Chapter 1

Everytime I tried remembering what happened to me, after being kicked out of that car, my heart broke into tiny little pieces. . I was dying to know how I found myself in a mental hospital. I knew I was going through a lot, all at once, but to end up in a mental hospital? How? I was not mad. My mind was fully functional. How did I land on a mental hospital, with mentally disturbed people? I had nothing against the poor ill people, in fact, I actually loved them and found them really special- but I was not one of them. No. I enjoyed being alone, to give myself more time to try and imagine more possible senarios of how I ended up there. Believe me when I say, it was such great torture. I remembered all the other stupid and useless stuff, but failed to remember the important things that could help turn my life around. I was a failure. A plain loser.

 

I sighed, as I looked outside my window, watching my trees play hide and seek with the mild wind that softly kissed my skin, through the slightly open window that was right in front of where I was sitting. It was refreshing. The thought of how much I missed my children crossed my mind, and my mood changed within a blink of an eye. I missed my children so much. I spent half of my time wondering where they were and how they were doing. I tried imagining them older than the last time I saw them. I created my own mental pictures and indluged in them, to numb an excruiating pain that tore my heart apart. Maybe Mommy and Daddy decided to keep my children and raise them up as their own, they were really good people. Or, maybe Sibusiso insisted on taking them and raising them up himself. I sighed again, trying to hold tears from falling down. I could not even begin to imagine the things that my kids would grow up hearing, when they ask about their mother. I was not a bad person, and I loved my chidren so much- I wish life would give me a second chance to prove that.

 

“Mandiphumle Soldati”

The nurse called out. I got up, signaling that I was around.

“Follow me”

She ordered, and I followed her to the doctor’s office.

“Here she is”

She reported to the doctor, standing by the door but making way for me to enter.

“Miss Soldati, please come in”

I walked in, and took a seat.

“Thank you, sister”

The doctor said, and the nurse walked away.

“So, Miss Soldati…”

He flipped through his files.

“You are ready to be discharged. Your progress is satisfactory, and I am proud of you for that”

I smiled.

“Thank you doctor”

He nodded.

“However, we have a bit of a situation here”

My smile faded away. He cleared his throat.

“Miss Soldati, we have no records of any of your family members. It is against the hospital policy to release you with no solid knowledge of where you will go and who you will be staying with”

I swallowed, as he explained.

“Uhm, doctor.. As I explained my situation before, I don’t know how I got here. The reason why you have never seen any of my family members here is because none of them know where I am. Believe me, they would camp outside these premises if they knew that I am here”

I replied. He nodded.

“Okay, do you, by any chance, know where home is?”

That was the trickiest question ever. Home? Did I know where home was? Did I even have a home, to even begin with?

“Yes, I know where home is”

I replied.

“Good. We will need to open an assessment file for you, and assess the domestic situation, before releasing you”

Wow. There goes my chance of ever leaving the hospital- I thought to myself. I had no family. The Nkomos clearly disowned me- I had nowhere else to go. I fiddled with my fingers.

“Uhm, okay. Would I have to take you there?”

“Not me personally, but yes, you will have to take whoever will be assigned to go with you, and show them where home is”

I nodded. Gosh!

“when?”

I asked, trying to see how much time I had to think of where to take them. I was not about to take them to the Nkomos, those people would discredit me.

“The sooner, the better.I will get back to you on that one though. I just wanted you to be prepared”

I nodded again.

“What confuses me though, is the fact that, you never wanted to talk about your family, ever since you got here. How do you then sit here and tell me that your family would have camped outside these premises if they knew where you were? I mean, we tried several times to get to know about them, so that we can make means and inform them about your whereabouts”

My mouth hung open for a few seconds.

“Yeah, uuh”

I blinked rapidly, trying to think of a quick response.

“Well, I didn’t really want to bother them, you know”

He pulled a very confused look. Okay, I wasn’t making sense. I cleared my throat.

“I mean, they are not really my..uhm.. they are not really my biological family. My mother passed away, murdered by her abusive husband”

I explained, but the confused look on his face was still there.

“And then, my family from dad’s side took me in and helped me settle down. Uhm, but things didn’t really work out, so I moved in with.. with.. uh.. with this very nice and welcoming woman who treated me like her own daughter. Wherever she is, she is probably wondering where I am”

Still, the confused look on his face just wouldn’t go away. I sighed.

“Okay, I will be completely honest with you. You can keep me here forever, if you like, but I will be honest. I am tired of plotting and scheming, and even lying”

I blabbled. He removed his hands from the file, and invested all his attention on me and what I was about to say.

“Yes, its true. My mother got murdered by her abusive husband. I was out to study with a friend of mine, and when I came back, there was blood all over the kitchen floor”

I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, so I avoided blinking.

“I asked him where my mother was, and he refused to tell me. He told me that my mother cheated on him with her church pastor, and he was sick and tired of being played for a fool. He then made me clean up her blood from the floor”

At that point, my voice was already shaky, but I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to talk, and let it all out.

