She watched the passers-by in town. She was chewing a piece of paper. It was sweet, sweeter than the straw of grass she had just swallowed. She liked the brown papers,they had a kind of salty taste. The white ones were too sugary.
Like most mentally challenged persons, her mind played tricks on her everytime. One present action would trigger a memory of her past life and she would re-live the moment like it was happening now.
A kind woman holding a child dropped a note in front of her. The mad woman remembered when she had small children. Could this be her son? She started to run after the woman with the child, voices telling her that the child was hers. The woman upon seeing the mad woman chasing her, started to run holding her child firmly, screaming. The mad woman stopped the pursuing, she hated screaming noise.
She ran back to pick her note. It was not there. She saw a passerby looking at her. It must be him, he must be the thief that picked her note. She picked a stone and flung at him. She missed hitting him by an inch. He came to her, fury all on his face. She remembered her abusive husband and started to run away. She imagined it was him chasing to beat her up. She ran fast!
She looked back. He was not coming after her. She smiled. She looked around and saw the pieces of chicken circling around the grill in the hotel. She remembered how much she loved drum sticks. She had to get in and have some. She checked in her torn pockets. She had some pieces of torn papers. Her deceptive mind told her it was five thousand shillings. She was delighted. She could buy the whole hotel!
“Get the mad woman out, fast!” She heard someone say. They came to her, she made her order.
“Chicken, ugali!” She said. They picked her up, and took her outside. She remembered the gazebo she owned outside her mansionette. She sat down, near the hotel door. The voices were back, telling her she was in her gazebo, waiting for her order. They forgot to bring her order. She left, she was not hungry anyway.
Then the rain drizzled. She was sweaty. She remembered how she would come home from work late, fatigued from a hard day’s work. She would jump into the shower. She envisioned being in her bedroom , she started to undress her torn attire,oblivious of the shocked faces around her, women humiliated on her behalf and men already excited at her nudity. She went to the middle of the busy road and had her bath. The raging drivers honking dramatically.
“Mama! Dress up please!” It was a grocery woman, she wore an apron. The mad woman saw the apron and recalled how her maids would wear such aprons. Was she telling her supper was ready? These maids cannot let one have a shower in peace. She jumped from the shower and disappeared into the dark alleys of the tall buildings of the capital. She picked from the dustbins the left overs. As she ate them, she pictured herself in her dining room, a knife in one hand, a fork in the other. She wondered where her children were, were they still in their rooms?
She had to go and call them to have supper. She carried the expired yoghurt and rotten tomatoes with her.
“Emmy! Gilby! Emmy! Gilby!” She called out. She thought she was in her mansionette’s corridors. She was stinking! People were holding their noses. They wondered why the government could not get rid of these mad people.
It was dark. She was tired, tomorrow would be another day. Her mind took her back to that day she had a big deal with a company abroad. She re-lived that day. The deal would rake in millions. She had to sleep early. She went to her luxurious bedroom, to her king size bed. It was a makeshift, made of cartons in a small bush. She pulled a sack to her head , it was a colder night. She would buy a warmer duvet, she thought to herself.
Then he came, he nudged her with his foot. He was standing tall on her. His zip was open, revealing an excited manhood. She remembered her husband. How he made love to her when they once loved each other. She saw him as he positioned himself to her, penetrating her. He thrust inside her, she had woken his manly instincts when she undressed in public earlier. He had watched her luscious body , and planned to have her later in the night, again. He reached the peak and rose quickly, zipping himself up, disgusted at himself for sleeping with a mad woman. The guilt always came after.
She saw him leave. She recalled her husband leaving in the late of night only to resurface in the early morning. She drifted to sleep and was woken up by her churning stomach. She ran to the flush toilet (a hole in the ground). She threw up everything she had eaten the previous day. She remembered when she found out she was pregnant with her first born, Emmy.
She got worse the next few days. She took a piece of wood and made a call to her secretary, cancelling all her appointments. She did not leave her makeshift shack.The man still came to find pleasure in her body. She remembered when she found out her husband was cheating on her. She could not stay alone anymore. She feebly walked around the streets of the capital city.
Then she could not walk anymore. She was too weak. She held herself to a passerby who shook her hand off in disgust. She fell down unconscious. A curious crowd formed.
“This is the mad woman who stays in that bush!”
“Is she dead?”
“No, look she is still breathing!”
