It wasn’t until a few days after she and her husband had dropped the mute girl in front of that very luxurious looking house that Lizzy happened on her again. She did not like the way fate was running them into each other and wished to heaven she could pass unnoticed.
Her wish was not to be granted because Emma recognized her immediately and waved from the distance, intending her to stop – she had thought about her for days after the incident at the hospital. She wondered if she was coming from the hospital again, this time without her husband. The answer was not close at all.
As heaven was her witness, Lizzy knew not how to stop the pain that overwhelmed her as frequently as she puked these days. Eight months had proved an insufficient amount of time to condone her healing in any way. The desire to unburden herself had led her to take many strolls in the nicer parts of the neighbourhood which was right ahead of her almost complete house in the developing part of the same Amasaman.
She was in her own world and on her own in this decision. She’d stopped going to her store in the local market a few months earlier- specifically when she found out about her pregnancy and as was the won't of their marriage, Aziz had not asked questions, only gone along with whatever he felt would make her heal.
When she stopped, it was because she was a little worn and wanted to rest a while, not because Emma had begun to walk towards her as she felt no need to wait and indulge her at all. When she came close enough to establish her presence, she wrote on her ever-present notepad “remember me” without the question mark.
Lizzy smiled and nodded before asking “how are you?” She was not eager to head home, but she was very eager to rid herself of her present company. But she asked anyway, “are you out of your house a lot?” Because she noticed Emma had waved at her from a house as nice as hers but was not the same number as the one they had dropped her in front of almost a week before. She wrote “yes… I like the streets too” smiling the whole time.
When Lizzy saw the response, she smiled too. She turned to join her without permission and Lizzy did not protest more out of politeness than a desire for companionship. These walks were her own therapy in every sense of the word.
A few months after the darkest dawn of her life, she’d sought a professional at the hospital where the nurse Mary was very interested in her. However, the blow had hit her hard when she found that there was no such facility for victims of any form of abuse and they were usually left with their own demons to tend or destroy.
Emma interrupted her thoughts. She was waving her notepad at her and stopped when she finally got her attention “you have a destination?” Lizzy shook her head in response and wondered if she always wrote in shorthand. But it made sense if she always had to write in time to not lose her audience.
Now they were smiling and walking together like old friends and the only odd thing about that was that Lizzy was enjoying the company only five minutes later. She noticed her make up again-it was as heavy as the day at the hospital- and she was just at home. If she mentioned it, maybe she’d be upset. Maybe she didn’t feel beautiful without it. There were those like that.
They’d just walked a few minutes before both women realized how fatigued they had grown. Ten minutes of slow walking felt like a power walk to them in their pregnant state and although one looked thinner than the other, the length of their stomachs could have measured same. “ we should sit here” Lizzy said pointing to a clearing with a full grown tree that she’d noticed before but never retired to and started to head there before her escort could afford a response.
She sat heavily on the ground and thought as little of the surface as possible until her butt touched the not too comfy grass. Her squint made Emma laugh but did not deter her from making a similar decision, followed by a very similar reaction. Sooner than later, their buttocks would get used to the discomfort, and then it would feel very normal, like a lot of things in their lives. When their arms touched lightly, I was all the warmth they both searched under
She sat heavily on the ground and thought as little of the surface as possible until her butt touched the not too comfy grass. Her squint made Emma laugh but did not deter her from making a similar decision, followed by a very similar reaction. Sooner than later, their buttocks would get used to the discomfort, and then it would feel very normal, like a lot of things in their lives. When their arms touched lightly, I was all the warmth they both searched under very different circumstance.
Emma was the first to write “Is this your spot?” “Yes,” she lied.
The silence that followed was only appropriate for the brevity of the exchange that purposely defeated nature’s plan for bringing them together. It was too long before Lizzy thought to ask “how far along are you?” “Eight months and a week,” she wrote it down fast enough to add “u?” This time, with the appropriate punctuation, Lizzy noticed. She said “Eight months, maybe we’ll have them on the same day,” that made even her laugh.
The mute began to write something down and then cancel it out quickly. When she raised the pad up it read “do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” but Lizzy was not sure she liked the latter so she lied again “boy” as quickly as that untruth had come out, another followed “ Aziz and I found out a month ago.”
What she didn’t understand was why she’d cancelled out something on the notepad- remnants of which she read a ‘b’ and a ‘t’. If she wanted her to know, she’d leave it there. But that in no way stopped her from being curious, only in her mind.
It was nearing dark when Emma’s back began to ache-almost as though her body was alerting her to go home before her husband arrived. But the company of another person who wasn’t her husband was very alluring and Lizzy hardly asked any invasive questions and yet in her company she wanted to spill her guts to her.
Plus this stranger who was becoming her friend would never dream of hitting her the way Kobbie would if she did not get home now before he did. Even if she thought she was strong enough to defend herself, the truth was, threatening to leave him every time he grabbed her too hard or slapped her across the face for trying to push him away, was not considered a defence style anymore.
Lizzy was just in the middle of a sentence “……we’d just moved in and the doors…” when she realized her new friend was ready to leave. “ There is no way it’s this late,” she thought to herself as she rose while supporting her ascent with the tree they had been sitting for all this while. She was certain Emma had heard nothing of what she almost revealed to her. So they walked back in silence, back to lives they both disliked, but which was theirs whether they liked it or not. Or not.
When she waved her for the second time that day, Emma’s action was now of familiarity and of the hope that she’d see this face again and maybe next time she’d tell her some of her stories. Or, if she was lucky Lizzy would finish the story she’d just started before she had to leave.
An entirely different discourse was going through Lizzy’s mind when she waved goodbye “I can’t believe I almost told a near stranger my darkest secret.” She was nice to hang around especially because she hardly interrupted when you spoke. “But she’s mute, what did I expect?” she mused. “Boy did she write fast when she meant to say something. It had to be all those years of practice” the joke was funny, even if she was the only audience. She knew she’d forget to tell Aziz about meeting Emma again.
Emma knew she’d forget to mention Lizzy to Kobbie, just like she’d forgotten to mention the incident at the hospital.