Dark Night of the Soul
Dark Night of the Soul13 mins 112 13 mins 112
Five minutes back …
The cyclical patterns of life repeat themselves unless you really listen to the whispers of the universe which is constantly nudging you about your path of life, Betty felt…
Garry had died. The only hope for her life. The one because of whom she drew breath, the one for whom she had defied everything to ensure that they would always be together.
It seemed like it was just yesterday that they had met.
One year back …
“Bet, please get my wallet. Quickly.”, Garry yelled as he waited at the door with his shoes on, wanting to hurry up his way to the office.
“How do you always forget one thing or the other Gar?”, Betty yelled at him as she handed over the wallet and kissed him as always.
“What would I do without you babes, Love Ya!” He gave her a quick hug and moved out.
Five minutes back …
The incidence kept moving through the realms of Betty’s mind over and over again as if she was fixated on it.
Five years back …
There were things happening to Betty which were simply unfathomable to her rational self. She had met Garry at a house-party. The theme of the party was ‘Music of your life.’ Betty had been introduced to the concept of attending house parties by Rick, her friend from a social forum. Betty loved Music. Early on she was more into the classical form, but recently she would try different kinds. Strangely she had also started liking English songs and was constantly on the search for some new tune that would touch her soul.
Betty never believed in these things. Soul and all… But that night with Garry changed her life forever.
Ten years back …
The door-bell rang and Betty opened the door. She had just finished a large segment of her journal writing. Her college submissions were due. With a lot of difficulties, she had gotten admission for a basic science course, the one she wanted to opt for, and since that she had grown very interested in studying. It was her last year of graduation and things were getting very competitive. But, every moment of hard work was rewarding for her. Grace had returned from work. Grace, Her mother.
As usual, Grace was tired, she kept the grocery and the food bags that she used to bring for the house on the floor and sat down. Betty went into the kitchen and warmed up the tea that she had prepared, as always. And then over a cup of tea and the snacks that Grace had brought they both spent the next half hour or so, mostly watching T.V., channels that Grace liked, without many conversations.
Meanwhile Sam and Kit from the neighborhood came over to their house for spending some relaxed evening time and more so because they were fond of the biscuits and other junk food that Grace used to get. Sam was 2 and Kit, 6 years of age and their parents fought all the time these days. It had been around six to eight months. Their maid Isabelle was very concerned about the kids being raised in such an abusive environment and so had alarmed some of the close neighbors about it. Most of them including Grace’s household were compassionate towards the children’s suffering and made time for them despite their busy schedule.
Isabelle used to come over to vent to Bet when she was alone in the house, studying or doing some household work or when she was not chitchatting over the phone with her college friend. Bet would listen to her patiently but feel only slightly about the children. Not that she was emotionless, but she had been rendered dead by a similar, worse situation in her own house which had lasted for a good ten twelve years of her growing years.
Betty had faced a lot and was trying very hard to do well in academics and felt that every child could do it. Somehow domestic abuse had been her ‘Normal’ since early childhood and she never realized why Isabelle would wail for Kit and Sam. There were remnants of Bet’s damaged self though that led her to be with the children, albeit passively, just like someone who was present only physically, only bone and flesh!
Thirteen years back …
The door-bell rang and Betty opened the door. She had spent a whole day hopelessly thinking about how she would do best in her board exams without studying anything.
Grace had returned from work. As usual Grace was tired, she kept the grocery and the food bags that she used to bring for the house on the floor and sat down.
Betty went into the kitchen and warmed up the tea that she had prepared, as always. And then over a cup of tea and the snacks that Grace had brought they both spent the next half hour wherein Grace cribbed about how her office life was hectic and her boss sucked and things weren’t fair and how her knees ached and this and that and blah! Bet heard all of it, all the time.
Bet had got some legitimate time out from her studies. She was in her twelfth grade and was struggling with her academics. Her marks were to decide where she would land up in life as it was a decisive year after which students decided what would they take up as their career. But she just wasn’t focused!
