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Silent Cries
By Sadia Khanum

(I)

She woke up in darkness, “Mommy”, she couldn't see anything, terrified of
the darkness, she shivered and clutched the blanket to her chest.

“Mommy”, but when no one answered, she sat up.

“Thank God, someone is in the living room”, she thought as she saw the light coming under the closed door.

She heard her parents laugh “so they are still up”, she left her blanket on
the bed and grabbed her teddy bear and went out of the room.

“O my baby, you woke up”, her mother cooed and father said, “come here my sweetheart”, taking her in his arms.

In her father's strong arms she felt so protected that nothing could hurt
her. In her mother's embrace no monster could reach her.

“The car is ready, Sir”, the driver said.

“Oh, no”, she thought, “they are going somewhere”. She tightened her arms
around his father's neck, but he laughingly separated them and handed her
over to her mother.

“Tuck her in” he said, “and ask Nanny to sit with her”.

“She is not here today”

“So?”

“So what? Aamir will sit with her.”

“Yes, that's right sir, I’ll sit with the baby.” The driver said.

“No, I don't want to sit with him, please take me with you, Don't leave me
here with him. I hate him”, but her protest was taken as her gurgling and
everyone laughed.

Her mother said,” see, how happy she is to stay with him”

“She really loves him”

“I love her too, sir. She is just like my own daughter”

“He is a creep, please I don't want to stay with him. He is a bad man.”, she
said.

When she realized no one is listening to her, she started to cry.

“Oh my baby, she knows we are leaving. Let me tuck her in and we'll leave.”

She screamed and screamed but her mother tucked her in and asked the driver
to stay beside her. She left and the door was shut by a loud bang.

"Oh my love, why so worried", the father asked

"She was crying so much, it is just not her habit, may be we should take her along."

"No, no, she must be missing Nanny, that's all"

"But she always cry when we leave her with Amir..."

"Don't worry, it's just your motherly instincts that are making you feel
guilty, he loves the kid"

Yes. he really loves the kid, how much? No one will ever know. Only he could understand why she was crying and what she was saying. No one heard her say, "mommy, he is bad, he touches me", they only heard her gurgling and screams.

(II)


She woke up in darkness. Her skin felt sticky with perspiration and her heart
was pounding.

"Oh God!!", she remembered her erotic dream and turn the light on as if to
chase away her demons. The light did nothing to cheer her up.

She looked up the clock and get out of the bed. It was time for her morning
prayers.

At the age of 27 her life was much settled. Her days revolve round her
teaching and praying.

Her monotonous life style was a blessing as she passes through each day
without feeling it passing by.

And it was also her main problem, sometimes when her nerves jingled with
tension and her body screams for things she can't name, she just didn't know what to do. Dreams like this were pure torture, if they give some
satisfaction they also give enhanced awareness of her bland life. They made
her aware of the desires she never knew existed.

"What can I do?", she try to reason herself, "mother is looking for a good
match, which is not easy task. I can't go out and flirt like other girls."

"I'll go and ask Baba Ji for some help", her resolve calmed her somewhat and she started for the day.

Baba Ji, her spiritual guide, was a well known personality in town. He have
a hostel sort of place for helpless women and it was thought to be an honor
for anyone to stay there.

"How can I tell him of my thoughts, they are so shameful", she thought.

So when Baba Ji asked about her problem, she just said, "Baba Ji, I have
everything but my heart is not content."

He pounced on her, counting her blessings form her pretty face to her high
education to her good manners and said, "Yet you are not content, you will
do penance in the hostel. Take a week off from your job, you will work with
the cleaning staff in the hostel, it will kill all evil in you."

She knew she had to obey him.

There were 20 women in the hostel at that time. She was given a servant's
quarter in the hostel which she has to share with another girl. She was of
the same age. She asked her," Why are you here?"

She answered," My heart is not content. Why are you here?"

She smiled and said, "Same reason as yours."

They looked deeply into each others eyes and smiled as understanding downed  upon them.

