The doctors in St.Ruth’s tried to explain to grandma how mommy’s thought process was fragmented. They said something about slow irritability and bizarre hallucinations. Schizophrenia they called it. They had fancy names for Ogbanje’s these days. They said the death of a loved one triggered her situation. I remember her, explaining to them who I was one day , what I did, what I was capable of doing and the doctors put her on a treatment plan. A rigorous time table of medication and physical and mental exams. They didn’t know I called her on her frequently, to show her one thing. One thing, words couldn’t describe and minds couldn’t dream up. One thing she would never understand. And that made me oh-so-ready to put her through this dark maze forever. She would beg me to stop, but I didn’t do it to hurt her. She would cry and use anything within reach to hurt herself. She has scars and marks on her belly that were once slits and bruises. I hated that hospital. I suffered what she suffered, so I don’t remember much of my time there. It was a drugged haze. I remember white. Loads of white soft things. On me. Around me. Inside me. I felt like my surroundings. Cold off-white foam. I was empty, formless and without vibrancy, colorless. When we were eventually discharged, she was numb. So usually, I paid quiet attention to her spirit and I could hear a dull resonance of ache emanating from her. She was healing.
Mommy ran. She ran so fast. She ran so fast her legs hurt. She was attempting to run away from me or to me (I’m not sure which) again. But she wasn’t able to do either, I thought by now, she understood that. She ran with determination to do something about me. Maybe try to get rid of me so I let her run for another mile, because the futility of her action amused me. This wasn’t adrenaline. No. This was fear. The fear I so carefully instilled in her. The fear that gave her abominable strength to do things like this. After the mile I made her know, she was running into another life, back to the origin of her stagnant pain. She was still running, till she realized she began running back into former reality. She couldn’t stop now. I was doing it again. She looked down, watching her sandals turn into bare bloody feet, her sweat reddening to a flushed coral to a watermelon red to a dull crimson, blood. It became more difficult to breathe, I saw her tears crawl down her face dropping to her grey shirt, making patches of darker grey. Grey, like the clouds on that day. She could feel the rain, her fingers entwined between the strands of wet smelly hair. It was how the she knew her memories of me were taking its full effect on her.
It was a cold night. Dark and cloudy too, no stars to accessorize the navy blue of the sky. I attempted getting away from him again. I felt like a crazed succubus. So I began running, and I realized I couldn’t stop. Suddenly, everything began to morph. I wasn’t scared. I used to be, but I wasn’t anymore. Running. Still running, my legs hurt. The memories hurt. The pain didn’t fade, the pain never diminished. It was still so real. I closed my eyes, not because I couldn’t withstand what he was doing, but because the transformation just seemed faster. When I opened my eyes, I was in my room again. My senses heightened, I saw things, smelt things, heard things. Things I didn’t notice the last time I was here. For the first time, I could see through my eyes. I could see through my mother’s eyes. I could feel her. I was in her. She was more anxious than I was. She had done this before. Countless of times. She had killed before. I was her daughter. She had to kill for me too. I was lying down on my bed and she suggested that I lay down on my table instead. I undressed. I stood naked. I laid on my table naked.
I saw her clean the tools. I looked at the tools. Gleaming, arctic, waste of metal. I lay on the table. I spread my legs. I put one hand over my mouth and I used the other to clench to one of the legs of the table. I wrapped my hand so tightly around the furnished wood. The sweat from my palm penetrating the surface, rolling into the grain of the mahogany.
“Amarachi, be still.” I entered my mother, looking through her eyes, I looked at myself and watched myself cry, tears rolling down to my ears, small hands clasping my mouth, making muffled sobs. I look at the wooden floor, to avoid my eyes, the one she ensured to clean every weekend was about to have drops of blood, possibly a pool. I heard her think, “My daughter’s blood, my blood, the blood of my grandson.” I couldn’t change what she was going to do. I could only watch her do it. I could only be in her body and watched as she aborted my child. I became her. Chest heavy, I let out her last breath of guilt. Ultimately this was a good thing. I heard her conscience convince her. I owe her. If I can do this right, maybe she’ll forgive me for my absence. Her hands were shaky, she picked a cotton ball drenched with disinfectant and wiped my labia. After injecting myself I held one of the tools and inserted it into my vagina. I saw my legs twitch. I rubbed my legs. I began singing. “Nwa m, onye m huru n’aya, ebezina akwa…” I felt my mother become calmer as the song progressed. I turned the little knob and watched it spread the folds of flesh covering my hole. “Ebezina akwa, biko chi ochi….” I sensed my mother change. Teeth clenched, She held the longest rod I had ever seen. With one quick stroke she inserted it. Precisely, at that moment I realize I can see through another eye. I go into my body. I can see through my fetus’s undeveloped eye. Only, it’s not an eye. It is his mind. I can feel him for the first time. Know him, understand what it was like not to be given a chance. Before I approached him, I thought. I had to think fast. Mother would be inside me with the rod before I knew it. So I decided that I wanted to explain. When I got to him, the blood around him got darker. His aura was black. Matt black like death. I got scared. “Chisom”, I called out to him. His grandfather’s name. Lost in his mind he told me, “I will never leave you. ” Sucked out, I became myself again, unable to stretch into my mother’s eyes, unable to see into Chisom’s mind. I panic. The rod crushes my wall, crushes Chisom. I scream. My blood is bubbling. My soul is on fire, flailing violently out of my body. I scream. I keep screaming. My mother removed the rod, puts in another tool. This one had small crab fingers. It was to pick up the mass of tissue still forming, to cut off his tiny appendages. I feel his body slide through my vagina, surely a premature birth. I keep screaming. I became deaf to her singing, my noise drowning out every sound. My eyes stop functioning. I was in daze of pain. My ears, too. My nose worked, breathing in rusty copper, fresh blood.
As my mother pulled the last mound of flesh into the bowl. I felt something enter me. Not physically of course. Not through my soul or my mind, but something entered me. It was inside of my body, it was covering my essence. I was trapped. It was Chisom. “I will always be a part of you.” I heard him say in my grandfather’s voice.
Chisom never left. It had been 10 years in a mental hospital, 16 after the abortion. I am 32 now.
When I opened my eyes, and regained conciousness of the present, I realized I was still crying, I noticed it was day now. The sun was warm and dancing. I was still running. Running. Running. Melancholy floods what is left of my mind. My dead child is my grandfather.
I’m her son, her grandfather, I can’t leave. I promised her I wouldn’t. I just want her to understand that I love her.