Me, Fight For Me
Me, Fight For Me9 mins 301 9 mins 301
The little girl's escape
Geethu was waiting for her mother to sleep before getting into action. As expected, it did not take much time as the morning fight between Geethu and mother pushed her to take her sleeping pills early. She took the rope out from the hidden place and tied to the balcony grill. Doubtfully she dropped the rope down, but lucky it reached up to 2 feet above ground from her second-floor balcony. Before leaving, something asked her to have a final cursory view. She walked to her mother's room, and she was deep in her sleep. Going back, she noticed the grandmother's light was still on. She initially was worried. Her gut, however, told her it was all right, and she went in to see her grandmother. Grandmother was sleeping facing away from the door. She could not believe leaving without bidding goodbye to her grandmother, but she cannot take any risks. So, she touched her feet and turned to leave. Her eyes teared up, feeling it might be last she will see of her grandmother.
What Geethu did not know was there were one more set of tears, her grandmother's. She knew after the fight this morning what Geethu was going to do. Mothers listen to you, but grandmothers know you.
"How many times I have to tell you, I am a major. I take my decisions, now.", said Geethu.
"Stupid governments, you turn 18, and they feel you know everything. A mother knows better. Major or not, I don't agree to you going to meet him", said Geethu's mother.
The mother was worried about Geethu meeting him today, Geethu's birthday, of all. She hated him for years, and she tried to keep Geethu away from him for years. She tried everything in her power to prove he was not good, for Geethu. But Geethu was not one to listen. She, on her part, promised to come back immediately. But mother was not ready to send Geethu to him.
"Please, mom, listen to me. If you let me go. I will come back immediately.", requested Geethu.
"I don't like it. Why do you want to go? He left years ago" replied the mother.
"I have a few questions I need to ask him."
"He needs to answer them."
"But he abused you before. What if he does it again?"
Geethu had no answer.
"See, you have no answer."
Geeth did not answer any of her mother's taunts except saying, "I need to meet him."
Giving up reasoning with the daughter, she turned to her mother.
"I gave her so much, and she wants to go to him.", said the mother crying.
"She does not want to go to him. She said she was to come back if you let her go", replied the grandmother.
"You too are supporting her now? No one is there to back me. That day also, you tried to take his side."
"It is not like that. Geethu wants to talk to him. Let her do that. If you let her make her choices, she will respect you." said the grandmother.
"I cannot let that happen that is the last of this discussion. I am locking the house. If anyone leaves the house, I will commit suicide", said the mother.
The whole day went with no one speaking to others in the house. Grandmother tried to reason with Geethu. Geethu blindly followed every one of Grandmother's advice. But, not today. Something in Geethu's mind told that day was the day. She planned to leave that night to go and meet him.
Culprit or Victim?
Geetu reached the gate of his house. The place looked abandoned with no sign of humans around. She fearfully knocked on the door. No one came to open the door. She knocked again, that time louder, anticipating a response. Still, there was no sign of movement. But she was not going to give up, she was waiting for that day for many, many years. She kept knocking until she heard some footsteps. The man opened the door but only a little. She could hardly make the face of him. A few seconds later, he spoke for the first time.
"Who is it?"
Geethu did not respond but looked at face intensely.
Trying to make out who it was, he opened the door further. That was when he noticed Geethu, and Geethu saw him clearly. The unkempt hair, faded beard and weakened face Geethu's heart broke. She could not control her tears. The man Geethu for the first time, and noticed the tears. Immediately he was taken aback without a word he went back inside the house. Seeing the open door, Geethu went inside the house. The man was not able to face Geethu and turned away.
"Why did you do that?", asked Geethu.
"Did your mom not tell you?"
"She told me what she told me. You tell me what you have to say."
"I am a devil. I am an animal. I don't care who it was, as long as the person is vulnerable. Even if it is my daughter."
"Don't tell me what my mom has told me. Tell me what you have to say."
"There is nothing else to say."
"Don't lie", said Geethu tears in her eyes.
"What truth you want. I don't know the truth, anymore. I gave everything up and hiding here. Who asked you to come here after ten years to ask me?"
Not waiting for a response from crying Geethu he continued.
