“Masked Smiles: Burdened Hearts”

Dia Bhattarai

Sweetie, are you sure you want to stay home? You can come along if you want to.” he said.

“No Dad. I’ll stay here. I’ll be fine, you don’t worry about me. Enjoy the function,” she answered.

“Okay, take care then. I’ll probably be back by the end of tomorrow. I’m leaving. It’s already   late as it is. Bye honey.” he said.

“Bye Dad. Take care. I love you.”

He got into the car and left. She kept staring at the car until it vanished through the woods. He got there late night. Extremely tired, he fell asleep as soon as his legs were off the ground. The next morning, he texted her, asking how she was, but she never replied. With no hint of what had happened to his daughter, he happily attended the function and returned home. As he walked into the house, what he saw inside was his heart shattered into pieces.

There she was, hanging on the ceiling. Lifeless and breathless, the body had turned all purple and pale. Panicking, he called the neighbors and took the body off the ceiling. He was crying, clueless of what had happened, because there was not a single reason he could think of why committed suicide. He thought about how she was smiling when he last saw her. Little did he know how many secrets were hiding behind the vary smile. At the funeral, he wished his daughter the last goodbye.

A few days later, he happened to enter into her room. There, his anxious sight fell into a letter kept on the bed, and there also laid a blood-stained knife together with the letter .

It read;

Dad, I’m a criminal. I murdered someone. Yes, I murdered someone. With the knife you see next to this letter. Do you remember? When I was a kid, you would always sit in front of the television and tell me about how people never get justice in our country. I gave justice to myself, Dad.

 After you flew out, a lot of things happened. I was raped. That person almost killed me but I managed to escape. When I reported the incident to the police, they were more interested in finding out why I was outside during the night and what I was wearing than knowing specifics about that brute.  It broke me inside. Everyone in the society looked me down from that particular incidence. Even my friends started gossiping about me. I lost everyone. I was unattended at he time when I needed their support the most.

But I decided not to tell you, because you were already in the pain of losing Mom. I overcame the suffering, all alone. Eventually, I had already forgotten about it until yesterday, when I went to the supermarket to pick up some things and saw a person strangely walking behind a girl towards the exit door. When I saw his face, I almost passed out. That face—how could I forget it? It was the same face that made me suffer all those social tortures and hate. It was the same face that tried to kill me after violently raping me. That very same face, which kept me depressed for months.  The same face, due to which, I got social anxiety, panic attacks. The same face, which gave me a lifetime trauma. How could I forget?

That girl took a glance at me and I could immediately see a sense of fear in her eyes. As if those eyes were pleading, “Please help me. Please.” When I took a closer look, I saw that person pointing a gun at her back. Without wasting any time further, I followed him with a knife in my hand from the aisle, then without a second thought,  I stabbed him. I could’ve got him arrested easily. But what would the police do? Probably take a few hundred thousand from his family and bail him out. No, he didn’t deserve to live freely. After all, it was the same police that asked me several unnecessary questions when I was filing a complaint about my rape. I couldn’t trust the justice system of our country, so I killed him. Yes, Dad.  I intentionally killed him. I saved that girl, and many other girls who could have been his victims, like I was. I gave her justice, to myself, and all of his victims.

Yes, I know that me getting rid of one person, isn’t going to change the world, Dad. Yes, I know there are still hundreds of thousands of people like him roaming around freely.

But still, I saved that girl’s life. And I’m proud of myself. The cops are probably looking for me right now. And I’d rather kill myself than to be the next topic of discussion in this society again. Because I know I killed that person for a good reason, you do too, but they don’t. It would be fine if I was the only one getting looked down on. But I don’t want people to look at you the same. You were right. The society will never change. Tell them I killed myself due to some kind of love failure or something. Sorry, I could never make you proud of me. I love you. Goodbye, Dad.

                                                                                                                    Your dearest princess

Reading the letter, he burst into tears. He was both sad and proud at moment. After hearing the doorbell ring, he hurriedly controlled his tears and walked towards the door. Two of the neighbors were standing right outside. One of them shouted, “Did you watch the news?”

“No. Why?”

“Turn on the television”

“The victim of yesterday’s murder case turned out to be a world-class human trafficker. Government has decided to award the killer.” the headline read.

He turned towards his daughter’s picture on the wall and murmured, “Proud of you.”