Nkiruka opens her eyes and allows the rush of emotions and pain flow through her as she slowly comes awake and aware of the new day and her reality. She hasn’t even tried to fight that sadness and pain that follows her around in a long time, what was the point anyway? She had lost her child. She deserved no reprieve.
She finally gets out of bed and goes to work, her life simply existed in bullet points now – wake up, brush teeth, take a bath, have breakfast, if she could, go to work… she doesn’t have the strength for anything in-between.
She does her job automatically these days and she knows the only reason she hasn’t been let go is because the management is sympathetic towards her predicament. The only reason she keeps going is because she would go crazy if she didn’t have something to do everyday.
After work, she walks home slowly, hardly seeing anything or anybody, simply walking, she sees a mother walking along the road holding her little girl’s hand, they both laugh at something, the laugh sounds so much like her daughter’s, she had to do a double-take, she doesn’t even remember what it feels like to smile anymore.
She forces all thought from her mind and instead focus completely on walking, things as simple as walking have become something that she has to focus on in order to ensure other thoughts do not come in.
She looks up for a second and was just returning her gaze to the ground when something caught her eye and her heart skipped a long beat, it literally stopped as she looks up again quickly, the figure has disappeared though, she hurries to the end of the street but she doesn’t see anyone, she falls against a wall and tries to calm herself, she could have sworn she saw her daughter, looking exactly the way she had looked the day she disappeared, wearing the same clothes and all.
She finally calms down enough to continue walking, she convinces herself its just her mind playing tricks on her, someone shouts her name loudly from behind, she looks back and sees her husband, no ex-husband, he’s her ex-husband now, he is walking towards her with his wife, both of them holding a little girl’s hands between them, the girl is swing her arms and looking at the ground, when they reach her, instead of speaking directly to her, her ex-husband starts to tell his wife how Nkiruka is a bad mother and how she had lost her child, telling her he loved her because she would never be like Nkiruka, she tells him she loves him too and of course, she could never be so careless, only a stupid mother like Nkiruka would lose a whole child, Nkiruka does not believe what is happening, why is he being so cruel, it wasn’t her fault, she has lived with this pain for 5 years now and alone too, she opens her mouth to say something but only a tiny sound comes out, they start to laugh at her, pointing and laughing so hard, the sound of the laughter suddenly starts to sound very loud to Nkiruka , like there are more than just 2 people laughing, she puts her hands over her ears, shutting them tightly and looks to the ground, as she does so, the little girl looks up at her and she sees her daughter’s face staring up at her, she stifles a scream and looks up at her ex-husband and his wife who are still laughing, she looks back at the little girl and its a stranger there now.
She hears a scream from down the street, it’s loud, it doesn’t stop, she feels drawn to it, so she runs in the direction, all the time still hearing a hundred people’s laughter around her… she gets to the end of the road and sees her friend , looking at something concealed behind some industrial size boxes and still screaming, she doesn’t see what her friend is looking at, so she hurries up to her, as she gets closer, she sees, laying on the ground in a pool of blood that would probably fill a big bucket, she sees… herself, she doesn’t understand it, it feels like she’d going crazy. She tries to talk to her friend, but she doesn’t seem to notice her, she just keeps screaming, she looks around, trying to find someone or something to explain what is happening, her heart is beating so fast and so loud, it feels like its in her mouth, she feels hot and cold at the same time, she seemed to be existing in an alternate universe… “mummy…” she hears laughter in the beautiful little voice that calls to her, “mummy, I’m going to hide now, come find me”… she spins around fast and sees her daughter running away, looking for somewhere to hide, she starts to run after her, but by the time she gets to the corner, her daughter was gone, probably hiding, she wants to scream her name and beg her to come out, that she isn’t up to playing hide and seek this afternoon but she can’t seem to get any words out, besides she doesn’t think she’ll be heard above the sound of her heart beat. She’s so confused.
She shuts her eyes tight, trying to shut out all the sounds and emotions. Everything suddenly gets very quiet.
Nkiruka opens her eyes to see a nice-looking young lady bending in front of her, waking her up, the lady hands her a small plastic cup with 2 tablets in it and a cup of water, “time for your meds, Nkiruka”… She collects the cups without expression, puts the tabs in her mouth and washes it down with the water. She hands the cups back to the ward attendant and keeps staring straight ahead through the window into the garden outside, as the meds start to take effect, Nkiruka has full comprehension of who she is, where she is, what she did… she looks down at hands, palms facing up, her hands are shaking so badly, she tries to still them but they just seem to shake even more, she brings them up and covers her face as slow tears start to roll down her face.
The nice-looking ward attendant is back at her station, talking to another ward attendant, about the gentle looking woman who had been a patient in the psychiatric hospital for 5 years, she had just been a regular career woman, wife and mother, it is still impossible to understand what exactly made her snap that fateful day, 5 years ago and brutally murdered her daughter with a pair of scissors while the little girl was asleep, stabbing her repeatedly.
Her husband had come home that day to find her kneeling by her daughter’s bed, looking down at her blood-soaked hands, that were shaking uncontrollably, throughout the process of the trial and for as long as could be remembered, all she seemed to do was sit and start at her shaking hands, as though she sees the blood on them, or maybe she can’t believe what they had done.
She hasn’t spoken a word since that day. She seems to have built a world in her mind where she now exists all alone.
It really is a shame, she says, that this is to be Nkiruka’s story.