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Effe rides the elevator to the ground floor.
Eyram and her father are beside her.
She has just been discharged by the new CEO of Eden Hospital, Doctor Gabriel Anaman, and asked to take things cool and slow.
She is still terribly worried.
Mr. Ntim has called her early in the morning that Chris would be discharged from his private hospital that evening.
He said Chris plans to travel outside the country the next night for a very long time. Mr. Ntim promised he would come for Effe and take her to see Chris early in the morning.
When they get to the ground floor they exit the elevator, cross the reception and go outside towards the car park.
Wait here, my dears, whilst I go and bring the car.
I’m okay, Daddy. I’m fine!
You stay put, young lady! Let that granddaughter inside there rest for me!
Effe and Eyram both laugh.
I don’t want a girl now, Daddy! First a boy, a junior for my Chris, and then a girl!
A girl! A girly! Girly, girly, girly, girl!!!
They all laugh, and then Effe’s eyes fall on the huge, pink building across the car park.
The EDEN ASYLUM
The laughter dies from her face and her face suddenly becomes sad. She looks at her father and sister.
Can you guys wait for me, for a while? There’s something I must do.
What, Ef? Something about Chris?
No, Rammy. Elaine. I haven’t seen her since she was taken to the Asylum for post-partum psychosis. I think I must see her. She’s still family, you know? I’m going to see her!
My sweet pumpkin, are you absolutely out of your mind? That girl hated you, even when she was sane! Now that she’s raving-mad, the sight of you could make her go absolutely bonkers and attack you!
Dad! She’s not mad! She’s just sick!
What sick? The hospital is for sick people. Asylum means madness! She can hit you with something! Look, we’re all sorry for her, but come on… don’t do this!
I must, Dad, I must. To err, they say, is human, and to forgive, divine. I’m going to see her! She needs all the love that she can get. That’s the only medicine for her condition.
Eyram and Ken exchange glances, but they know nothing will distract Effe once her mind is made up.
Fine, fine, fine! But I’m coming with you!
Yeah, me too!
They pass through the formalities at the EDEN ASYLUM.
Since Effe is well-known and loved, they are ushered into the serene gardens of the asylum.
Some of the inmates are here, being attended to by caring nurses.
The doctor in charge is a portly fifty-eight-year-old veteran called Dr. JOE DUNCAN.
I’m glad you’re here, Effe. Elaine’s malaise is a very complex one, and I believe you’re key to her healing. I left voice messages for you. I even booked an appointment with your Secretary, and she fixed me for tomorrow.
The garden is very beautiful indeed. The objects are few, but the green park is wide and well-kept. There are benches and huts, and miniature animal statues.
Really? Sorry. Things have been a bit hectic for me.
You sure Effe is safe here, Doctor? I don’t trust the people here at all! I just saw a woman screaming in the corridor that her penis is missing!
Really, Mr. Kedem!
But it’s true! See that man over there with the bald head who’s looking over his shoulder and trying to see something at his back? I asked if I could help him, because I thought his back was itching him, or there’s something there! Do you know what he said? He told me he’s just trying to kiss his buttocks and see if his buttocks will marry him! What kind of madness is-
Joe Duncan stops walking and looks at Ken Kedem with barely restrained anger.
Do you realize, Mr. Kedem that you’re INSIDE an ASYLUM, and things here are a bit different from what pertains outside this building?
That’s what I’m talking about, Sir! Is this place safe for my daughters?
I can assure you, Mr. Kedem, that your daughters are perfectly safe!
Effe puts a hand on Dr. Duncan’s arm.
Please, doctor, don’t take my father’s words to heart.
Joe Duncan nods and gives Ken Kedem a very dark look.
Here, Elaine is just over there.
They find Elaine dressed in a pretty pink dress, and not one of the white gowns of the inmates.
She’s sitting under the shade of a tree, and she is making drawings in a drawing book.
She does not look up when the little group of people reach her.
Effe sees that the drawings are all pictures of headless babies, and her heart immediately goes to Elaine, and gentle tears p---k her eyes.
Can I speak to her?
Elaine, dear, look who’s here to visit you.
Elaine does not mind him, but turns a new page and starts sketching another baby.
How’re you, Elaine baby?
She still does not respond.
Well, we tried. Can we leave now, before somebody comes and tries to marry my buttocks?
What at all is wrong with you, mister?
I’ve never seen a more impatient doctor like you ever!
Effe slowly sits down besides Elaine, and speaks.
Elaine goes rigid suddenly. Her whole body becomes so still as if she is carved from stone.
She remains like that for a very long time, and she does not look up.
Effe looks at the doctor, concerned.
Joe Duncan motions to her to go on speaking.
Well, I’m sorry I’ve not been able to come and see you until now, Elaine!
Elaine grips the colour pen she is using so tightly that veins stand out on her arms.
Suddenly she begins to tremble quite violently, and she shakes her head fiercely.
She’s starting, Effe! She’s beginning to CHARGE, dear, you better-
(angrily cutting in)
Oh, just shut up already!!! Haaaaba! If you can’t stand the heat just get out!
