My first fizz therapy thing was something that I‘ll never forget ever in my life. School that day was lovely. I met Ms.Ripley after a real long time and told her why I had not come. Apparently, mama had spoken to her earlier. Then the kids all wanted to know why I had not come to school for so long so I told them my entire story. I told them all about the PTA meeting, the accident, the whole heaven thing, everything. It felt so good to be back in class with all my friends. As the day wound down, I noticed that Lisa seemed to be getting quite jumpy. I went up to her and decided it was time that I asked her about this. I couldn’t understand what was happening to her and I couldn’t take what was happening to her. I wanted her to be the same old Lisa that I had known. I called her to a side and asked her if everything was ok. She said, “Everything will be ok, it should be ok.” now I didn’t understand what she meant by that but I didn’t ask her again.
That afternoon uncle came and picked us up. He carried me from class into his car and Lisa sat up front. There was lovely music playing in the background, The Beatles I think it was. Uncle was slowly humming along with the song. It seemed like he was totally enjoying himself. We went out for lunch. It was fun eating in the car with music playing and then we went for ice creams. It was a lovely drive. Then we went to uncle’s place. He had a real nice house. It was a little far away from the main city but it was real charming. It had this real nice open space where we could run around. It was really beautiful. There were no neighbors around. Uncle had apparently inherited the land from his father and with it, the house. It was a lovely large house. It was perfect for children to grow up in. It was the kind of house that one saw in televisions. The only thing that seemed amiss was that the house looked empty. There seemed no life in the house. It was true what they said about a woman’s hand. As uncle pulled up in the driveway I asked him if he had any help to help clean up. He said he had Lisa and the two of them were good enough. On entering the house though, everything changed. The whole inside of the house looked gloomy and dark. All the blinds were shut and hardly any light entered the house. I wondered why they didn’t open the blinds. It would have been lovely with all the light coming in. Then uncle lead me straight to one side of the house. The rest of the house seemed to be locked up. Lisa seemed to have disappeared somewhere. He took me to this room that resembled the one he had back in the hospital. It had all those clinical charts and the human body taped to the wall. There was a bed on a raised platform just like back in the office. He placed me on the bed and then he shut the door.
Mama came to pick me up about two hours later. That was how long my therapy was for. On our ride back home I looked at her and then said, “Mama I don’t want to go back there.” Mama looked at me and then said, “Baba, listen. He is the best there is in this field and he can help you get better sooner than anyone else. He is good at what he does so I don’t want to hear any excuses. You will go there once every week. Your cast is coming off next week. After that you will ride on the us with Lisa to her house and I’ll pick you up from there once you’re done. Once you learn the way yourself, I might let you travel by bus. Alright?”
The next time I was in his house for the therapy session, I was playing outside with Lisa in the park when he came out. Lisa immediately fell quiet. I looked at him and without him telling me I knew it was time. I walked in and Lisa followed me inside. He had already gone in and was waiting for me in the room. As I reached the room, Lisa held my hand, I brushed it off and walked in. He shut the door behind me and locked it. I imagined Lisa waiting for me outside. After the session when I came out, she was standing by the door. We walked together to the park and continued with our game until mama came to pick me up.
I hated the dark now. I couldn’t stand it. I guess the truth was that I was scared of the dark. I had become like Lisa in a way.
Mama once was dropping me to the house and she said she wanted to watch but he wouldn’t let her. He said that if she was there, I wouldn’t concentrate on my work. I wouldn’t put in as much as effort as I ought to. That day was the worst. I came home feeling sore all over. I tried telling mama I didn’t want to go but she said I was making good progress and that he really was the best.
Now I had started going on my own and mama would pick me up afterwards or sometimes she would drop me and I’d come back on my own. I didn’t really want to go. It hurt me a lot. He made me do things that hurt but he said it was for my good.
One day mama saw my bruises as I was having a bath. This was the day she had picked me up from his place. She had come and at that time I was playing with Lisa on the tree. She asked me how I got them. I didn’t want to tell her. I thought she’d get angry if I told her. Then she gave me a knowing look and said, “I told you not to play rough. Sweetie, you have to be a little careful.”
The past few weeks had been unbearable. He had done something new. Something he had never done before and it hurt very badly. He said it was good for me but I knew this was wrong. How could it hurt so much and still be good for me? I didn’t want to go there anymore but if I didn’t go there, he’d call mama and tell her and then she’d ask me why I didn’t go there. She refused to let me stop going there because she kept telling me that he was the best for me.
Ms.Ripley had called mama to the school once, because she felt that I was not eating well enough as I seemed to be losing weight very quickly. Mama told her that I was eating well at home and it was probably that I was losing my puppy fat. She said it was normal for that to happen. I thought it was all the things that he was making me do that were causing me to lose weight. I didn’t like going there at all now. It was more like a forced thing now than anything. I liked playing with Lisa. She seemed to understand that I didn’t like coming there even without me telling her. At times Lisa and I would play inside the house. We’d go look at all the different rooms and she showed me where he kept his old books and memorabilia, her mama’s photo. She then took me to another wing of the house and showed me her room and his study. Inside were huge books on various topics, and an array of guns and rifles. We would play hide and seek with him and when he called for us we would not budge but stay hidden till he found us.
I wasn’t supposed to go that day, but I did. Lisa wanted me to come. She said she was scared so I went there. I had reached later than usual. It had started raining. By the time I got back, I was soaking wet. The dark didn’t seem to bother me anymore. I was late, later than usual. I had begun to stay out late but today was really late. Mama and dada would be worried but I was sure they’d have other things on their mind. When I reached home, I let myself in through the back door. The first thing I did was to go have a bath. I think mama and dada must have heard me move around upstairs because when I finished, they were waiting for me in my room. As I stepped out, I noticed mama had tears in her eyes and dada looked like he didn’t know what to say. I looked from one to the other and then back again and finally said, “What? What are you looking at?” then they asked me to sit down and then they told me. When they finished the both of them gave me a hug and left. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t think I could. Thankfully they left me alone to my thoughts. I thought over what had happened in the past one and a half years. How things had changed. There was nothing for me to do now. All that had happened had happened. As I stared out the window into the pouring rain, I could see tomorrow’s paper’s headlines…
Dr. Patterson murdered