"The court did not hear what I had to say. The judge did not believe me. No one for a second thought of asking me what I was going through. Your mother did not allow me to reason with her. What is there to tell now."
"I am not asking about the case. I am not asking about the abuse charge.", said Geethu.
"Then what else is left."
"Is there nothing left?"
"What's left?" asked the father.
"What is with you?"
"I know what happened. How my mother has lied. How she spoiled your reputation? How she made sure you never are allowed around me."
Geethu's father had nothing to say.
"That day, no one asked me what happened because I was a minor. But I know what you are and what mother was doing to you," said Geethu.
"What is the use? What is left for me in this life to fight anymore? When my wife lied to get rid of me and worst of all, using you for that. I could never believe a woman can do that to her husband or daughter just for some money. I was so heartbroken it took me years even to understand what was happening. I felt I lost you. I lost my daughter, my angel, my life. You know, I never called you by name, cos I named you after my gramma. I missed her and, I never felt someone was going to love me unconditionally like her. The day a nurse came and handed you in a white bunny onesie, I felt she was back. You were here and more with your love. When you cried the first time, I cried. I burnt the table that hurt you even when I know it was not its fault. But that one day in court, your mom took everything away. I stood there in court left nothing. " said the father with anger in the tone, but tears in his eyes.
Seeing the father's tears, Geethu's voiced started to break with sadness.
"Getting called a predator by everyone. Trying hard not to get hit by stones thrown on the house. Only going go out when the world sleeps. Not being able to show my face even to my parents. What is left in the world for me to fight for?"
With tears filled voice, Geethu said, "Me, Dad."
The moment Geethu said Dad, all the mask of an angry man melted away and the father dropped to his chair crying. He wanted to hug her once and cry his heart out. But he could not move. The anger of the society rubbed on him and made him worry.
"I came here to ask you that. Why have you not fought for me, Dad? Why?"
The dad had nothing but tears as the response. Till yesterday he thought all his tears have dried from crying for years and all the drinking. But who knew they were waiting for this day to be an unpleasant guest in front of his daughter.
"They gave me to my mother. I was expecting you to fight for me. There have been many days, and many nights I waited for you to come and take me. But you gave up. "
"But I already failed. I could not face the world anymore", replied Geethu's father.
"What about me, Dad? How can I live a lie? How can I live without someone who loved me so much?", said Geethu dropping at the feet of his father's chair. The father kept his hand on her head and pampered her hair. As they say, a father can accept anything but cannot take that he failed his kids.
He saw into the crying eyes of Geethu and said, "I am sorry, I did not fight for you. I was selfish" in a disgruntled voice.
Geethu, happiness in her heart, and tears in her eyes rested her head in the lap of her father and said, "Dad, I am waiting for that ice cream you promised in the court that day. Can you buy me one?"
Father kissed Geethu on the forehead. Picked Geethu up, and confidently walked out the door in the daylight for the first time in ten years, with his daughter by his side.
The victim shaming ends
Eating the ice cream and holding on to her father's hand as Geethu asked, "You said you were going to fight for me. Fight for me."
"How? I don't know what to do? The case was closed years ago. We have no other option you need to go back to your mother."
"I am major today. I decide where to go, and I spoke to a lawyer. We are going to court tomorrow, to tell what happened. They have to listen to me."
"Where are you going to live?"
"With my Dad."
"No, not possible. Come with me."
"I don't want to go to my mother. She will stop me again from going to court."
"No, not like that. Dad's home had no bed. Let us go and buy one. We also need to clean up the other bedroom and get it ready for you to sleep."
Holding her Dad's hand tight, she started jumping around like a six-year-old on the road as they headed to spend the moments they missed as father and daughter for the last ten years.
Not long after hearing their granddaughter, the father's parents were back at home. Geethu missed them, and they missed her, and the pampering never ended.
P.S: There have been a million occasions in the ten years when Geethu's father tried to commit suicide. The shame of facing the world was big. But the emotional turmoil Geethu went through and worrying what Geethu might believe was too much to handle even with a bottle vodka down. That day, the judgement came in the father's favour, thanks to daughter's deposition. The judge apologised to the man for making him suffer all these years. As far as he was concerned the day he met his daughter, he got his judgement, today was just a formality.
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