After one more slap, she was shattered… yet again.
This wasn’t the first time that she was smashed into pieces. For the last ten years, the same vicious cycle had been going on.
Sia didn’t know that her husband, Rohit, was bipolar when she got married to him. Within a few months, his symptoms began showcasing. She was disturbed by this news, but what broke her from within was Rohit’s family keeping this a secret from hers.
At times, it was a life she had dreamed of, but the other moments were her own personal nightmare.
For a few years, Rohit agreed to take medicines and therapy, but he soon gave up on this.
There were days when Sia would break down at her office desk and some days when she would just go blank about everything.
They had a son, named Riaan. Today, Rohit slapped Sia for sending him to a hostel. What other choice did she have? She hated when Riaan witnessed all the rage and aggression his father showed her. She needed to keep her son away from this dark shadow.
After many fights and conversations, they went to Panchgani to drop Riaan to his boarding school. While this was a decision she had taken for his own good, Riaan was the only reason she had to smile daily. But now, with him gone, she was alone in their house, trapped with her nightmares.
She would lock herself in her room while Rohit bellowed and broke things in the house. She remembered how once, Rohit threw a flower vase at her, and she bled. The next day, he cried, sitting next to her in the emergency room as she got her stitches.
It was challenging to bring out any similarities between the good Rohit and the bad. Whenever she decided to leave him, the good Rohit would appear and bond with her.
Today, as she wipes her rolling tears, she finally makes a firm decision. She has to leave him.
“I must do this for a better life for my son and me.”
At nightfall, she slowly unlocks the door and noiselessly begins to pack her things. Her in-laws are fast asleep in their room.
Usually, when Rohit would turn violent, they would leave her to handle the heat alone. Saying that it was “family matters” and that it should be handled gracefully between them. Sia despised them and their cowadice. She had no qualms about leaving them alone with his temper.
As Sia collected all her belongings, personal documents, a few family photos and some of her son’s things, she recalled how once, not long ago, she had sat with her son in a taxi with all their bags packed. That time, her in-laws stopped her and pleaded with her not to leave. Not to take Riaan from them.
This emotional outburst from them changed her mind, and she dropped her plans.
But this time, it was different. She wrote a note and left it in the living room,
“I am leaving this place, you all and Rohit, but I am not sorry. The past few years have been taxing, to say the least. I have used all possible tactics to cope up with the situations that life presented to me, but it seems that there can never be any constructive outcome. I don’t want the dark shadow of Rohit to fall on Riaan. However, the better version, the caring version, is always welcome to meet his son.
As parents, you both have failed in handling Rohit. If you would have started medication or therapy in time, things would have been much better. Unfortunately, you were always just ashamed to talk about it. I don’t want to fail as a mother, so I am sure you all will understand why this step was necessary for our son.”
As Sia drives away from home, she keeps all the good memories with her and holds back all the urges that tempt her to turn back. But then, the countless marks of injuries on her body, and those marked forever upon her soul, hold her tight, and she doesn’t look back.
“Do you want Riaan to have the same marks? NO!” Her inner voice scolded her.
She moved to a working ladies' hostel and continued on with her life. In the initial days, Rohit would come to her office, wait outside and try to do everything to meet or speak with her. But she avoided it all. She protected herself from the violent version of Rohit. It was obligatory.
She knew she had to detach herself from his good side, too, otherwise, all of this would be for nothing.
Her colleagues and society judged her for taking such a harsh step. But she hardly cared.
A few months later, she heard some whispers around her, but she couldn’t make anything out of it. When she opened her eyes one day, she found herself lying in a hospital bed. Her head was spinning, and she was out of breath. She screamed for help.
That is when she saw her parents rushing inside with the doctors and Rohit.
What the doctor told her shook her to the core.
They told her that she had a serious condition. She was prone to hallucinations. When this happened, her mind would make up scenarios in her brain, and for a long time, she would believe them to be real and live in that made-up world.
Her husband, the one whom she believed to be bipolar, was actually her caregiver. He wasn’t the one who abused her, but it was the other way around. He had never hit her, she was the one who hurt herself and then blamed it all on him. Her in-laws always left them alone during their fights because Rohit begged them to let him handle her himself. Riaan didn’t need to be distanced from his father; no, he needed to be separated from his mother, and that is why Rohit had taken such a drastic step to send him to boarding school so that he wouldn’t witness these episodes of his mother.
Rohit was terrified when he read the harsh note that was left for them on the table that night. He knew he had to get her back home to protect her from everything… from herself.
Sia cried into her pillow for hours. She would undergo brain surgery, and the doctors held hope for her. Rohit hugged her before she went into surgery. The warmth that he still had for her was one that she would never forget.
She wondered how a person could be so patient with her and still love and care for her despite this condition.
Over time, she healed and grew into a stronger person. She had the support of her family, her in-laws, her son, and, of course, Rohit.