Dr Maria Tlhare had lost weight, she looked nothing like her age. He face was wrinkled from worry and her eyes dark with fear and hatred, but no one knew this except her and her mirror. The old mattress tore her overall as she stepped on the plastered cemented floor. But the coldness did not even bother her. She felt how different everything was. Everything had changed. She had not been speaking to anyone since she got here. It was silent and it numbed her.
‘Ready to join in the session?’, Dr Spike put his hand on her shoulder. Being a thirty year old psychologist who worked with Maria in many cases, it was difficult to put the words across to his mentor.
‘I guess I am’, faintly answering whilst standing up.
In that moment, she felt as if her feet were anchored to the ground and she could not move.
‘Are you sure today is right?’, Dr Spike concernedly asked.
‘I have to do it sometime’.
The hallway was filled with movements, voices and the smell of metal bars. It was so dark and eerie that when they entered the counseling room, the light was unkind to both their eyes.
When Dr Spike introduced Maria to the group, she felt discouraged. Usually she was the one introducing herself to clients who became patients. But the place and the time did not allow and she had to swallow her pride.
‘You can come seat next to me’, the gentleman offered. ‘I’m Brandon’, he let out his hand and she could not shake it but looked at it, looked at him then sat down.
‘So, who is starting?’, Dr Spike prompted.
After ten minutes or so, ‘The surgical wing was never silent’, Maria broke the silence.
‘You are a doctor?’, Brandon’s face lit up.
‘Lets give Maria her chance to speak then question later’, Dr Spike assured the group.
‘Its ok. I was a surgeon for 15 years, until a few days ago’, she regretfully replied.
Silence suddenly creept in and cold air rushed in at the same time.
‘There was always a patient coming in and out of the operation rooms, of diagnosis, of families being told their loved ones had passed on amongst other things.’, she was shocked at how her narrative got people listening.
She continued, ‘That is why I chose medicine, specifically surgery. I never liked silence. Silence brought back bad memories which I would rather not delve to at this point. What I’m trying to tell you is that I had it all figured out. Loved my job and its perks. Though the inevitability of losing a patient always hung over me. It never scared me to do the impossible. I was born to cut through the skin and fix whatever was in there. It was my destiny.’
‘Then how are you here? Not out there saving lives?’, the big breasted tattooed woman bellowed.’I’m Nancy’, faking a smile.
‘Life brought me here.’ standing up to look out the window. ‘But you can never understand’.
‘I killed a patient once. Well not intentionally, I prescribed the wrong medicine. I guess I will understand’, Nany smiled genuinely this time.
But it was beyond her to comprehend. How calmly Nancy spoke about her story.
‘Time up!’, the guard interrupted.
‘I don’t think I can do this’, Maria’s face was weary now.
‘The court adjourns tomorrow. There is no other time’, Dr Spike tried to reassure her.
‘I did not plan for any of this to happen in the way it did. I thought he was dead. I thought I would get over everything.I, I, I can’t do this’, holding on to Spike’s hand.
‘I know. We will get through this. See you tomorrow?’.
Night came in quickly that day. And she always woke up in sweat. Wet from nightmarish dreams that reminded her how she stole her chance and threw it away. But she would always sigh in relief. How all of this was a break she needed.
The siren was louder than all the other days the next morning.
‘Ready?’, Dr Spike was early, as usual and she was not ready. She was not ready for any of it.