She must have slept for a long time because when she woke up, it was dark. She knew so because her windows showered no light except for the German bulbs that enchanted her room. She cocked her head a bit to look over the bent shape of David, sitting at the edge of her bed.
“What a gentleman,” she thought. He had tucked her in, nice and smooth. This was a man for every girl’s dream. He must have fallen asleep watching her sleep.
She gave herself a light laugh. The sudden thought that he might have a girlfriend she had never met stole her laughter right from the corner of her hungry-for-kisses lips.
She was afraid he was becoming an obsession. The man does not love her still she could kill on his behalf. In her life, all she had known about love was that it was never requited. It hurts so much that she felt her eyes grow hot from savage tears.
Suddenly, she gave out a shrill laughter that sent Dave jostling out of his bag of sleep. He looked up to find her staring at him.
“Did you know this baby was made in his office? It was the last time I saw him,” she said gaudily like she was talking about a happy past and not an utterly sad one.
If Dave had not known the ‘him’, he would have been thrown off balance by such a weird question as the one thrown right now at him.
He could not understanding anything still he decided to humor her. “How do you mean made in his office?” he pretended to tilt his head as a show of interest in this bizarre topic.
She swung her head like a little cat, smiled sheepishly again. Dave couldn’t help but think she needed some fresh air.
“Well, when Michel married me, I was just fourteen years old. I was the most timid girl ever. On our nuptial night, he professed his undying love for me. I was so stupid!” She started crying now, rolling the tip of her gown around her tallest finger. She was looking down at whatever she thought she was doing with her hands.
He wanted to hug her. He saw the pain in her eyes. But he knew she would never tell him this story he had longed to hear since the day they met. He allowed her to continue but deeply hated himself for his selfishness and unrefined manner.
His eyes were intent on hers and she saw this as a go ahead.
“I allowed him touch me on that night. Although his mom had told me I had every right to refuse him being just fourteen. We were in his family house afterall and my house was a stone throw from there. All I had to do was scream should he touch me without my permission. His sweet talks seemed to have assured me that I had landed on the right pad of love. That I truly mattered to him…”
The fan was whirring angrily above their heads but Zeenat could still feel the hotness emerge from her armpits and her legs safely hidden under the covers.
All this while, she had avoided his gaze. She didn’t want to seem too helpless. She didn’t want to see pity on his face, like she had seen on the first day they met when she confessed she slept on the streets and had no home to go to.
She let her mind cast back on that day. She was browsing the street bins for edibles. She luckily found doughnuts and was about to find a safe spot to eat her lunch. The sun was hotter that day and the streets busier than usual.
She suddenly felt nauseous and then everything was spinning before her eyes. She remembered passing out and waking up in the hospital.
The doctor had introduced her saviour to her. She remembered looking at him and thinking about how handsome he was, never even wondering what she was doing in a hospital.
Then the Doctor gave her the shocking news of her life. She was two months pregnant.
He had said “Congratulations!” with such conviction that she was happy with the news.
“I don’t want the baby, Doctor. Please help me remove it. I don’t want it,” she found herself reiterating the dastard words.
The stranger’s hand rested on her tiny shoulder. There and then, her world stopped in its pace. Her teary eyes met his and she read the words which left his lips.
“It deserves a chance,” he had simply said.
And that ended it right there. She was short of words.
A light scrunch of his huge hands on hers brought her back to the present. She swiped a tear off her eye bags and nodded as if she understood his gesture.
“When I woke up in the morning, I felt like a woman; like the best new bride in the world whole. He wasn’t by my side. I felt maybe he was at the breakfast table so I hurried into a wear appropriate for a new bride and dashed down the stairs.”
To be continued…