“That is the source of all these misfortunes that I’ve undergone. I’ve been used, played, abused. I have been taken for a ride, for a fool. I’ve been tossed around, pushed and shoved because I was suffering from a lack of sense of belonging. I’ve stayed with four families in a space of a year. I’ve made bad decisions and I have messed up most of my stays in the homes I stayed in. I’m a mess, doctor”

I looked down and fiddled with my fingers again. Yes, life was a bit of a very sad movie for me, but I couldn’t entirely blame the world for it, because I had my own fair share of mistakes and made so many bad decisions. I needed to own up to my mistakes, in order for me to learn from them.

“Was a mess. Not anymore”

He replied. His voice carried so much positivity. I nodded.

“All I want right now, doctor, is to go out there and live a positive life. I want to reshape my life and start afresh”

I felt the warmth of a tear, escaping my eye.

“I get that, but where will you go?”

“I will go to my mother’s house. It’s still there, and the monster that killed my mother got what was coming to him when the community members agreed on mob justice. I want to go to my mother’s house and stay there, alone. When I find my feet, I will go and look for my children and baby brother, and create a stable home for them”

I wiped my tears with the back of my hand.He smiled fondly.

“You sound so determined to change your life, and I am proud of you for that. I can’t really see you surviving on your own though. I feel you need to have people around you, until you get used to be on the outside”

“Doctor, I can do this, on my own”

“Miss Soldati, please. How are you going to survive? One needs money to survive out there and you are unemployed”

“I’ll look fo a job, doctor please”

“With the high rate of unemployment, what makes you so sure that you will find employment?”

 

I remained silent. All my hopes of ever getting out of that place were dead, and about to be burried.

 

“Can’t you go to any of these families that you’ve mentioned? Just so you get back on your feet,then find employment and then move back to your mother’s house?”

Sounds like a plan, but where would I possibly go? Except for Alex’s house, I didn’t know where else to go.

“I’ll go to the woman I was telling you about, the one who loved me like her own daughter”

He nodded.

“Better. The sooner we get hold of her, the better”

He made it sound so easy. After our conversation, I went back to my bed. I was excited. Leaving that place would be my first step at reowning my life. I knew a lot could go wrong and I could end up miserable, but I chose to ignore that little detail. Days went by and they still hadn’t released me. The doctor called me into his office, just when I was starting to lose all hope of ever leaving that place. I got there, with eyes filled curiousity and an earger to know what was going on. I pulled a chair and sat down. He greeted as I crossed my legs and folded my arms. I greeted back, looking at him straight in the eye.

“Miss Soldati, the time has come, for you to be officially discharged. I would like you to call the relative you were telling me about, and get him to talk to me. I need to have a word with him”

 

I closed my eyes, trying to remember Alex’s cellphone number. I knew it off by heart, once, so I could surely remember it if I wanted to. I tried convincing myself as I prepared myself for the journey down the memory lane. I looked around the streets and avenues of my memory city, trying to locate the number of the man I once loved so much. A man whom my world once revolved around. There. It came flooding back.

“Yes!”

My eyes shot open and I asked for the pen. He quickly handed me a pen and a piece of paper. I wrote the number down, so I wouldnt lose it again. I wasn’t really attached to it, so it could easily slip away, again.

“Here”

I handed him the piece of paper. He dialed the number, and Alex picked up. They talked for a while, and I was just sitting there, listening to the one sided conversation. The doctor explained everything to him, along with the fact that I had to keep constant contact with my pyschologist. Yes, I also wanted to keep contact with her too. Talking to her gave me life. She was my pillar of strength. Alex seemed to have no problem with everything, judging from the way the conversation was flowing from our side. As cherry on top, they even arranged a meeting. Alex was said to pay a visit to the hospital, so they could have a word with him, about me. When they were done, they hung up.

“He is coming tomorrow”

He said, putting the phone down.

“Oh. Okay. Did he sound happy to host me?”

I shrugged my shoulders and tilted my head slightly to the right.

“Yeah. Uh, he actually sounded very happy to have you there. He did mention, however, that his mother went back home a couple of months ago, followed by his father. And also the fact that his brother, I didn’t quite get the name, moved out with his woman”

He calmly added.

“What?”

My smile faded away.

“So it’s just going to be me and him in the house?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“We’ll hear all about it tomorrow”

I nodded.

“Thank you, doctor. Thank you for letting me know”

I got up.

“It’s only a pleasure. Everything is going to be alright, okay? Just hang in there”

He smiled fondly, and I smiled back, walking out of his office, carrying my heart in the palm of my hand. How was I going to stay with Alex, alone? I know we were over each other and all of that, but staying with him alone didn’t sound right. As much as I felt that way, I still had no other option but that place. I could foresee a flood of challenges ahead, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it all.

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