This story was written for my Book Club’s short story competition and won second place.
Anaya smiled as she laid her son in his cradle. She had come a long way. Smiling as she sung her baby a lullaby, she thought back to the time when she was afraid to be left alone with her child in fear of what harm she may bring to little Shani.
“You’re not ready, love.” Mohsin, her husband, would say. Listening to those words was a figurative slap but deep in her heart she knew that was not his intention.
Almost a year ago, she was in an accident due to which Shani was born pre-maturely and she had lost her sight. As she had cradled her baby, tears streamed down her face and darkness surrounded her. Anaya had craved to see her little boy she had been preparing to welcome. Mohsin had always been there. Helping her feed the baby and change his clothes. Never leaving the two alone.
When they had returned home from the hospital and walked in, Anaya had felt like a stranger. She had no idea where to turn and what was where. Gingerly she had taken a step and had walked into a table. Tears springing to her eyes were of helplessness rather than of physical pain.
Holding her hand, Mohsin had helped her to their bedroom and in their bed. Handing over the baby, he stood vigilant over them. Though the idea was not totally welcome, she was grateful for being married to such a caring man.
A week after returning home, she had ventured in the kitchen to cook something for him, with his aid of course, but ended up cutting her finger.
“I am good for nothing. I can do nothing,” she had ranted as he tended her wound.
“Shh…,” he tried consoling her. “It is just a phase and you will be back to being the resourceful woman you are.”
“I am such a failure,” she was adamant, “and one day you will stop loving me. Will be tired of me.”
“That day will never come. I will always love you my special woman.”
His encouragement gave her hope and she started learning everything anew. She learnt her home using the senses left to her; all of them sharper than before. She gained confidence as she started taking care of Shani even when Mohsin was not around to guide her.
There were times when she would get panic attacks, especially after she made blunders or hurt someone unknowingly, but her husband helped her out of the dark pit and made her trust herself again.
Almost a year later, she not only took care of her home and her baby, but had also started working again. She writes. She knows the keyboard. She would type her stories during the day and Mohsin proofread them all. There used to be typos to begin with but with time they reduced to almost being non-existent.
She was brought out of her musings by the sound of boots on marble.
“You’re back.” She said as she turned around. Her husband’s unique smell filling her nostrils.
He took her in his arms and whispered, “Man always comes back home.”