After a week, when they left the hostel, their hearts were very content.
They moved in together. They never had those dreams again.


(III)

She woke up in darkness at the cry of her baby, she looked at her sleeping
husband who was sleeping peacefully.

“Please, wake up and change her diaper”, but her silent pleading was not
heard and he keep on dreaming. Baby's cries got her attention and she got
up, sighing.

She changed the baby and gave her early morning feed. Looked at the clock, “oh God, it is already six’o clock” she had barely three hours sleep.

Last night few of their friends dropped by and they had a late dinner. She
was not able to go to sleep before three in the morning. And now she thought of returning to her bed but knowing that she wouldn't get any sleep now as she has to be up again in an hour to prepare breakfast, she went to the kitchen.

By they time she finished cleaning the kitchen, her husband was up.

“Hi, honey”, she said with a false cheerfulness.

“Why were you making so much noise? You woke me up.” He growled.

She just sighed and put the tea pot on fire to make tea.

She wasn't surprised at all, you do not get surprised on daily routines. She
was getting used to it, but sometimes when she thought about his initial
love and care, his present attitude hurt her.

During the few first months of their marriage he was so caring and loving
that she felt she was in heaven, but after that he changed with each passing
day, getting bitter and stranger. She tried every trick in the book and out
of it, but failed miserably to win his love back.

“If only he had a mistress, I would've understood it” but she know that it
was not so. She thought that a baby might change him. And it did, but for
the baby only. He was all love for the baby. She thanked God for it.

Sometimes she longed for love, care and tenderness, but knew that it won't
be coming from him.

It came from a simple phone call. And it was a wrong number.

“Hello”
“Yes”
“May I talk to Mr. Ahmad”
“He doesn't live here, wrong number.”
“Are you too busy?”
“What?”
“I asked, are you too busy?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Because I just wanted to talk to you.”
“Good Bye!!!”, she slammed the phone but a smile appeared on her lips. It
was a long time that anyone wanted to talk to her.

“He sounded very young. Had he known how old I am, he would've been sorry.”

She went back to her work, smiling.

Phone rang. It was the same guy.

“Look, sunny, I am old enough to be your mother, okay. So stop bothering me and go find a girl of your age.”

“How do you know how old I am?”

“Okay, tell me how old are you?”

“I am old enough to know how to win a woman's heart and make her feel
special.”

She just laughed and put the phone down.

But he kept calling and she kept disconnecting his calls. But in some very
strange way she started to wait for his calls. She started to listen to him
and her mood always cheered up after his calls.

“This is too bad, I am getting addict to his calls” she thought and felt
guilt towards this relationship.

But she couldn't stop herself.

The love and care she always wanted to have was given by a stranger and the gift was so precious that she couldn't refuse.

“I want to see you, rather I must see you.” he said one day.

“I knew you would say that some day soon, but I don't want this to happen.”

“You know I can get your address from the directory, but I want you to give
it to me yourself.”

“Oh, forget it okay. I might not want to see you”

“You might not or you don't?”
“ Oh, we are such good friends, why change it?”

“No, I don't want to change it. I want to take it a special one.”

“If I don't want to then?”

“Either you trust me to let me see you or you don't trust me, which means
there is no reason to continue with this farce, make your choice.”

"I'll think about it."

" Yes do it and let me know of your decision."

She knew what would it mean to see him for once, he will invariably try to
make it more intimate and she was not sure of this. Had her husband
satisfied her need for love and comfort , she would not even be talking to
this guy, but she had to make her decision and then face the consequences.

She said to her husband that night,

"Let's go somewhere for a few days, just to relax and enjoy."

"What? go somewhere with you? Are you out of your mind? What would we do there?"

"Whatever other people do. "

"Then go with other people. I don't want to be bored to death ."

"Okay, as you wish. Thanks."

"What?" He said sleepily.

"Nothing, it's just nothing. You go to sleep",

but he already was snoring, she sighed contentedly and she kissed on his
shoulder. After all her husband helped her in a very crucial decision.