Sitting there and listening to her struggle had eased my anger by now. But my curiosity was yet to be quenched; I posed another question “So you exchanged your freedom with me?”
“Yes I had planned it that way. But things didn’t turn out according to what I had thought to be. That day I walked out with the packet he had handed to me, with a dream of a clean and peaceful life, not knowing what awaited for me. As I stepped out of the slum Rahim’s men kidnapped me and took me to another brothel. So I was back to the same shit, only thing new was the place and set of people around me.”
“How did you manage to get out?”
“I would say my luck helped me, it was my health that helped me out of that inferno. Diagnoses of Hepatitis scared the owner there and I could easily walk out….of course I managed to get rid of the blessed disease. That is when I came to know that I was two months pregnant. I came here to start a new life with Rea. Now I have a reason to live for. ”
She was the victim to my creator, and that put me in the dilemma whether to hate her or pity her, thought I had not wronged her but my predecessor had. I didn’t blame her in taking pleasure in hurting me, as I felt the same way when new girls had to go through the suffering that I had to. I watched her silently.
Breaking the silence she spoke up “Rita whatever brought you here, I don’t want to know, but I suggest you don’t go back dear. Stay with us; we can live a better life together.”
I did not speak
“Don’t go back Rita” she spoke again looking at me.
“I want to meet my parents…can you take me there?”
She gave me a baffled look.
Reading her look I made my point. “I know you are confused, Now that I have all the answers I want to meet them, at least once, may be for the last time.”
She looked at me with her brows furrowed and spoke “I don’t know whether he still live there or not, but I can take you to that place.”
To conceal my identity from Rahim’s men she disguised me as a male and smuggled me out of that place. And on the fourth day we reached my destination; the place I was born. I was thrilled with the thought to see my parents for the first time, yet nervous thinking on how would they react. But Melissa was neither thrilled nor excited she was rather haunted by her grisly past which did not allow her to go back to the place that had ravaged her childhood.
I stood before his house; the same house where I was supposed to grow in, but fate didn’t agree to it. Giving me no time to reflect upon my ‘would have been life’, I saw a young boy of around fourteen years of age coming outof the house, grabbed his bike and rode off, without noticing me behind the tree. This young lad had a face that was not new to me, a face that resembles someone, someone I couldn’t recall but gave me a chill. As my sight shifted back to the house the man of the house was out, sat reading with his face buried into the newspaper.
“Dad” a drop of despair trickled down my cheek. My excitement redoubled to see him there. The next moment when he unleashed the paper before him to take a sip from his cup, and the face that unveiled before me made my head spin and a frisson of disgust smothered me.
A silent prayer came from me “Oh God, Not this man, please God…. not this man. He can’t be my father” I felt a hand over my shoulder. I was relieved to see Melissa, who fought her fear and kicking back her agony came over for me. She confirmed “he is your father.” I clenched to her and broke down. Never before had she seen me this way, I was shivering in my ice cold my body and my heart was heavily throbbing in my chest. I cried out “No, Not him, he can’t be my father.”
That face sheared through my soul, taking me back to the night, eight years back when he was groaning with pleasure and I was floundering to get away from his grip. The infinite agony of that night came back to my mind.
We both walked in silence.