Saturday, April 14, 2012

Susan's grin

She got up with a start when she heard a car drive in. She did not know how long she was lying prostrated before her husband’s grave. The grief of sudden separation was heavy on her heart and the loneliness was killing her. It was exactly six months he died and she came here with a bunch of flowers. She spent long time crying and lost in the thoughts of the happy days spent together though for a brief period

It was as if the terrible accident took place only the other day. It changed her life topsy-turvy. She lost her husband and two month old baby in it though she escaped with minor injuries. A speeding car in the adjacent lane lost control and swerved towards their car. Her husband to avoid the collision turned sharply to the other side and hit the divider. That car crashed into hers. She heard there was casualty in the other car too. Whatever it may be, the driver had no business to drive so fast as to lose control and cause death to innocent persons. Her anger had not subsided though she had not followed up due to the pain of loss and her own injury.

As she was getting up from the spot opposite the grave , she heard a shrill cry of a small infant and she turned towards the car. She saw a young man in late twenties struggling with a small baby girl of say eight months in one hand and trying to take out something from inside the car. It was dusk and the sun was going down fast it seemed. There was hardly anyone. She rushed to him and offered to hold the baby. He hesitated for a moment when he saw her swollen eyes turned red by crying and then when the infant’s cry became hysterical, she virtually snatched it from him. May be the softness of her arms or the gentleness with which she was holding the baby stopped crying instantly. It looked at her face and broke into a smile.

She walked behind him to the grave. He looked at it and walked around feeling the marble structure with gentle care. He kept the wreath and looked at it for a long time with tears in her eyes. She did not know whom he was grieving for but desisted from asking. When it was time to leave, he extended his arms to take back the baby but the baby clung to her and started crying when he tried to take the infant.

She said “It is o.k. I will hold her for some more time. It is funny she has got attached to me so soon.I am Susan Mathai”

Thank you, Susan. I am John Sebastian. I lost my wife in an accident and struggling ever since with this girl. I have employed a nanny but the baby would not accept her. I work from home thanks to the understanding employers. Where do you live? I can drop you on my way” he said

It was with difficulty he wrenched the child from her. She felt sorry for the baby and was drawn to it. She said “You may leave it with me in the day time. I am alone and would love to be with infant”. He was touched and promised to do so whenever he found a need.

The next morning itself he came with the baby and said “She hasn’t stopped crying whole night. I could not sleep even for a few minutes. Give me a ring any time to this number I will take the baby.”
When he left she took the baby to her bedroom and could not stop the urge to nurse the infant. She stopped crying and soon started smiling. This became a daily ritual. John and Susan became friends as he started coming frequently. One day he came in a different car. “Is this new?” she asked.

“No, the old one was involved in the accident. It has undergone major repair and overhaul” he said. She mentally noted the number.

It seemed to her that he was getting drawn to her and found some pretext using the baby to be with her. She found him decent but was in no mood to think along romantic lines as the grief in her for her hubby was overwhelming and fresh. After he left she took her diary where she had noted the number of the vehicle and found to her utter shock, it was the same vehicle that ruined her life. In an instant she developed an hatred for him and wished he were dead as her husband was. But her feelings for the baby remained unaltered and she wished it was with her ever.

The next day when John came, she tried her best to disguise her feelings of loathing for him. But he was shrewd and said ”Hey Susan, aren’t you well? You seem a little out of sorts.”

“No, nothing of that sort. Just some headache” she replied.

“Then let us go to the restaurant and go to the terrace, have the panoramic view of the cliff and the lake below, have fresh air and dinner before we come back” he suggested.

They strolled around the restaurent, went up the terrace. The wind was blowing fast and it was exciting and all fun till the accident occurred. When they were watching the landscape below, he tripped and fell over the low railing.

Susan with a smug grin walked down the stairs unhurried with the baby in her arms, her own henceforth.


  1. revenge taken, he too seemed to be place for understanding it seems...

  2. Story is like a movie.." he tripped and fell over the low railing." , so she dint push him down, still she was happy abt it. strange...

  3. Is this story one sided KP? Susan grieves, true, but Sebastian too would have grieved...he too lost someone close. What if he held Susan's husband responsible for his wife's death???And was he unaware that she was the widow of the man whose car he had crashed into???

