Derailed by Vaishnavi Kamal Prasad


Art by Marina Marinksy


"What did you say to him?"


My mother tugged at my arm, expecting an answer; and her fingers brushed against the uneven railroad tracks on my wrist. Her fingers derailed like trains crash when they run on poorly constructed tracks. She shuddered and I instinctively pulled my arm back.


Earlier that evening, she had met with two teachers of mine who told her that I needed to see a therapist. I had tried reaching out by talking to one of them, and he had suggested that I indirectly let my parents know about this. I was not allowed to witness the meeting, but I couldn't have controlled any of the damage by being present anyway; so my absence made no difference. "What did you say to him?" I took a deep breath and tried to brace myself for the chaos that was about to ensue. 


"I said that I no longer feel like living."


She gave me a long, empty stare as these words fell on her ears, and perhaps lingered for a moment there, before shattering her soul. She made a heavy effort to get up and slowly walked back to her room. I followed her and watched her lie down on the bed. She started crying inconsolably and I was certainly not in a position to say anything, possibly for many weeks to come.


"When you were a kid, I once had an ugly fight and stormed out of the house. I didn't know where to go but my feet took me to a railway track. The only thing that made me come back was the compelling thought of you and your sister."


Railtracks; where it all started and where it all ended...railtracks carved on my hand. I sank to the floor at the foot of the bed. Nothing had ever made sense, but this was an addition to all the things I couldn't comprehend. I started to phase out her voice. The coldness of the floor was seeping into me, turning my bones cold. I was slowly going numb.


I wanted her to go numb too; that would be better than burning in so much pain, pain that I gifted her. Dusk was lingering around us. And somewhere, far away, a train was whistling.


Follow Vaishnavi's writing here.

 
 

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