Are you sure you’re a doctor? Are you sure your patience level is apt for an establishment like this?
You’re still my sister, Elaine. Yes, I was angry at you at first, but it all turned out beautifully, and I came to say I love you!
Elaine looks up suddenly, and her face is screwed up with emotion! She is remorseful, she is scared, and she is crying.
No, Effe, you don’t love me! You don’t miss me! I’m terrible! I did you wrong! You hate me! Go away, you hate me! YOU HAAAATE MEEEEE!!
Effe is crying now, and she holds out her arms to Elaine.
Oh, Elly! I don’t hate you! I can never hate you, dear! I hate seeing you like this! I love you, Elly! I love you! Whatever happened is behind me now, and I can’t hate you, dear!
(shaking her head violently, weeping)
Nooooo! Noooo!! NOOOOOOO!!! DON’T LOVE ME! HATE ME, EFFE, DON’T LOVE ME. HATE MEEEEE!!!!
She moves away from Effe, scrambling on her buttocks, shouting and screaming.
Effe feels a touch on her shoulders and looks up. It is Eyram, and she’s pointing at Doctor Duncan.
The doctor is standing behind Elaine, holding a piece of paper on which he has written some words hastily in block letters: TELL HER YOU HAVE FORGIVEN HER.
Effe leans forward and grabs Elaine’s hands.
I forgive you, Elaine! I’ve forgiven you!!
Elaine goes very still, but the tears are like great rivers that fall down her cheeks.
Effe has never seen such a torrential outpour of tears ever in her life, and it burns her heart to the core.
(in a little lost voice)
You forgive me, Effe? You really forgive me?
Oh, Elly! Yes, yes, yes! I’ve forgiven you!! I’m not holding anything against you!
And I’m still your sister, Effe? Am I still your favourite?
Doctor Duncan touches Eyram’s arm.
You’ve never stopped being my sister, Elly. But you know Eyram is my fav! That one I’ve never lied to you about that! But you’re my second fav, as I always tell you, Elly!
Elaine suddenly smiles, and it is a beautiful smile, but the tears still flow, like a burst dam that cannot be plugged.
Yes, Rammy is fav, then Elly is second fav!
Then you, Elly, then you!
Suddenly Elaine rushes forward and hugs Effe fiercely, and she begins to bawl very loudly in a heart-breaking way.
Ei! Why is she screaming like that? What have you been giving her?
Effe! I sinned against you! I was greedy and ungrateful and evil! Forgive me Effe, please forgive me!! I took your husband! Forgive me, please forgive me! I slapped you! Forgive me Effe, please forgive me! I insulted you! Forgive me Effe, please forgive me! I –
Ei! My God! She can’t stop!!
Mr. Kedem! You’re really trying my patience!!!
Effe pats Elaine’s back and hugs her tightly.
I hold nothing against you, Elaine!! I’ve forgiven you! I love you.
Even Eyram is crying now.
Doctor Duncan takes out his hankie and dabs at his eyes. Ken Kedem squints at the doctor with an expression of shock on his face.
What? Are you also crying? Are you kidding me? What’s the matter with you? Are you sure you’re a qualified doctor?
There is sudden applause, and Effe realizes quite suddenly that they are surrounded by quite a number of the staff.
Thank you, Effe! Thank you so much!!
(heaving a great sigh)
Well, that’s the end of the battle.
(wiping her tears)
She’s okay. Right?
Elaine takes a look around her, and suddenly she scowls slightly.
Where am I?
Well, come with me, dear. I need to have a little conversation with you.
(looking suddenly scared)
What’s happening, Effe? Where am I?
(hugging Elaine again)
Trust me, go with Doctor Duncan. He can explain better.
You will be here, please?
I’m not going anywhere without you, Elaine. I’ll be waiting right here.
Doctor Duncan takes Elaine’s hand and slowly walks away with her.
The staff present applaud again, and they begin to shake Effe’s hand one after the other.
Ken Kedem is staring at one woman in particular. She is a tall, slim staff, and she is extraordinarily beautiful although she is elderly.
Her eyes are very sad indeed, and she turns away slowly.
When she begins to walk away, Ken quickly grabs Effe’s arm.
(in an awed voice)
Effe, Effe, darling, did you see that woman?
He is pointing, and Effe looks at the back of the retreating woman, and a little frown breaks her face.
No, Dad. What about her?
Come with me! Come with me quickly!!
The woman is headed for a little hut where an inmate, a woman, is trying to lick her own elbow.
Ken Kedem quickly catches up with the woman, touches her arm, and stops.
The woman turns around slowly, and when Effe sees her face she goes cold all of a sudden, and goose pimples cover her whole body.
Eyram, who is also following, gasps with absolute shock!
My God! My Sweet Jesus!!!
The woman looks at them with uncomprehending eyes.
What’s wrong now?
The three people cannot speak at first.
The woman’s face looks exactly like Chris Bawa.
Effe knows, even before speaking, that she is looking at the mother of Chris Eden Bawa.
To be continued