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the Woman who Tried

7 Jun

There was once a young woman. It was her nature to try hard. She tried hard at everything, work, relationships, family. She fretted over the tiniest of things. Her friends frequently forgot to invite her out. Her boyfriend lied. Her family pushed her efforts away and work… work never even looked up from its desk.

There is a straw in the universe for every camel.

One night, the straw with her name on it landed lightly on the young woman’s back. So lightly did it land, the woman didn’t notice its presence at first. She only knew that she couldn’t get up from bed the next day. Her body felt like a slab of dead meat. The rank stench of her life hovered over her, and the stench was as thick as a wall of chilled London smog.

How long she lay there she didn’t know, but lay she did, by herself, on her back, so long that her heavy limbs lost sensation against the anonymous contours of the bed, and she hovered into the stench of her life, that stench that was as much of her making as it was of her friends, family or lover, perhaps … (dare she say it?) more. The remnants of a deep, aching sadness flowed out through her eyes, nose, beat her chest into a hollow, thrummed against her head till her head wished it could explode.

She lay there her every waking hour; every hour turned to minutes, turned to seconds, turned to heartbeats. Slow, slow heartbeats that made an oddly comforting, full ‘dhumph’ inside, and every dhumph held a promise of redemption. Her whole universe shrank, contracted into her, into this dhumph, the only thing within that was alive and whole inside, until it filled her entire being, and was the only thing she felt.

Day passed into night, and night passed her by, this young woman lying in a pool of her own making, with a stench she could slip a leash on and call Bobo. The night passed her by, and with it her needs, evaporating in the first light of dawn, high up in a blue scudded sky. The need to make a difference in her family, the need to be employed, the need to turn the table on an ailing relationship, and the need to go out of her way to meet people who never even called.

She was leached clean.

When she rose next, she was ordinary. A shrunken social circle, the blessedness of singlehood, a family left to its own unique follies, and yes, some form of employment. There was a remarkable ordinariness to all these things, these things that were supposed to feel new but didn’t, perhaps because they were meant to be. Perhaps they were already there, waiting and watching in the wings, waiting for excesses to be shucked off.

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Japleen Pasricha

Founder of Feminism In India. Feminist. Activist. Educator. Traveller

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