Aarushi Agrawal’s short story is powerful, moving, and gut-wrenching in the same breath.
There’s a constant beeping. It’s muffled but hard to ignore. She’s standing at the window, smoking a slim cigarette. The sun is pelting down and her light blue kurta clings to her because of humidity that never leaves. The fan is on at its lowest setting. It can’t go any faster, always moving like the echo of a past action. Her back turned to the room, her hands resting on the sill, staring at the life outside.
There’s a tree precisely in her line of vision. It has a tall, thin trunk with a small spurt of leaves at the top, like a skinny boy with a full, curly head of hair. Through the gash on the top, she knows that its growth has been barbarically stunted, like that boy, full of energy, being slapped repeatedly, into submission, silence, into quieting his mind.
A few beads of sweat trickle down her spine.
The day bleeds on. It feels much like yesterday, and tomorrow, she knows, will be the same.