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TOP LADY - Do not judge a book by its cover

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My imagination was propelled by a state of nostalgia and my heart submitted to new possibilities. It was only then that I realized that it was never my dream to be hung on an illusionary love nest; it was never my desire to have my hands tied like a bandit and it was not the time to remain gullible to these realities. I had attempted to 'fit in' only to welcome what the occupied spaces carried. This was not my destiny - let alone, my fight. It occurred to me that all I had to do was be myself. My name is Aadya, a twenty three year old 'young adult' with a boundless zest for life, I am compelled to strive against all odds and break the norms that exist within harsh societal expectations. In addition, life is not that simple for young idealists. My journey encompasses new ventures, opportunities, romance, challenges, growth, discoveries, as well as newly found connections. Cumbersome would be the perfect word to describe this journey.

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Chapter One - Murder?

Sarah walked into her office with a red short sleeved blouse and a black pencil skirt. I had never seen her with a blouse untucked or hair let loose. She tied it into a high ponytail and wore kitten heels that matched the colour of her skirt. She had a kitten heel collection, she always wore them in every appointment. On our previous appointment, she told me that the capacity of pain a lady agrees to withstand is measured by the heel height she wears. I barely wore heels though, and if anyone asked why, I would instinctively stare them deep in the eye until they looked away and that would be the end of the conversation.

Sarah gently placed her bag on her white silk desk chair and leaned against the desk, her entire body faced me. I had already arrived for the early eight o’clock appointment. Julia let me in - her assistant. Sarah’s office was filled with shades and tones. A lot can be said about a lady by the way her space is organized. This specific lady valued professionalism, and she ensured that she portrayed that in every aspect of her working environment; if those who worked for her overstepped the boundary, she would fire them in a blink of an eye.

“Julia.” shouted Sarah, her voice made the ceiling quiver.

Julia paced through the office hallway almost stumbling on her own feet. The sound of her stilettos got louder the closer she approached the office. Therefore, any second slower, Sarah would shout her name again; only louder and I would be stone deaf. She cleared her throat as she paced.

“Yes Doctor.” she caught her breath and responded.

Julia stood halfway through the door. She wore a white dress that curved her hips and had a V-shape above her breasts. The dress exposed her petiteness and its color did justice to her beauty. Sarah gazed at Julia, she had been working for her for six months. But, not once had she worn a dress to work. Despite Julia’s choice of outfit complimenting Sarah's office, she admired how the dress curved her hips. It fitted her perfectly. However, Julia never wore a smile in Sarah’s presence nor had she attempted to have a long conversation with her, the job description strictly stated that she had to be professional at all times. Given that, Sarah extended no compliment. Instead, she quickly recalled.

“Uh, Ms Aadya will have a cup of…” her brown eyes shifted from Julia’s dress to my round face, meeting mine halfway. I was seated comfortably on a J-shaped leather sofa. I felt at home.

“Cappuccino please. Two teaspoons of sugar. No added milk.” I responded politely.

“And a black coffee for me.” added Sarah, she spoke as if she was ordering from a coffee shop menu.

Julia nodded with a straight face and left. Silence and distant footsteps roamed the office. Sarah removed her bag from the chair, sat on it and gently placed her bag on the desk. She opened the first drawer and took a notepad out. The second drawer was where she kept all her client’s confidential documents. She kept it locked.

“You look better than the last time.” said Sarah, as she reached for reading glasses that she had placed in the drawer, along with the notepad.

She carefully wiped them and put them on then reached for a key to unlock the second drawer. I studied her before I responded. I said:

“I do feel better Doctor.” I sat upright and crossed my legs.

“At times, I feel a heaviness on my mind. It feels like…” I continued but failed to find a suitable term to describe my agony. I preferred to be as accurate as possible.

“You cannot think?” interrupted Sarah.

She critically analysed my reaction and pulled out a large brown document I assume had details of my entire life in it. She had never shared what she wrote in there.

