Maya opened the door and entered into the living room trepidatiously.
‘Mama?’ she cried. ‘Are you here? Are you ok?’ she asked again. She was fearful about what she might see on entering the house. The last time she visited her mother, six months ago. She found her curled up on the floor of the kitchen bleeding after slitting her wrists.
‘I hope she remembered to take her medication’. Maya thought to herself. She cautiously went up the stairs of her mother’s house, opened the door to her bedroom and found her mother sitting on a bed and staring out of a window.
‘Hi Mama, how are you?’ she asked. Maya’s mother looked at her and responded with a big smile.
‘Maya baby, how are you?’ ‘My, look how you’ve grown into a beautiful young lady’, she said pleasantly. ‘How’s your father?’
Maya breathed a sigh of relief; her mother seemed lucid and responsive.
‘Daddy is fine’, she answered. ‘He misses you and wishes to see you soon.’
Maya’s mother and father were estranged after years harrowing incident. Maya had never seen her mother like that before. She still remembered the incident vividly.
Maya was only twelve years old at the time and the day was a generally normal one. It was the last day of school before the Christmas holiday and Maya was extremely excited as she and her family would go on lavish trips to the U. S. or Europe to visit relatives and go shopping. Her mother was in her usual happy mood, making breakfast and singing as she cooked.
Bobby, Maya’s older brother by one year was running late as usual and her father Peter was reading the Daily Gleaner while drinking a hot cup of black coffee. It was a generally normal day.
Maya was dropped at school by her mother and kissed goodbye as always and joined her friends at her junior school while her brother was dropped at the adjoining high school. The girls ran giggling to class, excited about the class party that was to take place.
After Morning Prayer, the class party started and all the children were laughing and playing games, eating or dancing to the music that was playing. All was well until a loud crash was heard outside. The teachers ran quickly out of the classrooms commanding the students to stay inside. Maya was excited and scared all at the same time.
“Nothing interesting ever happens at my school”, she thought.
Loud screaming could be heard outside as the teachers tried to restrain a crazy woman shouting.
‘Gimmie mi pickney dem!’ ‘Mi wa’n mi pickney dem!’
‘Calm down!’ ‘Calm down Mrs. Robinson, your children are fine!’
Maya froze for a moment as she thought to herself, my last name is Robinson. But after careful thought, she remembered that there were six people in her year group with that last name and countless others in the year groups below her.
All the children were excitedly running to the windows trying to see what was going on outside. Maya could barely see anything, only making out a female with crazy looking hair and a knife in her hand. Maya was suddenly knocked over by the crowd of children standing at the window as they quickly ran towards the door. The crazy woman burst through the doors of the sixth grade class still screaming and wailing.
Where is mi daughta! Maya! Maya, where are you” the woman screamed. Maya quickly stood and moved closer towards the woman waving the knife at the teachers to keep them at bay.
‘Mama!’ Maya cried in dismay, finding it hard to believe that her mother, calm, sweet, loving Mrs. Angela Robinson was behaving like a deranged rabid animal. At that, Maya’s mother looked at her vicious, fearful eyes. Her mother moved towards her with the knife mumbling crazy, inaudible words. She grabbed Maya on her arm, waving the knife at the teacher and children alike. Simultaneously Maya’s mother tripped over a back-pack and fell face first into the snack table at the class party, still holding her daughter.
Food was everywhere and Maya’s mother lay there passed out. Maya wept uncontrollably as the children and teachers from her class and all the other classes looked at the mess of her and her mother in horror.
The police and the hospital came to receive statements from the teachers and take her mother to the hospital. Maya and her brother were taken home by her father and they sat at home in silence. The incident was a year ago and they still had not discussed it.
Maya’s thoughts returned to her and she was back with the mother having a conversation. The nurse entered to five her mother the medicine prescribed by the psychiatrist; it wasn’t until after that horrid incident at school that the family discovered that their mother had bipolar disorder.
Maya’s Mother now lived alone with a twenty-four hour nurse in the family home, while Maya, her brother and her father lived together in a rented apartment, afraid that their mother would erupt into another episode, this time maybe causing all their deaths.
‘So how’s your brother?’ Maya’s mother asked. Bobby, Maya’s brother, had not been able to even look at his mother after the incident as he was ashamed that she was, in the words of his friends, a crack-pot and a Looney-bin.
He’s fine Mama. He still plays football and is doing very well in school, Maya said to her mother who nodded approvingly with a blank expression. Maya knew that she was only trying to hide the pain that was so conspicuously/visible in her eyes.
You know he still loves you very much, Maya said reassuringly to her mother. At that statement, one tear fell from her mother’s eye and she began to sob quietly as if she was an embarrassed child. Maya gently consoled her mother, holding her in a tight embrace.
In that moment, May did not see a monster, a crock-pot or a Looney, she only saw the woman who, only a year ago, would have been holding her in the same embrace, reminding her that she is loved and that things would be okay.
She saw her mother.
Second Year Law Student
Faculty of Law UWI Mona