won’t force Ginnie to come… I’ll stay back if necessary… she looks stressed enough… I don’t know why she takes so much stress and she looked at her. “Are you eating?”
Once they were finished with their breakfast, Maria asked Ginnie, “Will you come with me for your aunts baby-shower tonight?”
“Are you okay? I’ll stay with you then.”
“I am fine. It’s important for you to be with aunt Amy today. I’ll come tomorrow.”
Maria left the room.
That night when Maria left for the baby shower party, Ginnie was in her room. She saw Maria leaving in the car through the window. I must not do it. I must not do it… she hugged her stomach. But is there any other way?… what about my child?… If I kill it, I‘ll suffer the pain of regret… But if I bring my child to this world, he will never forgive me for doing it… He will forever remain without a father… She swayed to and fro sitting on the bed. There are so many single mothers out there… But I don’t want to pass the burden of my problems to him, he will have too many questions and I won’t be able to give answers… She covered her face with both her hands and sobbed.
A child coming into this world should not be from the lack of other options but in any circumstances, it should be from the choice of happiness… but happiness has become distant to me… it has forgone me… She felt twitchy.
My child will remind me of my life’s’ biggest failure… of the unfaithful love… of the person, I loved… and I hate the most… I won’t be able to love my baby as my mum loves me… my mind no longer listens to me… It blames me, curses me, stops me from feeling loved and from loving anyone else… I won’t be able to love anyone, not even myself… She was filled with self-loathing.
She held the red scarf and contemplated it, I don’t wish to do this but I don’t have any other option… It’s the only way to end this appalling suffering of my heart and incessant throbbing of my head which are nothing compared to the obnoxious feeling of regret…
She stood up, with her mind pushing her for this extreme step and no one else to stop her, she took the scarf and hanged herself from the fan…
Since that night, Maria kept Ginnie’s room closed, but today with enormous courage she had entered Ginnie’s room. Maria looked at Ginnie’s photo held in her shaky hands and she pledged to nourish her mind with fond memories of Ginnie and to honor her last words in the suicide note, “I Love you, Mum, Live.” She couldn’t apprehend those words until now, she wanted me to Live… not in regret but in hope… hope one gives to others… she thought and wiping her tears she unfalteringly stood up and resolved to open Ginnie’s room forever for children who needed counseling, it will no longer be a room of gloom but that of light and hope… Maria assured Ginnie, looking at her picture.