I was so happy and couldn’t wait to tell grandma the good news. I ran into the compound and saw a police van. A police van? I stopped in my tracks, too scared to enter the house. What was a police van doing in grandma’s house?
“Mama? Mama?!” I said running into the house. When I got inside the living room, I saw grandma arms folded and two police men standing and talking to her.
“Granny what is it? What is going on?!” I asked rushing to her side seeing that she was in distress.
“Nda your mother…your mother..your mother…” she said trailing off before hissing and shrugging.
“Ermmm madame, we shall take our leave now. We suggest you go and see her as she named you as her next of kin. Good day” the policeman said before exiting the apartment.
When the police men had left the compound, I asked her again what the issue was.
“Wait…is mummy dead?” I asked expecting only one answer.
“My daughter is not dead. Tufiakwa. It’s not her time” granny said passing her hand over her head.
“Then what is it nau? What did the police say?” I continued impatiently.
“Ndaa, I think she should be in a better position to tell you. We are going to see her at the hospital” granny said as she stood up to probably get her bag and house keys. I got frustrated from the shady answers I was receiving from granny and I decided to be patient. I dropped my clear file on the dinning table and went outside to wait for granny. She finally came out and we took a bus to the hospital where mum was supposed to be.
“Excuse me, I am here to see my daughter” Granny said to the lady at the front desk.
“What is her name?” the lady asked without looking up from her computer screen.
“Ruth. They brought her in not too long ago?” Granny replied.
“Oh” she said finally looking up at us “Go down that hall to the right, she is in ward 3” she directed and looked back down at her computer screen.
We followed her directions and finally arrived at the ward where mum was. I had been wondering to myself what exactly had happened. Was mum dying? Was she attacked? Why wouldn’t granny tell me what happened? Was there a fire? All these thoughts disappeared when we entered the ward. I saw my mum or someone who looked like my mum on the bed. Some of the hair on her head had been shaved off and there was a bandage around that area, the skin around her eyes was swollen, her lips were bloody and split, her left leg was in a cast and was suspended in the air and her abdomen had a bandage on it too.
“My…God. Mummy” I blurted.
“Shhh. She can’t hear you,” said the nurse in the room with us. “She’s sleeping and she needs some rest”
The nurse left the room after replacing the drip and left me and granny with mum.
“Granny please tell me what happened to mummy. Who did this to her?” I asked grandma trying so hard to keep my voice down.
“Chii, sit down” she said.
“Your mother and her husband had an argument about an unknown issue. Neighbours said that they heard them shouting at each other last night and then heard your mother screaming and shouting. They came banging at the gate but the gate man wasn’t opening the gate. They later found out that he had been sacked because your mother’s husband hadn’t been paying him. By the time they came back and broke the door open, they saw your mother in a pool of blood unconscious on the floor of the sitting room with a bloody metal pipe by her side. They searched the house for her husband but he was no where to be found.” she said that last sentence with so much emotion in her voice. I perceived anger, sadness and pain. She felt all this because her daughter was harmed by another man. This was something my mother could not give me when I was harmed by the same man.
“So, he did this to mummy? That man did this to mummy?” I said in awe. I had mixed feelings. The devil in me kept telling me that it served her right. She abandoned me when I needed her the most and now the same monster that violated me almost killed her. However, no matter what happened, she was still my mother and she needed me the most at this particular moment. I was confused, hurt, angry and I was filled with hate.
Granny and I stayed in the hospital with mummy that night. I slept on the chair and granny slept on the spare bed in the room. Took me a while before I could sleep because I just kept staring at my mum and thinking about how I loved her and hated her at the same time.
I was still sleeping in the morning when granny left. The nurse later came by and told me that granny had gone to the police station to sort out some things and she left some money for me to get some food for myself. I stood up and stretched my back because it hurt from last night. Sleeping on a chair wasn’t funny at all. I looked at my mother one more time and tried to feel just one emotion towards her but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t just stand there thinking, so I just turned around to leave the room to get something to eat.