“It feels like you cannot think, you want to say?” added Sarah.

Julia interrupted as she entered into the office and hogged Sarah’s attention with the sound of her stilettos. She walked past me with a steady posture as I wondered how she maintained it with such high heels. The thought was once more interrupted by her voice.

“Cappuccino. Two teaspoons of sugar. No added milk and a black coffee.” she said while she gently placed the cup holders on Sarah’s desk.

“Doctor?” she called.

Sarah meticulously stared at her red lips then opened the document she had just pulled out. Somehow Julia read between the lines.

“Mr Jacobs called the office.” reported Julia.

Mr Jacobs was Sarah’s husband. They had been happily married for 10 years. Sarah was forty-three and Mr Jacobs, forty-five, they shared two daughters and a son. Sherlyn 17 and Valerie 21, Jean 23.

“Yes, what did he need?” asked Sarah, with her eyes glued on the document, what she was reading had all her attention, even the mention of her husband did not shake her.

“He asked if you could pick Valerie up from the dentist at twelve.” reported Julia.

Sarah looked at her watch, it was wrapped around her arm like it was meant to block her blood from her arteries.

“I will call him. I am busy with a client.” responded Sarah.

“Is there anything else you need?” asked Julia, her arms neatly kissed at her back.

Sarah shook her head. Julia left the office quicker than she had come in as Sarah stood up from her chair and gave me the cup of Cappuccino and took a sip of her Coffee then gently placed it back on her desk.

She slowly walked towards me and asked:
“Do you want to know why I do what I do. Aadya?”

“I suppose you chose this career field Doctor. There came a time in our lives. When we were younger of course. Things might have been different for your generation. We had to stand with our shoulders high and walk right into the lion’s den – the centre stage, while our proud parents stared at our tiny souls. We had to say Hi. My Name is Aadya. When I grow up, I want to be a Lawyer.” I said, and placed the cup on the table in front of the sofa.

“And you Doctor.” I continued as I turned my body towards her and playfully pointed at her.

She gazed at my finger as I spoke, eager to hear what I had to say.

“You stood there with your tiny feet and said ‘I want to be a Psychologist.’ It is just a pity that I cannot imagine you with tiny feet. Any random person would say you do what you do because you love what you do. Getting into people’s heads!” I continued.

We shared a laugh. Sarah enjoyed sessions with me. Unlike her other clients, I had a sense of humour and never expected her to have all the answers merely because she held a greater mental capacity, as well as knowledge and experience. On other days she felt like she was being counselled by me.

“Close enough. However, I do what I do because my work allows me to find solutions to people’s problems. I also cannot think clearly sometimes and the frustration becomes unbearable. I experience headaches, moodiness and anxiety. Therefore, that feeling you have is of frustration and yes it weighs heavy because you might not have found a solution to something that constantly lingers and bothers your mind.” said Sarah.

“I have a game for you.” continued Sarah.

I smiled and clapped my hands, “I love games!”
Sarah took off her kitten heels. I reckoned that she wanted to be comfortable.

“Close your eyes Aadya. I want you to say the first word that comes to your mind. Now, this is a simple game. I say a phrase and you answer. Immediately.” commanded Sarah.

“Got it Doctor.” I said, while I closed my eyes and sat back on the sofa with both my hands on my laps.

“I am in awe.” said Sarah.

“Shocked.” with enthusiasm, I responded.

“I need a biscuit.” said Sarah.

“Desire.” I responded.

“Count to three now.” said Sarah.

“uh, numbers.” I hesitated.

“We are done now.” said Sarah.

“Completion.” I responded.

“I must say Aadya, I am impressed.” said Sarah.

“Proud.” I responded.

I suddenly felt a warm presence. She was seated next to me.

“Game Over. Understand that in this game. There is no right or wrong answer. You may open your eyes now and tell me how you feel.” commanded Sarah.

