“Why won’t you listen to me?”
“You are one to talk!” she said with equal fervor. “Do you ever listen?”
“Can we not go back to this? Every time I point out something, you point out something else. It doesn’t help. Why can’t you understand I am only…”
“Trying to help? I have heard that before. You have been trying to help me for the past twenty-three years! I don’t need your help. I don’t need you to fix me.”
Outraged with the accusation, she said, “I am not trying to fix you! I am telling you that you can be so much more than this. You are wasting your life. You are wasting your potential. You are smarter, braver, more ambitious, more talented…ugh just so much more than what you are settling for. Don’t you see it?”
“All I see is you trying to tell me how to live my life. You did the same thing with Arri and now you are doing the same thing with me. Stop trying to fix people, you don’t know what they have been through! When will you stop?”
“For the love of god! I don’t know? Are you mad?”
There was a scoff, followed by silence. Then crossing her arms she said, “How long are we going to have this conversation? We have had it over and over and over again. This isn’t about Arri, or me trying to fix you or what you are going through. It is about the horrible mistake you are making by not listening to me.”
“And who gave you the right to decide what is good or isn’t good for me? Who are you? What makes you think you are right and I am wrong?
She rolled her eyes, now exasperated. “You moron. You piece of garbage. You are looking in the freaking mirror! You…you gave me the right to speak to you like this.”
Neha stepped back, tears rolling down her face, and the face of her reflection. This was the third rehearsal of a conversation she was supposed to have had three days ago. She had been trying to play out scenarios and best responses in order to be prepared but no matter what approach she took, it always ended in tears, screams and dejection.
The problem wasn’t the news but the way that news would be received. She knew her mother would be disappointed. The rehearsals were not to battle that disappointment.
The rehearsals were to ensure Neha would stay true this one time (because really, this one was crucial, everything before was meaningless and everything after would become meaningless if she didn’t stand firm)…this one time she could not give in to her mother’s better judgment but her judgment and what she saw fit.
But how was she to battle someone who was as sure of their position as you were of yours? How was she to fight decades of repeated behaviour of giving in, of allowing herself to be fixed, of allowing someone to be her knight…and worst of all…becoming a damsel in the process?
She looked in the mirror again. Her reflection looked battered, like it was indeed asking to be fixed. But there was steel in her eyes. The bruises, though invisible, were her armor. She would do this…for herself…for once she will be a knight.
For December, I will be writing stories based on prompts I have gotten from friends, family, friends of friends and some generous people on Twitter. Thank you Astha for this prompt.