East Africa Friday Feature Prompt: The mystic woods. What story do you see here?
This one’s for my friend. I pray you and your husband will heal.
I find myself in between words written using this blue pen on this white piece of paper. You left for work today at 5:30 in the morning. You looked at me, stretched your hand to stroke my head but withdrew it as though I was a baby who could cause mayhem with just one touch. You dressed in the bathroom and left without taking tea or even writing me a note. You live as though I am a minefield and you’re the Wanderer who has to make it through without losing a leg or an arm.
See, I noticed, not because I wanted to but because I could not sleep. I have not slept in a week and you think the medicine that doctor prescribed helps but it does not. I want us to talk and sit before the TV talking about La Malquerida with you pretending to follow when you are clearly bored. I want you to look at me like you did before the voices started filling my head.
It’s always the voices.
I can hear them and they are always coming after me. Where were you Michael? Where were you when they insisted I follow them through those woods? Where were you when I fell and had to cry out for help as they looked at each other wondering what to do?
Where were you when she flowed out of me like she could not stand the filth that was within me? Where were you when the doctor had to say, “I am sorry for your loss,” reading from the script of her career as though those six words could bring her back to me?
Michael, I am not going to see the Therapist or Pastor Mark. I am not going to talk to my mom or your sisters or my best friend. Tell them we are not entertaining guests and talk to me.
Look at me and tell me everything you have to say for yourself because I am falling and I am also watching myself die every time I inch closer to the earth. You leave me in this house where our hopes for her assail me and expect to come back and find me cooking in the kitchen while listening to Xfm. Michael, she died and your sisters stood there debating over who pushed me and what they would say to your parents.
I lay there afraid to move as the trees parted to reveal the clear blue sky. How was I to know that no one visited those parts of the woods? How was I to know that whoever heard the children singing as they walked through that part would lose their soul? Who believes in such stories?
But, I heard the children singing. I heard their voices as beautiful as the sun that lit up the clear blue sky fill my heart with such peace before our daughter spilled out of me. It hurt. It still hurts and that is why I have not been able to close my eyes.
I closed them for a second thinking I could feel my legs but when I opened them I had lost my precious one. Our daughter.
You told me that night on our way back, “let’s forget about it baby girl, God has a plan for us, everything will be alright,” but you never looked at me again. We sat next to each other in that bus for three hours and you never said anything. Was it God’s plan to have your sisters trip me so I could fall in the middle of nowhere?
Was it God’s plan to have your family look at me like a pile of filth simply because I am not the woman they wanted you to marry? Was that reason enough for them to commit murder and then bring in God as a buffer?
Michael, you will come home tonight and find me seated on the kitchen floor waiting for you to read this letter. I cannot speak for my head is filled with your sisters voices and laughter. You will read this and when you are done, you will reach out and finally hold me in your arms. You will sit there on the cold cement floor and hold onto me until I cleanse myself of every ounce of pain and anger through every tear drop.
When I stop for a while, we will have the Ugali and osuga that I shall have prepared and start…we will start because I know what I heard in those woods and I know now that they are not just stories. I know those children have our daughter and some day she too will sing for your sisters.
And oh…how I look forward to that day.
Your Wife, Maria.