I woke up in the hotel room where we had spent our first night together as man and wife. My body still ached from the torture that Sekhar had subject me to. My cries had gone unheard. It was as though I was merely a mute spectator last night. The more the pain he inflicted, greater was his pleasure. My resistance was like an aphrodisiac for him.
Till I decided to give in to him and welcomed the blows he rained on my body and face. I bore the pain through clenched fists; shutting my eyes from the horror that was unfolding before me. Watching the whole scene detached, from outside my body. Did I notice the cold look he has in his eyes? Was I too blind in the faith I had towards my parents in finding me the perfect groom that I decided not to look beyond the handsome face that Sekhar was?
When he forced himself upon me, did he see the tears that rolled from my eyes and unto the white pillows, staining them grey with my kajal? As the pain shot up my body, twisting it from insides, why did his eyes gleam with accomplishment? Was this monster on top of me really the man I had intent on spending the rest of my life with?
Sekhar… Sekhar… If only you realized. That I would gladly have listened to anything you said. If only you chose to hear me. I wish I could tell you how much I have dreamt of this night. Don’t you realize that no one had prepared me for this? None of the books and movies had warned me that this was how things would be. That my body, which was supposed to bloom to your touch, is now writhing in pain?
I remember how you looked at me when you came to see me the first time. I had thought that you were measuring my beauty, your eyes that caressed me so gently then. How mesmerized you were, blinded even. Was it because you knew that I was too weak to resist you? I fell for your charms; you won over my family with your easy going manner. But never in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that this was how my marital night would be.
Was this simply the beginning? Of more nights that are, undoubtedly, to follow? Deep inside I know that people would not change overnight. That this is who you are. But are you willing to let me reach out to you? If only, I can convince you to seek help. All is not lost. I know that there is some part of you which loves me, in its own twisted way.
My eyes open against the sunlight that wafts in through the delicate cream lace curtains. You are nowhere around. I heave a sigh of relief, involuntarily. The sheets hugging me remind me of last night. Traces of blood mark it, from the wounds you inflicted. My body is sore and it feels as though sandpaper had been rubbed on it the entire night. It is burning in between my legs, I can feel the dried up blood on them. I can’t open my left eye fully. It is swollen around my eyelids where the ring around your right hand hit me.
I can hear the shower running in the bathroom. I pray that you take a longer time inside as I scramble for my clothes and the shards of dignity that are scattered around. But they lie around torn by you in your throes of passion. At first, I had not understood. I mistook your desperation for eagerness. But somewhere, I understood that what you were doing was beyond my control. And yours.
You open the bathroom door and come strolling towards me. A smile on your lips, the smile that never reached your dark eyes. The complimentary towel from the hotel fit smugly around your hips, raising your hands to hold me. I cower back. And that is when I see the hurt in your eyes.
‘Baby, I’m sorry. Sorry if I hurt you…’, you say. ‘What happened was beyond my control. Forgive me…’
I want to forgive you, Sekhar. I really do. A part of me has been in love with you since the day I set my eyes on you. You were supposed to protect me till the end of time. But what is one supposed to do when your protector turns into a sadist, one who derives pain from your pleasure.
But the look in your eyes melts my heart. Of course, I can’t help but forgive you. I try to put it behind me as you hold me close. Tenderly. Such difference from last night. And I thank my lucky stars. Maybe it was just a night. Maybe it was the strain of the wedding. Maybe, maybe…
I dream of a thousand excuses for you as I take my bath. I take care to mark my forehead with the deep maroon of the kumkum, marking me as your wife, your soul mate. We had made a pact, a promise to be there for each other. I couldn’t break it just because of one night.
I see you running your eyes over me as I step inside the room. I shudder seeing the look you have, but you come up and kiss my neck, on the bruise you made last night. And all was forgotten, for now. I covered the bruises I had with makeup. Carefully, so that it doesn’t show.
We have a wonderful day, you and I, exploring the hotel and having lunch in the posh restaurant the hotel boasted of. You ordered the finest wine and the famous shrimp delicacy. You insist on feeding me with your hands. I blush seeing the look the waiters give. But you turn a blind eye towards everyone and everything except me.
You took me to explore the rest of the places around the hotel afterwards. Playing with me on the beach and kissing me tenderly when you thought no one was looking. You gave me love to last for a lifetime that day. As if to make up for the previous night. You watched the sunset with me, holding my hand.
It was time for us to return back to our room. But I was no longer scared. It was all behind us now. Tonight, would be different, I thought. You smiled at me as you locked our room. Your hands were all over me, hungrily. But then, you pulled apart and brought the package from under the bed, where you had kept in hidden.
‘What is this?’, I asked with open curiosity.
‘Open it and see for yourself…’, you said.
I opened it and the palest of a peach sheer gown slipped between my fingers. ‘The richest of the rich, the best of all, for my princess’, you murmured in my ears. I was delighted. You stopped at nothing when it came to me. I went into the bathroom to wear it, excited. Tonight was going to be the night. My fingers trembled in excitement, thinking of the wonderful things that you would do to me. I left my hair open, the way you liked and came to our room.
The lights have been switched off and the room was masked in a silver glow in the moonlight. I see you waiting on the bed, nursing a drink in hand. Your eyes light up when you see me. But there it was, again. The cold look that I had seen once before, in your eyes. I must have panicked. The last thing I remembered before shutting my eyes as you dragged me on the bed and ripped apart the beautiful gown were the glint in your eyes that took possession every night.