Shishir (Winter) 2019, Short Stories - Sravani Saha



Fractured Love

By Sravani Saha


That night he lay on top of me working on his impassive act while I lay cold, unmoving on the bed with my fractured self staring at me. I cried to myself as soon as he was done.

That night, I decided to get my life back. And rebuild my anchor.

You see my ship had been tossing and turning on rough waters the entire of last year while rambunctious waves played at it with ease. They knew I had lost my anchor.

You always look for an anchor, an emotional anchor, that can ease out the pressures of waves on you; waves of life that do not hesitate to hurl you down with dispassionate ruthlessness, and even torment you with icy winds from the doldrums.

I had my anchor in him, my loving husband who used to love me back. Until he stopped loving me. One fine morning, he looked at me with crinkled eyebrows when we were sitting at our brown dinner table with hot mugs of darker brown ginger tea and trying to work on freshly developed creases in our relationship. He had stopped talking to me for more than ten days. I knew there was something about me bothering him. I wanted to talk and clear the air.

‘You haven’t spoken to me in ten days,’ I said. ‘Is there something bothering you?’

‘Are you psychologically dependent on me Meera? You should not be,’he snapped. ‘It doesn’t matter if I am not talking to you. You should be able to handle your emotions alone.’

I heard him silently. All this while I could see the hot steam rising from my mug, crystal clear wavy lines magically emerging from the liquid within, much like you’d see on a sketch of a mug. However, suddenly, as our discussion took an unprecedented tangent, the steam turned cloudy, almost misty, and I could not separate one wavy line of steam from the other. I wiped a silent tear.

My life with my husband was good until it had stopped being good. A decade into my marriage and it was only recently that I was told in different ways that we were not exactly as much in love as we were earlier. Cracks appeared in our relationship. Lines were drawn. More lines were drawn. Differences were highlighted and my opinions were slighted. The signals of lovelessness were getting stronger and bolder. I felt I was almost becoming a burden for him, and probably, my weight was hurting him.


As we entered our tenth year, I was told how worthless I was, and day by day, I saw my worthlessness burgeon exponentially. I was a singer, although a completely unknown one, except for the few jingles I sang for the world. I started singing since I was six, but I never wanted to make a career out of it until now. Just about two years ago when I decided to give music undivided attention, my voice was an element of praise for my husband, when we still had it in us. I was his arm candy when he proudly introduced me as a singer in his circles.

I loved being his arm candy. I wanted to be his arm candy. I found solace in being his arm candy.

Gradually, the sweetness of the candy had transmogrified into something bitter. I was no longer his pride, and I craved for those words ‘Meet my wife, Meera. She is a singer.’ My expectations died when, once at a party hosted by his friend whom I had never met, I was not even introduced as the wife. The part about the singer was beyond the horizon. I got off the car, followed him blindly, child in tow, only to discover that he had moved ahead and already joined the party. I stood, lost and hoping to be introduced as his wife. The host came in later and asked me ‘Ma’am, are you with someone?’


I pointed out on our way back that he didn’t take me along out of spite. We had had a fight that morning. He said he forgot to introduce me.

As days and months passed, I could feel his spite against me rising within him. He would warp my words and disbelieve me. He’d brush everything off as worthless. The harder I tried to have him believe me, the harder I failed. I could feel a lump in my throat getting bigger and bigger because I wanted to talk to him about everyday things. Just like we talked earlier.

‘You know, you never behaved like this with me. What can I do to change our lives?’ I asked him one night.

‘Stop talking trash Meera,’ he said to me.

I stopped talking. I didn’t want to feel like I talked trash. I did not talk trash.

That morning, sitting with the mug of sweetened ginger tea, when I was told not to be psychologically dependent, I noticed the cracks turning extremely vivid and showing their ugly face in our relationship. Tiny cracks, seemingly innocuous, had gradually deepened their roots with serpentine moves and appeared at the surface now.

Days passed and we would not talk. I knew how much he had started to despise me. I looked back at me and all I saw was this battered woman, devoid of worth, only the bare bones that extracted self-pity. What had I done to myself?

