It was like a fall from grace to grass. One time she was the star of campus. The next big thing. The girlfriend to the most admired dude in campus, Big Pat. Now no one wanted to be associated with her.
The guilt was eating her up too. Deep down she wanted to believe what Dr Kuaki had told her,that she had gotten rid of lumps of blood not babies. But an inner voice kept whispering in her voice, she was a murderer.
The guilt was worsening. Now Celine did not want to see the picture of a baby in any of the social media channels. Your baby could be this cute but you got rid of it before it ever had the chance to grow..No babies!
Celine thought of suicide. How could she live with this shame and guilt of killing three babies.
It hurt her like a hot knife when she heard the conversations of Vio and Don.
“You mean she aborted not one but three kids!”
“Maybe she aborted a future president or a great artist or a priest!”
“And only at first year!”
It was too much for her. Celine jumped out of her bed. It was already morning. She had just caught few winks of sleep only to wake up and hear that the two hadn’t found something else to talk about.
Which is the best way to kill oneself? Celine wondered.
The babies she had killed deserved justice, she thought. The blood in her hands would only be washed away by her blood. Those who faulted her would be satisfied when she died.
There was a deep consolation at the thoughts. Tears started to flow again when she started to imagine how her parents would be shocked at the news of her death. She wondered how they would feel when they heard she had deprived them to see three grandkids. They would probably be so angry.
The thought prompted her to act faster on going out of the world.
Celine was standing on the foot over bridge. She thought jumping from the flyover would be the surest way to end her life. She saw several cars at the road under the bridge speeding to their destinations. The incoming lorry was her target, to run over her just in case she landed down and still had life in her.
Suicide is the most seductive demon. She woos you and makes you think that death is the ultimate solace of all your problems. She urges regret and pain to pursue you forcefully, to overwhelm you. She smiles as you obey her , whispering you on.
“Excuse me, are you ok?”
Celine turned at the voice behind her. The voice had interrupted suicide’s charming urge. She saw her, standing there with a baby on her back, in tattered clothes. Celine had seen her before, she was a crazy woman who chased and scared people away.
Celine felt her heart jump. The crazy woman would push her down, she thought. But the crazy woman just stared and Celine saw a look of concern in her face.
“Why?” The woman asked. Celine was frightened. Suddenly she did not want to die, not like this. She looked around. The few around were too scared of the lunatic that they hurried their steps away when they got close.
“Wha…aat?” Celine stammered.
“Why do you want to kill yourself?” The lunatic asked.
Celine swallowed hard. She was embarrassed. She was in pain.
The woman extended her dirty hand to Celine. Celine took it and moved towards her, to a safer spot. The woman bent to sit, to lean on a strong steel pillar. She turned the baby to the front, made herself comfortable and started to breastfeed the child.
“Sit here.” She ordered. Celine obeyed. The lunatic burst into laughter startling Celine. A curious passer-by ran away from them.
“Don’t be afraid, I was only scaring that nosy one.” She told Celine. Celine felt the woman’s eyes scrutinizing her from her head, slowly to her shoes.
“I bet your problems are not even half as mine and you want to kill yourself.” She said.
“I thought you were crazy..like crazy crazy…as in mentally ill.” Celine said surprised that the woman could fluently communicate.
“I am 100 percent healthy. Acting mad was the only portion for me.”
“Why, what happened?” Celine asked, oblivious of the surprised looks of passers by who could not understand how she, all smart and sane was seated on the floor close to a woman whose hair was dirty and unkempt, her face, black with soot, her clothes frayed and her feet cracked with deep brown crevices.
She took a stick lying around and threw it at them, letting out a loud scary roar at them. They took to their heels. Celine, for the first time in many days, let out a hearty laugh. The woman laughed too. Then they went silent.
“Do you have parents?” The woman asked.
“I do.” Celine answered, stunned at the question.
“Thank God you do… I don’t know who my parents are. I hear a mad woman gave birth to me, threw me in a latrine. While in there, I cried and someone heard and saved me.” She paused. Celine felt shook at the revelation.
“What? Then what happened next?” Celine asked, emotions strong.
“A family took me up. When I was seven, they died. The extended family did not want me because I wasn’t related to them by blood. I was taken to a children’s home. For some years I was happy until the home’s management changed.”
The woman’s child was now asleep. She was rubbing her index finger against the child’s cheek.
“I have done things for survival, bad things. Bad things have been done to me too. Like this child,I did not plan it. Some street urchins caught me, tied me and gang-raped me. I hear people say as I pass near them that even a mad person feels ‘thirsty’ when they see me carrying a child. It was worse when I was pregnant, they loudly asked who impregnated me, as they laughed in jest!”
She stared at Celine and then continued, “But I love life despite the shame,pain and loneliness. I believe I wasn’t born by mistake, neither was my child. God loves me and sees me. I can therefore not terminate my life because He is the one who brought me to this life. If my time comes, so be it, but I will not hasten it, I am too strong for that.”
Celine’s eyes were now watery. She thought she had problems. Men had used her. She had enjoyed their company too. Shame and guilt were eating her uo because of the bad decisions she had made and this had let her to hate life. Yet this woman had suffered enough plight and was still pushing on.
The woman asked her again why she felt the need to kill herself. She listened keenly, occasionally interrupting her to throw stones at perplexed onlookers.
When Celine poured her heart out, she felt a wave of relief. The woman did not look at her with a judgemental scornful look.
“You were not born perfect. We all sin. Let go of your past. Look at me and count your blessings because they are far too many. Walk with your head held high because those who mock you ain’t saints either.
However make an honest plea to your God for repentance. There’s nothing that God cannot forgive if pleaded with an honest heart. Forgive those who stabbed your back too. Be nice to people but don’t trust easily.
Finally change. Focus on what is important in your life. Live a life of caution. You have opportunities that some of us will never have, make use of yours well.”
Celine nodded at the advice of the woman whose face was so sooty that only her eyes were visible.
“Stand up now. ” She had changed her voice. “Walk to your hostel and remember my words.”
Celine wanted to ask her what her name was, to get to know her better. But the woman had changed. Suddenly the friendliness was gone. The fearsome attitude was back.
“Quick, go!” She ordered, roaring at her like an angry tiger. Celine tried one more time to talk but the woman was now frantically searching for a weapon to throw at her. Celine started to run. She did not stop until she got to the university premises.
She remembered the mad woman’s words,Walk with your head held high because those who mock you ain’t saints
The confidence intimidated the bullies. Soon the gossip around her died down. Those who tried to intimidate her with snide ridicule over her mistakes did not meet their purpose. She had forgiven herself.
Interested campus boys would ask her out. But she turned them all down. The insane’s woman words rang in her mind. Change…You have opportunities that some of us will never have, make use of yours well.
Celine took the wise words to practice. No more reckless living. No more pointless relationships. More meaningful friendships. She aimed at making her parents proud. She knew her past was past and there was no need to dwell on it. Her focus was now her future.
In fact she had decided that she would stay a chaste life. The next man she would sleep with and get pregnant for would be her husband. As for the abortions she had held a long talk with her Creator and after the talk she had felt lighter in her heart. This time she meant her promise to never be in such trangressions again.
All the four years of her course, she never had another conversation with the lunatic again. Sometimes she would see a smartly dressed person having a sane conversation with her. Most of the times the woman was eating from bins,feeding her child with the leftovers or chasing after frightened people.
Celine would smile, because she knew that the mad woman was only an angel disguised in dirt. The mad woman had saved and changed her life.
One of mamlipsete readers requested me to write about this , I hope this touches you. Forgive and love yourself. Repent and focus on your future.
Lots of love from the mad woman, womam.