I stroked the hair from the lifeless body. The little cherub looked peaceful. It was all over really quick. The cough syrup must have done its job. The struggle of carrying her and giving birth to her was all too raw despite the three years that had gone by. I lightly traced the scar left behind when her left hand had to be operated upon after a fracture. I released the breath that I hardly knew I was holding thinking of that harrowing time- the little one screaming with pain and I rushing to the emergency. It could have been worse if I had been in the US at that time. She would have been taken away by the administration. But then we were in India at my in-law’s house. She had been just two then. It was my brother-in-law who had rushed the little one from his bedroom when she started screaming, her hand swelling up real fast. He had been vague about how she had hurt herself. I wondered than if he had been high from his dilated pupils, but then, my in-laws were great ones at playing an ostrich. Family honour was a big thing for them.
I had said to the treating doctor, “I don’t know how she hurt herself…” She had looked at me then, and I could see her judgement. After that she was addressing only my husband. Very soon, he had her smiling and laughing and the little one too clung to him more than to me. I was jealous. Even the little one preferred her father to me. In her eyes too, I must have looked like a loser. My own jaw hardened as I traced the little one’s remembering the time when she was just a day old.
I just could not convert my academic and professional successes to my personal life and no wonder, my marriage too crumbled. I rose packing my things. For a brief moment, the madness made me take up the razor. But then, I staunched the blood and ordered for the cab. knew I raised their suspicion when I wanted a cab. But the fault lies with me. I did not give much credit to the smartness of the hospital staff nor the police. The police did a fine job and caught up with me all too soon. My fault. I still operated from the overfed, over-corrupt Babudom.
The media have been having a field day after the body was discovered. ‘Monster mom’, ‘killer mom,’ were the epithets used for me. They said I was a sore loser after the custody battle. I knew I was giving the police a hard time. Not responding. I knew they would have to dig deep to find a motive. I am not educated for nothing. I would go down, but along with me would be my hateful, charming husband and his wasted brother, whom I can never trust my little one with even for a day.
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