The gentle rain and the refreshing coffee wouldn’t change her mind. She recalled all the humiliating treatment meted out to her in the five years since her husband’s death. She wondered how long it would take to finish writing in the book, which was her diary. The deliberate move to rent her house, move in with them was followed by demand to  handover the rent. Her old age and health condition didn’t stop them from turning into monsters. In fact, her diabetes and arthritis was a weapon in their hands. She had mostly lived a sheltered life under her husband’s care. So the new city and unfamiliar language made it difficult for her to make new friends. It started with small insults and progressed to humiliating treatment and open confrontations. It broke down her self confidence, and made her question her own self worth. Her cries for support from her son were met with cold stare and indignation at complaints on his wife. She soon understood her status in the household and withdrew herself.  But then it escalated. She slept on the cold floor despite her arthritis and was denied her diabetic medicine. She succumbed and agreed to anything if they would spare her life. Their demand was for her only asset, the apartment in her name. She realized she couldn’t live in this house anymore, and countered with her own deal. She would sign the papers if they would put her in an old age home. A home was identified, papers were signed and she ran away from their lives.

Since she moved in here, she was constantly racked by the awful memories of what had happened in her son’s house. She was often consoled and told to look back on her old life and cherish the beautiful memories she shared with her husband. When that still didn’t help, she finally took to writing down her thoughts. A sweet memory, a beautiful sight, a funny joke or anything that made her happy was written down. Whenever she relapsed into a depressing mood, she would read these happy moments.

But today it is different. Today is her birthday and she couldn’t shake off the melancholy. She finally decided to finish the diary with entries of all that he and his wife had done to her, and then take her own life. She knew he could be prosecuted and lose his life, but she didn’t care. This was her revenge.

When a visitor was announced, she left her diary half-way. Despite her anger and contempt her eyes filled on seeing her son. He apologized for everything, wished her, gifted her a watch and left.

The next day her son was called to the home. In her belongings was a book with her writings. The last entry read “My son came to see me, apologized, and even remembered my birthday.” He closed the book with a heavy heart, and realized what the lonely soul was longing for all these years.

*****

Written by Meenakshi Anand

Meenakshi Anand’s earlier work as report writer made her realize how much she loves putting her thoughts into words. Since her childhood, a chance phrase, a sight, anything for that matter would trigger a story and she always wondered what medium would help her realize those stories. Now she knows!