On some days during that year Grace would be very frustrated and lecture Bet about how she needed to work hard, scolding her for her laziness and threatening her of the consequences that would ensue if she flunked in such a crucial year. But Bet had grown completely unreceptive of anything, anyone.
That year Bet flunked in her exams and that was the biggest setback of her life.
Fifteen years back …
The door-bell rang and Betty opened the door. She was in the tenth grade and was not doing as well as she expected from herself no matter how much she tried. She had the ability to top the class but was performing way below her caliber. She was busy completing her assignments when Grace came home after work. As usual Grace was tired, she kept the grocery and the food bags that she used to bring for the house on the floor and sat down. Betty went into the kitchen and warmed up the tea that she had prepared, as always. And then over a cup of tea and the snacks that Grace had brought they both spent the next half hour or so, mostly watching T.V., channels that Grace liked, without much conversation. Bet realized that too much time had gone by and that she needed to finish her assignment before she went to bed. So, she went to the bedroom and locked herself to studying. Bet had developed a liking for languages that year thanks to the diverse literature that she was exposed to. Despite which she wanted to take up Science, preferably medicine once she cleared the tenth grade and had to go to college. She liked Science too, but biology largely. She wasn’t really oriented to understand the kind of hard work required to do well in Physics and Chemistry and she hated Mathematics except for a few topics. Anyways, everything was manageable until the tenth grade. She cleared with a decent distinction with 81% marks.
Seventeen years back …
The door-bell rang and Betty opened the door. She had spent most of her free time in the day looking out of the window into the oblivion trying to deal with the challenges of growing up. As usual Grace was tired, she kept the grocery and the food bags that she used to bring for the house on the floor and sat down. Betty went into the kitchen and warmed up the tea that she had prepared, as always. And then over a cup of tea and the snacks that Grace had brought they both spent the next half hour watching their favorite daily soaps back to back. But after that Grace realized that Betty was grim and she asked her why… That day Betty had been bullied in school for being fat and ugly and she whined about it to Grace. It wasn’t a significant thing according to Grace and she shrugged it under the carpet. It was unusual… Betty had suddenly grown fat in the last two years, it didn’t matter to Grace though.
Five years back …
“How are you feeling sweetheart?” Garry flirted with Betty as usual after they moved out together from the house party at ten in the night
“I am good Ya. Just want to reach home quickly.” Betty replied minimally as always.
She and Garry were about to hail the same cab back home when she had a flash in front of her eyes as he gazed into her while shutting the door of the cab. She could not understand what was it all about. But in her mind, she saw that Garry was about to die. That if they ever decided to be together, he would die. While so many thoughts crossed her mind in that one moment, she could not understand how to respond to it. Had they met each other in past lives? Did they know each other?
And how could she not want to be with him? She loved him. But being with him would mean that his life would be doomed. God, she was so confused…
“Hey! What are you thinking?” Garry interrupted her thoughts.
“Nothing.” She replied with irritation.
How could she tell him that despite the fact that she wanted to be with him there was something incomprehensible that would not let her be with him. As if they were not meant to be. That her yearning would have to die someday. That is the day when she started believing in soul connections.
Two years back …
Betty decided to be away from Garry but could never forget him. Garry became a rich businessman. Betty was doing well in her life too. And then they happened to meet each other at a common friend’s party. It was a very pleasant evening and Betty looked beautiful in her lilac gown. Garry also looked charming as always and when they shook hands after ten years, they felt an instantaneous reconnection. Conversations flowed over cocktails and that same night Garry proposed to Betty for a marriage. By that time, she had forgotten the flash that she had and agreed to marry him.
They both got married in a humble manner and started their life together. He was the happiest man in the world. His work was increasing and he started coming late more often.
Two days back …
Garry was driving back home and he decided to take a shortcut ending up in a congested lane. He got increasingly frustrated with the delay and decided to walk it up to the house as it was only fifteen minutes apart by then. He parked his car in a nearby legitimate compound and called up Betty to tell her that it would take him some more time to reach home and that she could get ready with the dinner in the meanwhile.