“Well, I feel like you are the only person that can ever get me to obey the rules.” I joked.

“I do feel lighter. Completely different from when I walked through that door.” I continued.

Sarah held my hand and said, “The point here is. With the work that you do and the kind of heart that you have. You will not find people that agree with you all the time and that is all well because you call the shots. However, try to listen to them. But, remember, always seek to find your own rhythm so that the people that influence you can only do so if they mean no harm. This is your life Aadya. Lead it.”

She slightly squeezed my hand and sent encouragement down my spine.

“What you are saying to me is that I am more in control of my life than what happens around me Doctor? I asked.

“No and Yes. This goes both ways. You need to learn how to follow before you can lead. Quite frankly, you are a born leader but you need to understand that not everyone has a heart like yours. Place this juxtaposition in a box. In that way. You are simply killing two birds with one stone. Lead. Follow. Lead. Follow.” clarified Sarah.

“I am a born leader!” I shouted as my hand uncontrollably ditched Sarah’s hand.

“I see it clearer now. The vision. I see it all.” I continued then finished the Cappuccino.

She had helped me regain the trust that I had lost in myself.

“Thank you Doctor.” I said.

Sarah stood up and walked to her desk to finish her coffee and said, “That would be all for today’s appointment Aadya. Our next appointment will be on the third week of the next month. Tell me. Do you still drink your anxiety pills?”

She drew a big circle on a date on the calendar. There were thousands of other circles on the calendar, they were marked in different colour pens.

“No.” I responded as I took two steps away from the sofa. “They make me feel like a manic.”

“Well. If you are too overwhelmed. Make use of your prescribed medication, will you? It is for your own good.” said Sarah, concerned.

“I will Doctor.”

I took my phone and called for an UBER and waited patiently in her office. Her next client had not come yet.

Julia entered into the office with a black file on her hand. She studied Sarah’s bowed head then sat on the sofa and browsed through the file. It was nine thirty. I had been waiting for an UBER for thirty minutes. All the drivers were far from my location so I had to wait longer.

“Doctor, Mrs Radebe said she will be late for today’s appointment. She said she had to drive back home.” reported Julia.

Sarah nodded. She was drawn into another document which stated that Mr Phillips, a thirty-seven-year-old man whom he had a session with just on the last week had committed suicide.


She signed and said, “All he had to do was to be honest with himself and his wife. How hard can that be.” She thought she had not said it out loud. Julia and I looked at her in confusion as she closed the document in frustration, then Julia continued with her duties and I walked around the room, admiring Sarah’s art paintings on the wall.
Sarah took her phone out of her bag and dialled her husband’s number. It rang four times before a masculine voice answered, “Nana.”

“Good Morning My love. I did not want to wake you. You looked so peaceful when you were asleep. Have you left for work yet?” asked Sarah.

Mr Jacobs travelled a lot. He had just gotten back from Mozambique, he had an annual business trip he had to attend. He was the Chief Executive Officer of a company which supplied goods all around African countries. He responded, “I am working from home today. I am fatigued. Valerie had asked me to fetch her from her dentist appointment. I do not want her to use that Bolt thing of hers, I do not trust it.
May you please fetch her Nana?”

I sign. I had been waiting for an UBER for over forty minutes and I wished I had been more like Mr Jacobs. INTUITIVE! Where was Shad when I needed him the most! I thought to myself.

“I should be able to pick her up Love. Will you tell her to be out by then?” asked Sarah.

“Yes Nana, I will let her know. Thank you. I will see you later”

As she was about to bid goodbye to her husband. She was interrupted by a knock on the door. When she faced up, Mrs Radebe had opened the door with tears falling on both sides of her cheeks. Her eyes - blood-red. She uttered the word, “I…”

She tried to speak but her voice denied her. Julia was already standing on her feet and Sarah’s phone was below her ear.

“I think I killed her.” She stuttered.
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