“Chii…” a faint voice called out to me. Either I was hearing things or my mother had woken up. “Chii…my daughter…my daughter”
I walked over to her bed and she had managed to keep one eye open to look at me. I felt her searching my eyes like I did the day she locked me up in my room and I wondered whether she could see what exactly I felt inside. I pushed the nurse call button on the wall above her bed and sat down on the chair that was by her bed and just looked at her.
The nurse arrived almost immediately and asked that I leave the room for the doctor to attend to my mum. I then used the opportunity to go to the hospital canteen to get myself some food and a drink because I was starving. By the time I got back from the canteen, the nurse and the doctor had left and she was alone again. I watched her through the viewing panel and she just lay there staring at the ceiling. I got tired of looking and finally walked into the room. Her head turned in my direction and I felt her eyes on me until I sat on the chair I had sat on earlier.
“Chii…how are you?” she asked.
“I’m fine” I replied, not knowing what else to say.
“How’s school? Have you written your post UME?” She asked again
“Yes ma, I have. I wrote it yesterday and it was fine” I replied praying that she wasn’t going to ask another awkward question.
“So-” she started to speak but she was interrupted by granny who had come back from the police station. From the bags she carried, it seems she also stopped by the house to get a change of clothes for me.
“Ruthie, how are you? Chai I was so scared yesterday when the police came to my house. I thought you had died.” granny said while examining mum’s face. “They have found him oh. They found him in his office. He was just sitting there innocently as if he did not do anything. They have arrested him and are holding him for questioning, thank God. They have caught that animal. They will be charging him with attempted murder” granny continued. The fool. He probably thought mum would play the good wife as usual and keep things under wraps. I breathed a sigh of relief, sure now that he was going to go down for something, even if it wasn’t rape.
While she said all that, mum just kept staring at me and I stared back. I put all the emotions I felt in my eyes and allowed her to see all of it. She must have seen it because she turned away from me and stared out the window by her bed.
“Ruthie you need to eat oh. I made pap for you, since the doctor said you cannot chew anything solid for now” granny said as she brought out plates from one of the bags she brought with her. Grandma proceeded to feed her with the pap while I watched her watch me from her bed. When she was done, she left the room to speak with the doctor about the hospital bills and mum’s welfare and then it came back again. The silence.
“Chii please I want to apologise to you for not believing you when you told me about what Kevin did to you. It’s just that I was alone and had found companionship after a long time and I didn’t want to lose him. Since your father died I was lonely and sad and I needed someone.” she said while staring at the ceiling.
How could she just lay there casually and throw an apology to me and expect me to forgive her simply because she’s in the hospital? I just chose to ignore what she said and stared out the window above her head.
“Chii did you hear me?” she asked. I nodded in reply and there was silence in the room again.
“Chinda, I am talking to you. Answer me” she demanded.
“So, I want to understand something. I have been your child for almost 16 years and you believed a man you just met a year ago over me? You lie down there looking hopeless, telling me that you were alone after dad’s death. That’s your excuse for marrying a rapist? Is that your excuse?! If you think throwing an apology at me and expecting me to forgive you simply because you are my mother will clear your conscience then you must be the same kind of monster you married.” I said and started out of the door “Oh and by the way ‘mother’, you were not alone after dad died. You had ME!” I walked out and slammed the door behind me.
I was so furious and felt like my heart was going to explode and I almost didn’t hear grandma yelling my name in the hallway.
“Ndaa, where are you going?” she asked in confusion.
“Ma, I am going home.” I replied
“Oh! Home to your mother?” she asked curiously.
“Mama, I have no home with that woman.” I replied and then turned around to leave. when I walked out of the hospital, I just stopped and stood there in the entrance. I smiled to myself. I couldn’t believe it. I had finally gotten it, the closure I needed. Now that the nightmares were over, the dreams would begin.
In case you missed the first three episodes
STORY – CHINDA’S TALE_1
STORY – CHINDA’S TALE_2
STORY – CHINDA’S TALE_3
A lot of young girls are suffering in their homes. They are being violated, raped and abused by the people they trust the most. They are the voiceless children who have been silenced by an ignorant authority; by a lie. Young women are the vessels through which even greater people will be born into the world. Make it a point of duty to see that any young woman around you is protected and treated like the queen that she is.
Thanks for reading.