Mother came running upon hearing the sound. There was nothing much to it, he went quite silently – did not resist much. Surprisingly even for once Arun had not imagined it to be this silent – this quiet – never in all those years. He had somehow imagined a lot of throwing around – of a lot of people outside to witness what had just happened. There was none of that. Absolutely none of that.
She did not shriek a cry. She just stood there, bound by some ancient ritual to not move around much when her husband was there – even though this time he lay dead, quite dead. He had died a few stabs back. Arun did not seem to care. Or notice. Neither.
It was 23 years back when he had first heard them – the cries, those specific cries. He had heard several slaps before. These were definitely different. He had already woken up in the next room. Mother was crying, rather chocking on something, resisting something. This was peculiarly odd for him, he had rarely heard mother resisting anything. This was definitely something different.
Among the loud gushes his father was taking, there was also constant shouting from mother. Arun was at the door, his ears reluctantly pressed against the newly painted wood – listening very intently. All he could clearly hear constantly was the word ‘no’.
Arun knew what he was hearing. He was already 10. He just didn’t know what to make of it – till he heard a third voice, and then a fourth – all male.
Then he knew.
He was not cleaning the granite floor – he was cleaning his hands with the blood, or dirtying them – he was not certain. Soaking all of whatever that came out of that body which once could move, and eat, and drink – and inflict hurt – all of that, now lay perfectly still. The proud owner of this dead meat sat next to it, staring at his mother in the eyes, while she looked at him with love, rage, horror, affection, all packed up in a single glare.
“You know what he just did?”, he asked her laughing.
“He hugged me and said he was about to die. Of something…Yes! Cancer. I couldn’t give him such a peaceful death, could I?”
“I need to finish picking up the glasses from the kitchen floor.”, she receded back.
“Sure, I also need a smoke.”
“Can you just lend me one?”