“why does everyone think i am mad?,” she muses. she is lying on her bed on a quiet saturday morning watching tv. the volume is off. tom is chasing jerry. the curtains are drawn, so the room still hasn’t awakened. the door to her room is shut but she can smell the oil as her mom prepared breakfast. then suddenly there he is. he is staring at her from across the room – the one with bloodied clenched fists and red eyes.

medication time

“please. mommy is home.” and he laughs emptily. the veins in his temple throb. his fists have healed from the administration of the last medication. as suddenly, as he came into the room he was gone. she gets off the bed, sits on the carpeted floor of her room, and starts to put things from yesterday’s playtime back in their places. she is thirteen.

i will come back this evening she turns around and searches for him in the confines of her brains, he is bouncing merrily on the lobes. he is being negative.

hey wena negative does not refer to a persons attitude but to a lack of certain characteristics that should be there

what should be there

violence

you lie

watch

then he comes and sits beside her on the floor – the one without a voice.

“how are you today?”

sad red

“you don’t feel like talking?

silence.

“ok, draw it”

     afro-pop

“really? again?”

silence.

apple

“you want her that bad? you know she is not good for you… why are you not drawing anything? i should shut up?”

confused red

“sorry, i didn’t mean to confuse you. but how are you though?”

silence.

“com’on tshepo, you need to draw to me.”

stupid

“really, she makes you feel that stupid? man, you need to forget that girl or you will go insane … you’re leaving? where to?”

cannabis
“ok. but you know that too isn’t good for your head? ok, later.” then the voice of the one without teeth returns. she gets up and sits on the bed.

“i don’t want to hear you today, please leave me alone.” she gets up from the bed, picks her cellphone from her study table and puts the earphones on – she presses play and increases the volume.

can you hear me sing like yuna i see you arriving in your car jet black mercedes[1] she yanks the earphones from her ears and throws the cellphone and earphones on the floor. the earphones come off and yuna is singing – volume high:

i feel a little rush/i think i’ve got a little crush on you

i hope it’s not too much

but boy when i’m with you i hear it

my heart is singing

la la la la la la…/la la la la la la…

she gets up, picks up the tv remote and jams her thumb on the volume button to increase it to the highest volume. yuna is screaming. tom is chasing jerry loudly on tv. still, the voice in her head rages.

“please stop, oh god, please stop.” she collapses facedown on the bed, her hands blocking her ears. she is sobbing uncontrollably.

turn around i say tuuurn arounnnnnd

she turns. nothing, just shadows on the walls in the slowly brightening room. she gets up and draws the curtains, stands by the window watching the trees in the yard – afraid to turn so she wouldn’t see the shadows on the walls. the hairs on the nape of her neck bristle. she can feel her breath on her neck.

turn around now she’s sobbing and trembling. she can feel the one without teeth bounding around in her head – furious. the trees are morphing into faces – three faces of three girls in three red dresses. she turns to back the window.

silence – in her head.

she looks around – nothing. even the tv is silent. then suddenly the voice returns. one voice – through her left ear. the voice of the one without teeth.

you bitch you zink you are beautiful zose eyes zose legs and the voice laughs so hard every other sound stops. she can hear her as if she is standing next to her by the window – the one without teeth. then the voices inside her head take over. three voices.

have you done your homework miss sad face

oh look mrs banda is going to be flogging someone on monnnnndaaaay

pick up the pen you ugly thing she walks away from the window, sits on her bed, grabs a pillow and folds it around her ears.

oh did you see that

i saw

me too

get up get upnow she doesn’t move. then a voice whispers in her ears, medication time she gets off the bed.

pick up the cd player she picks it up reluctantly. now like the good bitch that you are smash it against the wall

“no!” she puts the cd player back on the floor.

what did she say

she said no

ooooh someone is getting kinky smart today hey now pick up that damned cd player and smash it against the wall

“no! just leave me alone. i am not your friend.” then she picks up the cd player and smashes it on the floor. the carpet cushions the impact, but the cd player breaks all the same.

silence – in her head.

he mother walks in. the girls leave her head and go squat in the corner, beside her reading table.

“hey, why is the tv so loud?” she does not respond, she sits looking at the three girls snickering in the corner – gorging themselves with black forest cake. her mother makes to reach for the remote and notices the broken cd player.

“what the hell happened here? why did you smash your brother’s cd player?” she doesn’t respond. then she slaps her. hard across the face.

“i am talking to you.” she pushes her head and she falls on the bed, sobbing. she can smell the black forest cake, and hear the snickering from the corner of the room. she can taste the black forest cake – doesn’t taste so sweet mixed with the saltiness of her tears. the sweetness of the black forest cake has attracted the ants and they march nonchalantly, a black mass, all over her face, carrying with them remnants of the black forest cake in a single file towards the corner with the three snickering girls in red. her skin is crawling.

“get off that bed and clean up the mess – crazy child. this is what happens when you read all those crazy books. be quick, breakfast is ready” and she was gone. she gets back into the kitchen – staring as the flames lick the bottom of the pot. as a single mother the toil of raising a child on her own has driven her to the limits of her patience. the child’s behavior wasn’t helping. your child isn’t well. she looks around to see where the voice came from. what did you expect when she won’t take her medication, believing she can hear voices. she switches off the stove and goes into the dining section to lay the table for breakfast. oh, you think she isn’t mad because she looks normal?

back in the room, she looks to the corner, the three girls in red, hands over their mouths, are giggling. the giggling stops, the three girls in red slip out of the room on tip-toes, then she hears:

man i drink too much

another friday night i wasted

my eyes are black and red

i am crawling back to your bed[2]

and then he comes in – the one with the bloodied clenched fists and red eyes, and everything goes red.

Copyright © F-K Omoregie 2016

[1] Yuna ft Usher. (2016). Crush. Chapters. Verve.

[2] Snakehips ft Tinashe & Chance the Rapper. 2016). All My Friends. All My Friends. Sony Music UK. Columbia.