"Mamma, see such a pretty flower!" Aarohi's daughter runs up to her to present the daisy she had plucked off the ground. Her face split up in a pretty grin and she ruffled Aashi's pretty brown hair. She was enraptured by the innocent happiness on her face. But like the curious tornado she was, she ran again to find something else now. Her ten-year old daughter was her entire world. Aarohi had committed the biggest crime against the society, she had decided to fall in love, and for which she had been severely punished. She lay back on the picnic blanket and looked up in the sky, her mind running a thousand miles, weaving a hundred different stories.
Then suddenly she felt as if she was being watched, so she sat up. Sure enough, a few feet away was a man, looking directly at her. His gaze was not of curiosity or danger but was something she couldn't place, something so familiar yet so foreign. She didn't feel threatened but was really intrigued. Slowly, she got up and started walking towards the man. His head was bowed and eyes lowered, strong hands clasped together resting in between his tall legs. The man was bigger than her but somehow, she trusted him.
"I tried Arohi. I really did try to stay away but I couldn't." Slowly when their gazed connected, she found herself lost in the same honey eyes that she stared at every day.
He looked like he hadn't aged a single day and she froze like a statue.
"Mamma, who is this?" Aashi's little voice broke Aarohi out of her fog. She had no answer, she thought he had died, that fate had been cruel to her. Emotions swirled in her gut and her heart started racing faster. "Baby, this is….."
"I have to go or they will kill you too." His words of the past rang in her head. She was lost and confused, stuck in her place while the memories assaulted her mind.
"What about me?" She had cried. She was ready to die with him, she had vowed to be his forever.
Today when her past stared in her face, she was unable to say anything, now she had a different reason to live. That day, she didn't have a choice, today she didn't want to choose. Being with him meant, losing her daughter, but losing him meant that the hole in her chest will always be there.
"Did you leave them, Darsh?" Her eyes watered as she said those word and his head bowed again. His tongue was silent but the scars on his hands spoke enough. She took a deep breath and decided to choose, not only for herself but for her daughter.
"You shouldn't be here." She said as she picked up her daughter and started walking away. Her shoulders were slumped and tears trickled down her cheeks. Her tears were not only for herself but her daughter too. She knew what she had done was the right thing but she also knew that she didn't want to do it.
" A man who deals in violence, one day becomes violence incarnate." Her mother's words echoed around her.
"That, baby, was your Dad." She finally whispered the truth. Her daughter had to know.
Each step she took caused more pain. She had left one love for another.