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We stayed with each other, rarely exchanging a syllable. The silence was comfortable because the words we spoke were harsh and cruel. Our relationship knew no other treatment. His screams silenced me, my anger kept him quiet. If neither of us were shouting, it was cause we weren’t talking. And honestly, I think our kids, non-identical twins, preferred our silence. They charged to their rooms when they felt the tempers rise. The atmosphere at home had never been warm or welcoming. I am positive the children are messed up. One cannot be wholesome, rounded in such an environment. We had no one to blame but ourselves if this was true. The arguments weren’t earth shattering but were a constant. Matter of fact, they were always petty. The kids once saw him raise his hand; he only stopped because he heard a whimper from Sneha. Even then, Rajeev had stood stoically without a sound. I had always wondered what examples his father had set for him. Hopefully, he wouldn’t treat his partner this way.

A few years ago, both the children had moved out. To me, they remained kids despite turning 21. But they had found jobs, become independent and started living by themselves. I got calls from both of them but neither of them ever visited us. I was reluctant to let them leave the house before marriage but I preferred they stayed far away from this nonsense. I hoped they kept in touch with each other and their father too.

It had not crossed my mind to leave him, too. I had given in to a life of anger and misery. The pain I felt persistently, I was able to dismiss as inconsequential. His violence wasn’t damaging. It wasn’t physical or quantifiable. He brought home money each day. So, he shouted a little and threw stuff around. I couldn’t quite convince myself my reaction was valid. I had no real motivation to leave him.┬áIt didn’t occur to me to set myself free. I was poor and financial independence was a long shot. Yet, it was achievable. But, the battles to leave him and with that the marriage would not be easy. This thought dissuaded me from trying. So I stayed in that house and tolerated him for 28 years of my life. And I still do.