A horrifying scream from his daughter’s room woke him up, he rushed to her room seeing her being raped by two masked men. Suddenly, he was hit on the head.
He stared at the ceiling for hours waiting for the alarm clock to ring. Relieved that it was a dream but terrified at the same time as it was too frightful and gruesome. He couldn’t stop thinking about it, yet wanted to forget it at the same time. Then, as the clock struck 7, he went to his daughter’s room to wake her up for school. After she was gone, he decided to ditch work that day and waited for her to return. He started to look back upon his life and regretted on how he had not paid that much attention to his daughter after his wife’s death, and thought about how her treatment expenditure had them drown in debt, and then how after her death he didn’t have the time for emotions. He worked day and night and now they were finally out of the debt trap, but there was this mark burnt deep inside him that somehow “he has failed as a father” and he was filled with remorse for ignoring her daughter’s feelings and not being there to support her and after a year passed since his wife’s death, they had gotten used to living that way. To talk less, and just get the job done. "Just get the job done", he mumbled in despair. Somehow, that day, he had lost his daughter too along with his wife.
He decided to change that today. However, at the same time, he was surprised as to how much that little girl, just 12 years old, had silently endured all this and not uttered a word. “ How did she get through all this ? It wasn’t easy even for him to cope up with the loss “, he wondered.
The bell rang. “Must be her”, he thought. He ran to get the door. She was surprised to find her father at home. She asked, “ What are you doing here? Where is she?” “I told her to take the day off“, he responded. “ Can we go out somewhere today?”. “Sure”, she said reluctantly.
So the two took off, on her way he asked her many questions about her studies, her friends, her life. She didn’t try to ignore her father and calmly responded. Although it had been quite a long time, since they had talked, she didn’t try to make his father feel guilty for how he had not been around that much all this time. She turned on the music in the car.
She had never blamed her father for what he did, she understood him all along. She knew that if he didn’t do what he did, they would be on the streets.
He took her to the place, they often visited when she was little. She remembered how much she loved coming here with her father and how she had completely forgotten about it in all these years.However, she was glad to be here today. She asked him, thinking it would bring back some old memories, “Dad ?, can we have some ice-cream first?”
He recalled, how when she was small, she wanted to have as many flavours as she could get hold of and how afterward, she would fall sick and then how he was scolded by his wife for spoiling her. “Ice-cream it is”, he said, with a smile on his face, remembering the old times.
As he approached the counter, he noticed how nothing has changed at all in six years like this place was stuck in time for all these years. After having ice- cream, they sat on a table and ordered some food.
The voice of her laughing, sounded more pleasant to him than a cuckoo’s chirp. He noticed, how much she resembled her mother now in terms of looks. They both realised how much they missed her and looked back at all the fun times they had together when she was alive.
She said gleefully, “I am really happy we came here” as if she had been for this day.
He then knew that he didn’t have to explain anything to her, that she understood everything already.
They came home tired. He got her bed ready and she was soon fast asleep. He waited till she was asleep and then went to his room and lied down.
Staring at the ceiling, smiling, euphoric he felt. He had felt like this when he talked to his wife for the first time. He still remembered each and every aspect of that conversation, the excitement and the fear he had in his mind, that why would someone so beautiful will ever like a person like him.He tossed and turned in his bed with happiness, relieved that he got his daughter back.
Suddenly a scream woke him up. He stared at an unrecognised dead body. Naked, she lay on the floor like a piece of rotting meat. Scars on her face, blood spread on the floor. He became numb. Just kept on staring at her, he knew her from a half remembered dream.
The first and last are the reality stages and the middle one is the dream.When he was struck on the head, he became unconscious and started dreaming. The dream state signifies what he wished he should have done when he saw his daughter being raped and knew that now they are going to be killed. He wished that he had one day to make things right, but now it is too late.
This thought went to his subconscious mind and he dreamt about it, exactly like he wanted the things to be. The dream stage is based on how he thinks she is still the same today as she was when she was 12, how the place they used to go hasn’t changed at all in six years as you can’t dream of new places you haven’t been, how she still wants to have ice-cream and still likes that place, whereas at 18, her interests have surely changed but as she is the father’s imagination of her daughter, he thinks she is still the obedient little innocent girl, she once was. This signifies that how parents usually are stuck in the past thinking their children haven’t grown at all.
The fact that he doesn’t have to apologise to his daughter also shows that he is dreaming, and everything happens according to his will. Like he didn’t wish to actually say raw words and wanted her daughter to understand without him saying that he was sorry and how he imagines that his daughter has understood why he did what he did to pay the debt and why he had no time to pay attention to her. This also shows how we think in our mind that we are right, whereas there are different versions of being right, some will feel that the father was right, and some that he was wrong.
So,in the dream, everything is like he wishes things to be.
But in reality, the relation with his daughter has worsened beyond repair. His daughter is involved with the wrong people, all these events have somehow led to her rape and murder. The second scream at the end of the story, is of the maid, who enters the house because all doors and locks are broken now as the rapists broke into the house. When he wakes up, he has lost his memory and doesn’t recognise who she is on the floor, she is his daughter. The maid is mentioned when the daughter asks “ Where is she? ( the maid) ” and the father replies that "he has told her(the maid) to take the day off.”