My life moved on. Every weekday I waited for my little child to come back from school and talk to me. I spoke to him more than ever. He never told his mother that she talked trash. He never told her that she was worthless.

When the child slept off in the night, I’d listen to the silence around or mostly cry. I was eroding the mountain of pain in me, everyday, one rock at a time, hoping to see sunshine behind this mountain.

I was wrong. Sunshine refused to emerge from beyond. I was thrust into neck deep darkness another morning when he pointed out I was doing nothing for him.
‘What exactly are you doing Meera? Tell me,’ he demanded.

‘I’m singing, and I’m trying to establish myself as a singer,’ I pleaded.

‘Singing is a passion. It is not a profession. You are simply following a passion and mistaking it for a job. It does not bring in money,’ he rebuked.

‘I’m trying. It will take time,’ I said.

‘You need to work,’ he replied.

‘I’m already managing the home,’ I argued. ‘Do you need help in household finances?’ I asked.

‘No, we have enough money. But I want you to work,’ he said.

‘Can I ask for one more year to pursue music? If nothing comes out by next year, I will pick up a job,’ I said.

‘You are just not doing anything. You are not willing to help the family at all. What’s the point in living together if you can’t earn for the family?’ he said. Then he picked up his bag and walked away.

His words rang in me. They didn’t stop ringing. If I didn’t earn money, there was no point in living together with him. With my husband. With my married husband.
I stopped him.

‘I’m bringing up the child. That is one of the most important things I can do in my life. I’m spending time with him. Isn’t that valuable to you?’ I asked.
‘Children grow up anyway,’ he retorted.

‘You mean a mother who gives all her time to a child does not add any value to the child’s life? Maybe we can just hire a nanny because the child will anyway grow up. Do you really mean to say that I am so worthless?’ I cried.

He walked out.

I could see it clearly that I had to bring in money to be able to live in my house. Unsure what to do and with this sudden change of circumstances, I was at a loss of thoughts. I had to find a job. What if he really threw me out of the house? I feared he would ask me to leave.

I checked my bank accounts and covered my face with my hands. I cried like a maniac. I hid myself in my cocoon and looked for that one little show of love that could tell me ‘Hey, it’s all right. It will be fine.’

‘Foolish Meera! Looking for love in an empty heart!’ I reproached myself.

‘Ma, he doesn’t love me anymore. He told me there’s no point in living together if I could not provide for the family,’ I burst out crying one afternoon.

‘It is just a phase Meera. Get over it,’ Ma said.

‘How long does a phase last Ma? A week? A month? Or a year?’ I asked.

‘How long is it lasting for you my girl?’ Ma asked.

‘More than a year,’ I replied.

‘I told you darling, you get married where you want to, and you got to take care of yourself,’ Ma said.

I felt the slap on my face.

‘Thanks Ma,’ I hung up.


I had reached a point of no-return, the one and only missile parents launch at girls who marry according to their choice.

The next few months we had disagreements, a million of them, some spurred by external factors, some sprang from within. Each time we had a fierce tiff, he would stop talking to me. For days on end. I screamed within wanting to be understood, to be felt, to be heard, and to be loved. But my screams remained silent and unheard.

I stopped singing. For three months, I nursed myself, my injured self, and brought together the disjointed pieces of me that lay here and there. When I looked into the mirror, I could never find the real girl inside of me. The person who looked back had an unfamiliar cold stare, a hollowed sense of existence.
That was me. Yes.

Often I cried until a lot of me turned dry inside, and tears refused to appear. When crying didn’t help, I turned rebellious. I fought for myself and defended myself. But soon, the rebel inside of me got tired. It turned stoic.

My ossified heart put me in a stronger place because I could think and act with rational discretion, and not out of sorrow. I knew I had to look for a real job.
While for these three months, I was completely out of sync with my creative self, I worked with renewed spirit. With unsure fingers, I typed out and created a new Meera on paper.

