ESCAPE FROM THE BOTTOMLESS PIT – Episode 2
By Ummu Abdillah
Opening my eyes,
“Where am I?” I ask myself as I look around the room.
“Hospital?” Seeing the needle and the blood drip, I’m convinced I’m in a hospital. “But why? I supposed to be dead! What the hell happened?” tears start flowing from my eyes, I’m crying again.
Enters Ummy, “you are awake! Alhamdulillah!” She says as she approaches me.
I turn my head to the other side, I don’t want her to see that I’m crying. I’m now realizing how much I’ve done her wrong by trying to kill myself. She has been enduring a lot for us ever since the death of our Abu, I can’t believe I wanted to pay her back with committing suicide. Poor Ummy!
She sits beside my bed and holds my hand but I still can’t look at her.
“Mar’yam, turn here and look at me” she asks softly much like pleading.
I was trying to betray her, the guilt won’t stop eating me. I turn to her but I can’t help the increase in the flow of the tears from my eyes. I notice her eyes have become swollen, she must have been crying.
“Ummy, I’m sorry…! I’m very sorry! Ummy… I’m… sorry!” I weep with gaspy breath.
She takes the tip of her wrapper and wipes off my tears with it.
“You don’t have to my dear. I think I’m the one at fault here, I shouldn’t have been harsh on you about it. I thank Allah azza wa jal for returning you to me. How ruined would I have become? Loosing one of the two kids He has left with me. I wouldn’t be able to live with it”
“Um…Ummy!” I cry aloud as she leans towards me and gives me a hug.
Ummy! She has always been the best of all mothers. Imagining how she felt when she saw me dying, my heart almost runs out from my mouth. I expected to be scolded but she is soft with me, after all I’ve put her through. She must have wailed, cursed herself and me or she must have silently sobbed and consoled herself with inna lillah wa inna ilaehi raajihun like she did eight years ago when she lost two of my siblings. Either one she has done, I can’t believe I made myself her source of sorrow. Were children only born to suffer their parents? This unfolds from my memory the events that happened some years ago after the death of Abby when I was just six years old.
Abby was a very successful business man before he met his death 10years ago along Lagos-Ibadan express way in a motor accident. After his death, began the suffering of my family. Then, we were four children in the family, brother Abdullah, brother Abdulateef, Salamah and I, I’m the last child. Abby left no will because he didn’t know he would leave sooner but it was said that he handed all of his properties to his only brother whom he nominated as his next of kin. As a kid, I wasn’t surprise hearing that because I know he loved and trusted his sibling more than the family he made because they lost their parents at early age and all they ever had were themselves. Even though Abby was aware of his untrustworthiness. Abby might have thought his brother would do it all well with his family in his place but instead, it all went tragic. Uncle manipulated Abby’s lawyer and made all the properties his except the 3 bedroom flat we are now living in. He promised to cater for us but it was just words on the tongue. Other members of the family tried to stood up and fought for us but they couldn’t because they are distant relatives and our grandparents were long dead. All I heard was that he has the right papers that make him rule over the properties. Although It sounds weird, I still can’t comprehend why it is so and Ummy will never talk to us about it. Anytime we or anyone wants to bring up the topic, she either shun or ignore us. Ummy who was a full house wife had to start working again, thank God she had little savings to start her foodstuff trade again. The days, months and years after weren’t easy for us, whenever we went to uncle for our needs, it was either he came up with a story and bluntly told us he doesn’t have or he promised and later failed us. Ummy remained silent about it until two years later when my brother, Abdullah wanted to do his WAEC examination. Ummy couldn’t afford the whole fees and forced herself to ask uncle some amounts but she was turned down. She fought him that day and threatened to file a lawsuit against him. On the third day, brother Abdulateef and Salamah were returning from school when they were crushed on the road by a car. It was the day I lost my two siblings, the saddest moment of our lives. Uncle came to visit for condolence and silently threatened Ummy,
“If you don’t retreat then be ready to loose all your children in this fight”
Ummy didn’t wail but sobbed a little repeating the same statement over and over again,
“Inna lillah waInna illaehi rajihuun…”
She washed and shrouded them herself without allowing anyone to help. She became so silent and mute after the burial that I thought I’ve lost her to a different world, I was so scared. The day after, she woke up early in the morning and started sobbing again. Brother Abdullah and I tried to console her as we cried along but she kept muttering the same words “Inna lillah waInna illaehi rajihuun”. She later rub off her tears and said to us,
“I believe this is Allah’s decree and no one’s doing… The Prophet (peace be upon him) already said a woman whose children died would be screened from the hell fire by them. I shouldn’t be crying… Which of the bounties of my Lord will I deny?”…
“Ummy! I’m ruined, my life is ruined” I keep sobbing
“Stop it! Your life isn’t and won’t ruin, in as much as you are alive and healthy. This is just a bent and not a cut, so you are the one to choose how straighten you want it to ever be again.”
I place my hand on my stomach, “is it still there?”
“It’s still there for now”
She stares deeply into my eyes waiting for the words I will utter next but instead I burst into tears again. Why are you still here? Do you really want to sabotage my future? Can you just please go away for now? I wish it could hear my words but I guess it couldn’t. Poor child! I’m the one at fault, I’m the one that fell for deciet! I’m the one that mistaken infatuation for love!
She uses her hands to rub of my tears, “now, you have to rest before the doctor comes here and I’m quickly going home now to prepare dinner”
She adjusts my pillow and covers me with a blanket, she leaves. I close my eyes but can’t catch a sleep, my brain spinning about the thoughts of what will happen to me next.
The door opens and I open my eyes. Enters our family doctor, along with him is a nurse.