Betty started warming up the food in the microwave. She placed the curry bowl in the microwave and set it to one and a half minute while getting back to decorate the apple custard that she had prepared. Just then she heard a loud noise. As if something had exploded and rushed to the microwave to see if everything was alright.
The curry bowl was moving just fine on the rotating dish. She peeped out of the window of their house to see if she could find something but there were no signs of anything significant. She ignored that she had heard any sound and got back to getting dinner ready on the dining table.
It was almost half an hour after Garry had last called her and he wasn’t yet home. What was the matter. Betty was getting worried. She was cursing him for having taken the congested road at this hour. She decided to go to Sherry’s house for a quick chat until Garry returned.
“Hey. Can I come in?” Betty asked through the half open door of Sherry’s house.
“Oh. Sure. Since when did you have to ask permission Bet?” Sherry replied sweetly.
“I am getting bored waiting for Garry, sitting at home. I had warmed all the food and it is now to get cold.” Betty complained.
“Oh! That is bad. Is he going to get late or something?” Sherry tried to reason with Betty.
“He is just around the corner he said some time back when he had called. It’s almost forty - five minutes now and I don’t know what to do.” Betty replied.
“Oh Okay. We can talk for some time. I will keep you company until he comes. You want to have dinner with me. Maybe you could eat a bit now and a bit later when Garry returns.” Sherry suggested.
“Sounds like a good idea. Being alone in the house I am having really bad thoughts. It is better we have food together. I will get some of the stuff that I made. Just wait.” Betty said trying to regain her excited self, deviating herself from her concerned mind which was constantly thinking about Garry.
Ten minutes back …
As Betty returned back home to get some portion of the food for herself and Sherry the phone rang.
“Hello.” Betty said picking up the receiver.
“Hello. Am I speaking to Mrs. Betty Fernandes?” A concerned voice said from the other side.
“Yes. I am Betty Fernandes. And who may I suppose is this?” Betty replied.
“Hi Madam. I am calling from Apollo hospital. This is regarding your husband Garry Fernandes.” The person on the other side said.
Betty’s heart skipped a beat. She sat down on the sofa in her living room which was close to where she was standing and started scratching the foam, feeling tensed about what must have happened.
“Yeah, tell me. What is it?” Betty said.
“Mrs. Fernandes, I am one of the resident doctors at the hospital and was into my night shift when your husband was admitted to our hospital sometime back.”
Betty had totally lost it by now. She got very anxious and said, “What has happened? Is he alright?”
“No madam. Since there was no obvious sign of injury, we did a full body MRI scan in our efforts to understand why he was unconscious when he was admitted by some strangers to our hospital. I am sorry to share that he had last stage brain tumor.” The other person said.
“Had. What do you mean had?” Betty was startled.
“Mrs. Fernandes. I am very sorry to share that your husband is dead.” The doctor replied.
Betty could not believe what she heard. She went back running to Sherry’s house and told her what had happened. They both rushed to the hospital and Betty informed all their close relatives and friends about Garry. After his funeral was over, Betty finally got to rest for some time. She was five months pregnant by then and the stress of Garry’s demise was too much to take, both physically and emotionally.
As Betty lay on the bed with Sherry besides her, she fell asleep in no time. And then she had a terrible dream after which she woke up with a jolt.
“Hey, what happened? Sherry asked Betty.
“I had a very bad dream about Garry.” Betty replied.
“Oh! It’s alright. Drink some water maybe. You’ll feel better.” Sherry said handing over a glass of water to Betty.
“Hmm. I was so choked Sher. Thanks for the water.” Betty said wiping off the sweat from her brow.
“Don’t worry dear. You didn’t even eat anything. Come let’s have dinner now. It’s been an hour Garry has come home and he is waiting for you to wake up.” Sherry replied.