The weather is horrible. The kind where it’s so hot, the air doesn’t move.
The dog keeps bugging me, expecting a belly rub.
Mummy again…. listing chores like she was allotting zeros to a million naira cheque.
“Wash the plates, feed the dog, put fuel in the generator, turn it on after 10 minutes, go and get me credit, make dinner, make sure you pray.”
I almost hate this woman. It’s the heat; it does things to my psyche, makes me dangerous and excessively rude. It also makes my neck and back burn. Doesn’t help that I look like a penny when I’m sweating and our fine neighbour conveniently arrives to see the little sweaty girl being screamed at.
Kill. Me. Now
Kill. Me. Now
So. Much. Light.
So. Many. Loud. Voices.
Needles. Poking. Me.
I can’t keep my eyes open.
Ugh. Girls are sooo stupid
My foolish sister, making eyes at the boy… again.
He’s giving her that look. Like he’s undressing her and she seems blind to it.
Girls are stuuupid…
“Mummy is calling you”. I shout at her.
We’re leaving and as I turn, I stick my butt out so he can notice. I don’t like him, but no one’s ever looked at me like they wanted to undress me.
So. Cold. So. So. Cold.
Clothes come off and there’s the cold surge of metal against skin.
Softer clothes come back on.
“Fareeda? Fareeda? Can you hear me?”
“Squeeze your hand if you can.”
I try squeezing my hand and instantly, pain floods in.
“She’s bleeding again.”
You never listen.
Kilo n she e. (what is wrong with you?)
I’ve tried my best, but o sha fe gboran… (you just won’t listen)
I think I broke my third plate that week.
I’ve been telling her, I hate washing dishes but she still makes me.
It’s not like I let them slip on purpose. It’s my residual anger that makes me grip on the plates not tightly enough.
Voices. Plenty voices.
Hands on my hair.
I try opening my eyes. It’s easier now.
It’s Dare…Dare, a very tearful woman, a grave looking man, and a girl whose expression mirrors my exact sentiment.
A woman who bears the nametag of Mother.
A man who bears the tag of Father.
And a female who bears the tag of Sister.
My family is with me.
I must be dead.
Days pass in a blur of antiseptic, stinging pan, drugs, past memories and voices. I’m so doped up; all I can do is sit up and stare. Dare and my mum have been here. I’ve apparently been hallucinating and doing a lot of sleep talking. Only my mother is here. The rest of my family still think I’m gone or dead.
Every day, mother sits by me, feeding me fish peppersoup and apples. Dare stays for short periods, and only comes back to take my mother home. It’s a hot day and I’m sweating a lot. Mother cleans up my face and packs my hair.
It’s awfully silent. We haven’t spoken since I woke up.
“I’m sorry.” I say quietly.
She keeps looking – staring. I don’t want her to cry anymore.
“You were my hope you know that. You were the most difficult, but you carried the most hope. Everyone saw it in you. You were different, the one who would make us proud. The intellectual, the strong one, you were tough, smart and beautiful.”
“Were we bad parents? Were we so suffocating? Did we choke you with love? Were we not enough?”
She paused and sighed heavily as if trying to hold back herself.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to talk. Just rest and get better.”
The drugs begin their chemical dance to my brain. I’m yawning and in seconds, I’m off.
At 5:00 I pick up Mrs. Kurunmi and drive her home. On the way, we discuss how we met, her treatment and how to ensure she fully recovers. I make sure to leave the less that stellar details out, but I cannot begin to fathom her suicide attempt.
I remember the evening with acute clarity as I always do when I rehash it.
Complete silence, TV off, generator off. I was going to fix myself a drink when I saw her on the floor. Dead eyes, a lot of blood. My God, the blood. She hit a number of veins in both hands and had bled for a while. She was cold, the floor was cold, I was cold and it was hot everywhere else. Covered in her own blood, eyes shut in pain, I tied up her hands but the blood wouldn’t stop flowing.
The journey is quick, traffic minimal and in a few minutes, I bid Mrs. Kurunmi goodnight; poor woman. I make my way to the hospital and take up my spot on the chair. She’s sleeping as usual. She always sleeps straight through the night.
Not this night though…
“How did you find my mum?”
“You needed a lot of blood. I had no choice. You have your house address among your notes.”
“I thought you left me. I lost it.”
“I lost it too when I saw your lifeless in my kitchen.”
“You already said that. It’s fine.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Go to sleep Fareeda. You’ll be discharged soon”
“Talk to me…please?”
“What do you want to talk about?”
“I’m sorry I’ve been manipulative and needy and all the bad things. As soon as I’m out of here, I’m going to move in with my mum, get out of your hair and refer every psychotic case I know to you.”
“I think I’ll pass on your references. There’s only so much pro bono I can handle.”
“Goodnight Fareeda… I forgive you.”
“Thank you” she says.
The rest of the night passes by silently.
A couple of days later as I sign her out of the hospital, I thought to myself, in a few hours, she’ll be out of my head and life. The thought is exciting and almost scary at the same time.
This series is written by @FareedaKhalo and it’s supported by the good people of Barows21. Check out www.barows21.com for all your favourite international magazines. You can read previous episodes here. Comments and feedback are always appreciated.