“My Mar’yam, Asalam’alykum” he greets with a broad smile which communicates more than happiness.
“Wahlykum salam” I reluctantly reply
He checks the pint of blood drip I’m receiving and presses some parts of my stomach.
“Do you feel any pain?”
I shake my head
I shake my head again in response.
“Good! I think you are now in good shape so I can now talk to you.” He folds his arms and glares at me, “Mar’yam, do you know you are wicked?”
I look away from him, although I escaped Ummy’s scolding, I have known I will receive different scolding and mockery from different people. Here, it has started…
“Do you know pregnancy is a special risk factor for suicide attempt? You didn’t only want to commit suicide but wanted to kill an innocent foetus which was peacefully where it was before you pull it to come over to you. Didn’t you see this coming while you were enjoying your time with that guy? I think you went to madrasah, do you think the after life will be easier for you after committing such a great sin? I’m not that a knowledgeable Muslim but I remember this hadith where the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said he who commits suicide by stabbing himself will keep on stabbing himself in the hell fire. Do you want to keep eating rat poison in the hell fire if you were to die? Allah warned us not to harm ourselves not to talk of killing ourselves… Mar’yam!” He unfold his arms and put them by his waist “you dissapoint me! Anyway, I’m assigning counsel for you before you are discharged”
He collects a notepad from the nurse and writes in it. I sneak a stare a him, tears gathers in my eyes again. What he said strikes my cereberal hemisphere, I didn’t really think well before eating the poison, it would have been hellish for me there compare to what I’m going to face on earth!
“Now that you have been given the antidote which has stopped the effect of the poison, your bleeding has also been controlled and the blood transfusion is ongoing, you are fine. We have scan the baby and the fetal heart rate is within normal range and there is no fetal malformation, so the baby also is ok.” He hands the book and pen to the nurse and faces me again, “this life is beautiful my dear and it is very very sure that you will die one day so you don’t have to be hasty. Let’s live in it together now that we have the chance and give it our best shot so that we can succeed in the hereafter. This is part of shaytan’s trick to hamper our life so that we are going to end up in hell with him. My dear, you have to stop being shaytan’s toy and live your life to the fullest.” He pauses and looks straight into my eyes, “Do I communicate?”
I nod in response, “thank you sir, jazaakallah khairan”
“Wa antum fajazaakumullah khairan. When your Mum returns, tell her to come and see me in my office, OK?”
I nod and watch him as he leaves.
Doctor Zubair, he has always been my mentor and role model! Coming to his hospital anytime I’m sick makes me want to become a doctor or a nurse. Last time I came here for a malaria treatment, I told him about my future ambition and he encouraged me by telling me his life story of how he started school all by himself and went to the university by only his mother’s help and support. He said he was from a polygamous family, his old dad had four wives and his mother was the youngest.
“Dad has many children who are very older than me, the person I think I followed was 15 years older than me. I’m the only child of my Mum and also the last child of the family. My Mum being very young and beautiful, I always wonder why she chose to marry such an old man but funny enough, I never ask her because I knew how much she was regretting it till her death. Dad had the money to sponsor me even if I were to study abroad but he didn’t because he thought he will never live to reap my fruit. So he saw no reason to sponsor me, he has forgotten that he brought me into this world, he has forgotten that I’m not his but Allah entrusted me to him, he has forgotten he will be questioned by Allah about me, he has also forgotten that his life is only with Allah and only Him can make it either short or long. Here we are now, Mum is gone and dad is still alive. Glory be to Allah, I’m the only filial son among all his children. Others don’t care about him and probably praying for his death because he is now very old, everyone only faces their families… So, Mar’yam I’m just telling you this to let you know that in this life no matter the situation and circumstances you find yourself, in as much as you have the will, the way will always appear in front of you. You should learn to control every situation you find yourself and do not let the situation control you. I know your family is a mess for now but that shouldn’t affect your future, I love ambitious kids especially females. In your hand is a pen to write how you want your destiny to be fulfilled. I wish you best of luck my dear” he said to me on my last visit to his hospital.
“But here I am today with a shattered hope for my future” I start sobbing again till I gently drift to sleep.
Seeing a lonely girl crying, I extend my hand towards her but I can’t reach her. Trying my possible best to reach her but to no avail. I want to console her, I want to wipe her tears, I want to tell her everything will be okay but I can’t. I keep trying but I can’t. She keeps crying and uttering some words which I try to listen,
“Please save me! Save me..!” She keeps crying
Who is she? I don’t know but I’m feeling more compassion towards her. I’m feeling hurt seeing her crying. Who is she?
I wake up and find myself crying. I look around and realize I’m still at the hospital. I’ve been dreaming but why are the tears there?
The door opens abruptly, enter my brother and two women who are our neighbour. My brother offers them seats and leans against the wall opposite me. He glares at me that I can feel his eyes boring holes in my body. I understand that look; stupid girl! Foolish girl! Ungrateful girl! Cheap girl! Whore! Harlot! Slut! Yes, I admit, I deserve those names.
“Mar’yam, how is your health now” asks the first woman.
“Alhamdulillah” I reply
“Hope you aren’t feeling pain any where and what exactly happened to you?” Asks the second woman.
What exactly should I tell them happened to me? That I’m pregnant and tried to commit suicide? I don’t think I can give such an answer. I stare up at my brother who is still glaring at me without uttering a word not to talk of answering them in my place.
I’ve known this woman to be one of the busybody on our street, what should I say?
“I saw blood on your cloth that day, What happened to you Mar’yam?” She asks again.
Why so persistent? “I’m just…”
My brother cuts in, “she is pregnant, she just had some complications and Alhamdulillah all is well now”
Tears suddenly gather in my eyes, how can he easily tell them that? Does he ever care about me?