    1. I agree with @Cloud nine...

      KP uncle.. reply ..:)

  4. The wrath of a woman has more potency and severity?

  5. Agree completely with Cloud Nine KP uncle! Susan is selfish, one she wants the child, refrains from sharing the facts and thinks of her grief only. Even Sebastien was in grief, his intent was not wrong.

  6. This is not eye for an eye. What John did was an accident but hers was a cold blooded murder. Cannot justify that. She is a criminal. She made the child and orphan and stole the baby too.

  7. Hmmm....I agree with Cloud Nine and Unknown! I think you better give an explanation here, Partha Sir!!!

  8. oh! this piece shook me up!

    love the new colors on your blog ... the red and black combination

  9. I was hoping for a love story! What a twist !!

  10. The story has evoked strong reactions.Pramoda and Sandhya feel that an explanation from me would be in order. For many Susan seems to be a villain, selfish, cold blooded murderer and even a thief. Let us analyze the story.
    John drove his car rashly at reckless speed endangering not only himself and his family but finally was responsible for the death of two innocent lives travelling in another car in another lane
    He ruined the life of Susan by his failure to follow the rules of the road besides being the cause of his wife’s death. In the eyes of law he is an accused. Susan’s rage against him is a natural human reaction against someone who shattered her life, willful or accidental. Otherwise how do you explain the killings in road rages?
    Susan was a compassionate woman readily offering to help John when she was not aware of his identity and even went to the extent of nursing the baby.
    It was only when she came to know the identity of john thro the car number that she started hating him. Even when she went out with him, she had no design to kill him. It was when he was near the edge of terrace an overpowering anger of a wronged mom and wife that came over presumably to nudge him over the railing. We have no proof that she really pushed him. May be he might have craned his neck and fell on his own.The story is not explicit on this aspect.
    But her smug grin at what she considered the poetic justice for his rash act cannot be faulted. She did not steal the baby. It was with John and her and when deprived of the father she took the natural step of taking the baby with her.
    Many would have liked a happy ending with Susan and John finding comfort in each other’s arms but this story was different. Different strokes, different people as they say.

    1. Though you have tried giving some explanation I do not agree with it. A lady who loathes a man, especially one who has been the cause of her family'e death, would never go out with him unless she had an ulterior motive, which explains the cold blooded part in my comment. And a woman like this could never be compassionate. As for the woman being angry, that is justified. But taking law into her own hands makes her a criminal. She is no better than him. Now she is guilty of killing the family of the baby. So is this cycle going to continue.....!

    2. This is simply a short story. If it were a paperback novel there would be no questions to be asked in here. Because the author or writer of the novel would have put together a most convincing narrative replete with the necessary details of characters, events, motivation, background, and drama.

      Short stories, on the other hand, have its limitations and is open to interpretations as it engages its readers to further probe or explore vicariously.... something which, admittedly, is part of its charm.

      That is where you most often succeed in your short stories.... to tickle or titillate your readers with possibilities or interpretations. The 'why', 'how', or 'what-if', 'is it or is it not', 'did he or did he not' ...... you leave to them to plot or explore.

      Keep writing. Good job.
      Blessings to you and your family

  11. I was expecting a twist as usual down the line… like it was a dream or something….
    But ahaa… it was not to be…

  12. Namaste........
    This story is something, though I can say many things I remain with this. It begs the questions, does two wrongs make a right and though her actions seems justified, is it?

    Have a blessed day.

  13. The discussion here is becoming interesting!

    This story can never have a happy ending. Susan can never forgive her husband and baby's killer. But killing the man means, as Unknown has said she will be guilty of killing the family of the baby.

    But a happy ending will not be an interesting end for the story.

  14. It was good but i didn't like the end mistakes can be done by any person..No one does an accident willingly..I think killing him was bit cruel..

  15. very interesting..couldnt stop till finishing the last line..though its not acceptable..!

    Tasty Appetite

  16. I felt the end was cruel too. But, it is a story, and I love it that your stories can be unexpected.

  17. I liked the way story is put.. The interpretation is left to the reader. Susan heroine/villain? I would rate her as a villain.

  18. The Story can have many interpretations. It all depends on which angle the readers reads it from.