by Pushkar Prabhat
I feel guilty. It’s not like they say, a survivor’s guilt. Actually, I feel guilty for not having that. I can always see it in the eyes of people, pity, and shame. They feel pity, for the obvious tragedy and ashamed, for I survived that tragedy, alone.
I can’t even talk to anyone about this, except a therapist. And for that, I am not ready yet. People tend to approach their family in difficult times but, they are the worst. With others, at least I can get a shimmer of sympathy sometimes but, I can only feel shame coming from them. Even hate, sometimes.
I have even moved, thrice, since the incident. But those eyes, the shame, and pity seem to just shift through bodies, always following me. I understand why, but what I don’t understand is, how almost everyone, everywhere can recognize me. The incident had grabbed the front page. There was weeks of coverage by the news and social media alike. But our, especially my, identities were kept safe. The only people, who saw me, were the police and a few people in the courtroom. I never did interviews. The perpetrators had made a video and circulated around on the internet and social media. But how can these kind people, who took out candle marches and did protests, plays, song and dance tributes, and what not, have all seen that horrible video? How can those same people have kept forwarding that video, until everyone had seen it? Did it never fall into the hands of any sane person who, even after accidentally watching it, said to himself, that this is wrong? And if it did, were such persons so small in number that they couldn’t put a stop to this?
It’s not like it has not affected me. It is not that I have forgotten everything. These people wouldn’t let me forget, even if I wanted to. I was there, right beside her. I was there, witnessing the horrors they did to her, for every horrible minute of it. Believe me, I want to forget. But how can I? It was our last moments together, her last memories. I can never forget.
I can never remember her beautiful smile, without remembering her screams. How can I remember her calling my name without remembering her cries for help? She wasn’t just my love or part of my life. She was my life. I am ashamed to be alive. Maybe, I am afraid to admit but, I am guilty of surviving.
I remember the disappointment in her helpless eyes. I think, I even saw despise. No one is wrong in judging me. I deserve all their hate and shame. She would be ashamed too, to share the victim’s column with me. I am guilty of making her feel that way but, I am too ashamed to die. I am guilty of shame, her shame. I am guilty of her love. I am guilty of my every breath. I am, guilty.
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