“She has gone.” He sobbed.
“Did you ever raise your hands on her?” she asked softly. There was no answer. “Did you hurt her anytime?” she repeated. He lay his head on the table, his face ensconced within his arms. “Yes”, his voice a barely audible whisper.
Somehow that single admission changed the whole perspective. The issue had become “Abuse” now. Appearances could be so deceptive; she thought. This man sitting in front seemed so vulnerable and broken.
Why did this change everything? She was aware that mere words could sometimes inflict deeper wounds than physical abuse. Yet resorting to violence especially against your spouse sounded so bestial.
What is it that provokes a person to raise their hands to inflict injury on another? Among the lower strata of society, the act needed minimum provocation. It was a way of life and neither the perpetrator nor victim let it disrupt routine life. Perhaps that included routine.
However, in the so called cultured, sophisticated society, the terminology and connotations were different. What goes wrong in a relationship, especially one that had been forged through love and passion? When and how does hatred, contempt creep in? How does the layers of feeling get eroded and frayed over the years? When does the equation get reduced to such a level that one stoops to using physical strength with scant respect to one’s spouse? Mere instinct? Just uncontrollable rage? A level of complacence?
She could not judge. She did not know the whole story. She had known them individually, and both were such good persons. But together, they turned out wrong for each other. Who would’ve imagined? And violence? She couldn’t even believe it. Just goes to show that one could never fathom humans or relationships. She felt helpless and desolate thinking of her two friends trapped in matrimony.