I started applying for jobs everywhere hoping for a fresh lease of life and prepared myself for prospective work.

My creative spirits remained abandoned. I had stopped singing because I didn’t want to ferment the atmosphere at home. That part of me that loved music and singing almost

withered without care. I could feel my creative energies dying a slow death while deadly termites gnawed at me ever so slowly I saw the dust of me emerging and spreading on the floor.

One day, I looked at our old photos. Photos of our wedding. Photos that screamed of post-marriage love and happiness. In one of them, we held hands before the holy fire that burned before us while we looked into each other’s eyes. Yes, I remembered that moment of bliss when the fire twigs crackled while we desperately wanted to run away from the tiring celebrations and be with each other.

How happy we were!

That day, fueled by an uproar of warm tender energies, I penned a poem. A love poem. I wrote it, and then I read it. Then I laughed at the irony of it. A loveless woman writing love poems.
The next day, I wrote another poem, one that was pregnant with love but bursting with the sorrow that love brings on the side.

Days followed, and while my music still suffered, I wrote a poem every single day. Somehow, a pen and paper set free the pain that had been stifled within. That lost sense of existence found a home. I knew I was rebuilding my anchor, and this time, I would keep it within me. As I wrote more and more love poems to nourish my creative energies and my lovelorn heart, I was building myself up again. I was gathering my pieces and healing myself. I felt cathartic when I released my pent up emotions through rhymed words. Could I also start healing up our injured love?

One of these afternoons when I kept myself engrossed in looking for jobs and also writing love poems on the side, I decided to send a fresh poem to my husband. ‘For you,’ I wrote in the subject line. My heart fluttered when I saw the confirmation that my email was sent. Would he trash it? Would he read it?
He came back home that night and did not mention anything about my poem.

The next day I sent him another poem and received an unexpected reply. He had liked it.

Everyday for the next three weeks, I sent him a poem that my heart wrote out for him. I also signed one email saying ‘-With Love, Meera.’ There were unexplained reasons for my poems, and unseen fountains from where these words sprang, but I knew they were dedicated to our love. My anger, my sorrows had been embalmed with thoughts of love for him.

That night, he came back from work and sat next to me.

‘I’ve been loving your poems Meera. I wait for your email every afternoon. Do you still love me?’ he asked.

Then, in an unanticipated move, he cupped my face in his hands.

‘Why don’t you sing your poems? I’ve been missing your voice,’ he said.

‘I, I don’t know! I don’t feel like singing anymore,’ I replied, unsure how to react. I felt my eyes well up and tears gush out. But I didn’t know if they were tears of joy or of sadness. You can’t really tell between tears that arise from mixed feelings. I couldn’t tell.

‘Hey, but I have some good news,’ I tried to manage a croaky crying voice.

‘What is it?’ he asked.

‘I’ve got an offer from a company. The pay isn’t great, but the job is good enough to give me a fresh outlook in life.’ I replied. ‘Are you happy?’

He lifted my hand and kissed it.

‘Will you forgive me for saying those terrible things to you Meera? I’d love to hear your voice again. Join a job only when you feel ready for it please,’ he said. ‘Can you please forgive me?’

I was quiet.

‘Will you start singing again? Why don’t you add music to your poem and sing it for me now?’ he said.

My eyes wavered with disbelief as he took out a paper from his pocket with my poem hand-written on it!

‘Here is your poem. Turn it into a song. Make it our love song!’ he held me closer to him and planted a kiss on my forehead.

That night he lay on top of me with impassioned desire and kissed me all over. I lay under him, feeling his warm breath and the love that was lost but had found its way back. Here was our love, fractured and dismembered but reunited with poetry. I clasped him with fervour while we remained calm, entwined in each other’s embrace. Like lovers injured and healed. Transformed in love.



Sravani Saha is the author of 'Yes, The Eggplant is a Chicken,' and 'Two Letters of Love,' Sravani writes stories that connect to her reader. In addition, she also writes humor making sure her readers have a great two minutes of time when they are reading her.


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