“Leave her to die, the world is better without these mad people in the streets”
“Who even has the guts to help a mad woman. What if she turns against you when she wakes up!” The crowd roared in laughter as the mad woman woke in and out of consciousness. Then a woman from the crowd came closer to the mad woman.
“Don’t come any closer. She might bite!” A man said causing another hubbub of laughter.
“I know this woman. This is Mama Emmy! Oh My God! This is Mama Emmy!” The woman became frantic. The mob stared at her. She could not be another mad woman. Not with the costly looking suit she had worn, a flawless wig and perfect make-up painted on her face. She took out her car key from her purse and pointed it to the road. An alarm rang from a double cabin deluxe Toyota Hilux.
“Quick, take her to that car.” She told her two workers who had accompanied her to buy some building materials from a nearby hardware.
“Do you know what you are doing madam?” The hardware owner asked agitated that the mad woman had made him lose a potential customer.
“This is one of the richest women in this country. I worked for her as a househelp. If it were not for her, I would have nothing!” The woman said ,pointing at the mad woman and the horde of onlookers gasped at the astounding news.
“Then why is she here?” An inquisitive one asked.
“Her husband told us she was dead.” She said leaving the crowd with more questions. She handed one of the workers the key to her car.
“Drive to the mental hospital. I will stay with her here at the back.” She said.
The mad woman was still unwell. She thought she would die. She thought of her children. She wanted to see them one more time, to hug them and hear them make demands from her.
“No, I don’t want to die!” Her good samaritan Isabel heard her.
“You will not die madam, we are taking you to hospital to get treated.” Isabel ordered the doctors for special care for the mad woman. She was ready to pay whatever they demanded. As long as her former employer got better.
She came to see Mama Emmy everyday. The hallucinations were dying slowly. She slowly understood what was going on around her. Three months later, she was ready to be discharged.
“How can I thank you my dear Isabel?” Mama Emmy asked.
“Madam, you don’t have too. You already did when I was your employee. You were the best boss I ever had. My kids have finished school because of you madam, I have a decent house all thanks to you. And the business you opened for my husband has flourished,we are now a big company. I will always feel indebted to you.”
Mama Emmy looked at her former employee. She was the one indebted to her. If it were not for her,she would still be in the streets, eating leftovers, allowing her body to be devoured by strangers and humiliating herself with her shameless mannerisms.
“Madam, may I ask, what is your next plan?” Isabel asked.
Mama Emmy smiled at the question.Then with the smirk still on her face,she gave the reply.
“I have already called the banks to tell them I am not dead, the accounts have been frozen. My husband and his side chick cannot access any penny there. I have asked the bank manager to hush about my ‘resurrection’. I want to see their faces when they see the woman they injected that substance that caused me to lose my sanity, leaving me to die, is still alive and stronger! ” The two women laughed out loud at that prospect.
“Madam, the doctor says you were pregnant.” Isabel enquired.
“Yes, about that, let us go back to the avenue you found me.” Isabel never questioned Mama Emmy. She was the smartest woman she had ever met. Her decisions were always well calculated. She looked admirably at the new Mama Emmy, her dirty dreadlocked hair had been straightened to a nice permed ponytail. Her face was smooth, long lashes and her lips were a shade of purple. She had a figure hugging exquisite dress and wore a pair of purple priced shoes. She stepped out of the car oozing power.
She walked to an Indian shop but did not walk in. She stood by the door and glared at the watchman who was now saluting with all meekness. Then he had a closer look at her. He felt feeble in his knees. He started to tremble. She signalled the policemen who she had asked to stand by. They picked him up, reading his rights.
She walked back to the door and broke down. Isabel embraced her friend. Mama Emmy wiped her tears.
“That pervert would come to me every night and take advantage of me. To think that I was pregnant of him.” They both silently were glad that she had lost the baby.
“Driver, take us to the airport.” Mama Emmy ordered. Isabel marvelled at the competence of this woman. She had already booked tickets to her home county, a two hour flight.
“Buckle up friend, get set, we are about to get back what is rightfully ours. Money, land, houses,everything, but most of all, my children.” She paused and held her tears from flowing. “God,I miss those kids!”
Isabel shuddered at what was coming for Bob and his mistress Tatiana. Mama Emmy was a scorned lioness whose territory had been taken away. It was time to reclaim it. Hell was about to break loose.