Welcome and close the door. Your time starts now… Part 1

“It was my first time to attend a clubbing session and I got raped

“I told my best friend but she said it was normal. That such these happens every day. I asked her if it had happened to her. She was evasive. Then she stopped being my friend. She just cut me off.

“And I felt so confused. How could I tell my parents I had sneaked from home and attended a club? My mum was a pastor’s wife, for God’s sake. That night, I wrote a suicide note, blaming myself for being selfish, escaping from home, not flowing with the crowd at the club, wearing a tiny piece of skirt that hardly covered my ass…

“But I slept before I could finish it. In the morning I couldn’t find it. I suspect my mum found it. Had I even written it? I wonder what she thought when she looked at me wearing my cheap mini skirt, reeking of alcohol, sprawled on the floor of my room, the window wide open…

“She didn’t have to say anything. Her body language gave her away. She didn’t talk to me for a whole week. Since my dad died, she had been my solace, always having my back. She was a great woman. Yet I had let her down. I had ashamed her. Thank God I had not written about the bouncer who had assaulted me. Or had I?

“Every day I think about it I keep asking myself a lot of questions. Should I have reported him? Everybody knows just what our cops are like. Maybe they would laugh at me. Or throw me in jail. Should I have resisted and screamed some more? But who would have heard me with all that noise at the club?

“With my best friend gone and my mum turning against me, I felt useless. I can’t remember when I stopped eating and lost sleep. I would sit outside on the balcony, watch cars pass by till morning. I would clean dishes and clothes like a robot. And keep indoors. I deactivated my social media accounts. I lost interest in everything.

“The first time I tried to OD, I just felt asleep for long hours (mum later told me it was three days) and only heard someone shaking me. At first I thought I was in heaven, what with all those lights and flowery curtains and soft music and an angel hovering over me. 

“But it was only mum, a worried expression on her face. I had survived my first suicide attempt. 

“Mum became closer, always asking questions. A lot of them. She was less mad at me. I think the doctors had told her to be nice to me. She cooked me lots of eggs and gave me fruits. She called me mummy and bought me airtime and bundles. She was all over me asking what mummy wanted. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted some peace.  I wanted…

“At night when she was gone and I had slipped into deep sleep (I guess it was all those little pills she forced me to take), I could see the bouncer all over me again. The nightmares scared me. I hated sleep. It reminded me of what I had done

“I strolled to the center to get fresh air and I could see the fresh vegetable mama stare at me. Did she know? The shopkeeper, a charming guy, did not even smile at me. Was it that obvious? The makangas who usually flirted with us to board their matatus hardly looked at me. What were people saying about me? 

“What if I became pregnant? Or was I HIV positive? First time? I don’t think so

“I kept indoors for months. I knew by heart the number of tiles in our bathroom. Thirteen columns. Eleven rows. The color of all our plastic cups. And I kept looking for the pills. But my mum was pretty good at hiding stuff. Trust an African woman to perfect such an art

“She took me for check-up. The nurse just asked me questions that I couldn’t answer. She gave me more pills and sent me home. 

“That night I wondered – after another bout of nightmare – if the bouncer would apologize if we met. Would he even remember me? Why had he picked on me? Had I sent him signals? Was I prettier than my friends? Or had he slipped a piece of something inside my drink? Would he say he was sorry he had hurt me? Did he even know if he had hurt me? Would I forgive him?

“Why had my friends moved on so fast? How many people had my best friend told? Was I the laughing stock of the varsity? Would I be expelled? What would my siblings think about me? And my step dad? His congregation was surely ashamed of me

“I start reading my diary. A pathetic piece of book with silly dreams. Do people still think of becoming singers? What a life..! I read about my perfect man. Well-built, tall, good-looking, romantic, caring…oooh please! I look at my New Year resolutions: get kissed for the first time; get a part-time job at a fancy office; move to a bedsitter outside campus. Gloria, get a life…!

“My mum brings me my shopping, a box of sanitary pads, some lotion, my favorite purplish colored braids…and I realize it’s been three months since I used any pads. Three months..! I miss my periods and I don’t even notice it. God.

“Am sitting right here with my therapist. He has told me to write my thoughts down if am not ready to talk. Good guy, finally. Someone who understands my silence

“Maybe I should ask him for tips how to become a therapist. Just sit there and listen to people’s crap. Order them around. Listen some more. Pretend to care. Give them some more pills. By the way, what are the pills for? Welcome to your first therapy session. Your time starts, Now!

“Should I tell him about my dreams? The ones I see my father coming to my room, standing by the door and smiling at me?

“Naah, he will think I’m a pyscho. Am all good. See, am all good

“I have cravings for inderema and sucha and mrenda…those yummy vegetables from the bush.

“He says my time is over. That I should hand him my notebook. He sounds like my former composition teacher. All knowing and superior and I don’t know what

“I hand him my notebook.”