Far from a Fairytale

Dec 27, 2012 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Fiction

By Namrah Saeed

Once upon a time I was sitting on a tree; I sat there listening to the gentle rustle of leaves as a cool breeze blew by. I sat there thinking, breathing deeply, trying to figure out my thoughts, trying to make sense of what my life had become.

Before you read on I’d like to warn you, this story here is no fairytale. In fact it is far from it. My life has been nothing short of a nightmare. Why then, did I start off with “once upon a time” like one of those old bookish fairytales? Because, all my life I have lived in pandemonium; the rat’s nest that I was forced to call my home, ripped out my heart, filled it with asphalt and left me feeling numb from inside. It is like watching a tragic play unfold before your eyes. I am a third person observer of my own life. I can no longer feel anything. I live in a world of imagination that my mind created a long time ago to shut out the horrors I had to face. What is real? What is fantasy? I can no longer tell the difference. I live on the borders of reality.

My doctors use the terms ‘defense mechanism’, ‘depressive state’, ‘abused’, ‘battered woman’s syndrome’, ‘abandonment issues’, ‘severe hallucinations and delusions of reality’ to diagnose my so-called “condition”. I say that is all just rubbish!

I blame my “condition” on my parents who abandoned me when I was just a baby. Over the years I was handed down from orphanage to orphanage, foster parent to foster parent until I finally landed with ‘Ma’ (as I was made to call her) at the tender age of seven. It was then that the abuse began.

At first it wasn’t much, a cigarette burn here and there, maybe a knife slash once in a while, or a couple staples in the arm. Sometime Ma would forget to feed me for a couple of days. I always managed to handle myself. But then, it got worse…one day Ma told me I was ‘of age’ now and should start behaving like a proper woman, and a proper woman pleases her man. The first time she introduced one of her regular customers to me, I resisted when he attempted to touch me. I was punished that night. I had lost Ma good money and as a result she beat me with her cane into unconsciousness. The next day, I knew better than to resist. But this time Ma didn’t want to take any chances. She forced one of her pills down my throat, had me wash it down with a tall glass of whiskey; she said it would “calm my nerves”. Then I was sent to my room with four of her regular customers. It all became routine after that: wash down a pill with a glass of alcohol, guide the men to my room, hand the money to Ma, take a beating, and prepare for the next day.

Exactly how and when I was rescued from that bedlam and brought here is still a haze. I can’t seem to remember. I guess it’s due to the recurring blackouts those pills began causing. Ironically, bare white walls, a single stretcher with white sheets, a glass of water, a box of tablets, terrible food, daily injections and therapy in this new place I am supposed to call home is meant to make me feel better. But it doesn’t. It doesn’t stop those shadows on the walls, those voices in my head, the feeling of pain; both physical and emotional; it doesn’t bring back my robbed innocence; it doesn’t erase those horrid memories.

So today, I finally gathered the courage to step out of that room, that cage that keeps me locked up with all those painful sensations of the past. I simply opened the window and stepped out. I was free.

Here I am sitting on a tree right outside my room window. All my life I have looked for an opportunity to live out a fairytale; a world void of cruelty, inhumanity and horror. Today I finally have the chance to leave this world and move on to the world I dream of. Tears filled my eyes and streamed down my cheeks. With that I let go of the branch I was perched upon and fell, cracking my skull on the ground twenty feet below; a smile plastered upon my face.

And that, was my happily ever after.

The Author

To promote the importance of literature in day to day life, to encourage the study of literature and to collaborate with societies abroad and within Pakistan who share the same views. To appreciate the mere existence of the literary word, to preserve its essence and to invite young individuals to a world that only literature can open up.

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1 Comment + Add Comment

  • Wow, that literally brought tears to my eyes. It was really good, hard to imagine what some people face in this cruel world and no justice is given to them. Thank you for this, its not only a very deep and touching story, i wouldn’t really call it a story as its also a reality, it teaches people not to judge others, you don’t know what they’ve had to face in their life. Everyone has a story but very few know of it. Great job.

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