Laura smiled at Ivy. She knew this young lady wasn’t as troublesome as she wanted everyone to believe. Hopefully, they would get to the root cause of her unending sarcasm. “Ivy, if you can take your mind backwards a bit, you’ll remember that you had a seizure sometime ago. Since my colleague, Nero, had ascertained that you hadn’t sustained any fatal head injuries from the accident, and as there were also no traces of epileptic patterns from the results of the brain scan your doctors conducted afterward, it’s safe to assume for now that the seizure you had was most probably psychogenic nonepileptic seizure. We believe that there must have been an underlying psychological or emotional cause for this, which might include post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and chronic illnesses such as cardiac disease or chronic pain. We can easily eliminate the last two factors. You don’t have any history of heart disease, and the only pains you had were from the accident. However, we hope to find out if we can get at some, if not all of the root causes of this seizure. Does this make any sense, so far?”
Ivy nodded. Now she could agree that she wasn’t here to waste her precious time. “I now know I had a PNES ma’am, but I can assure you that none of these would have happened if Miss holy holy over there had not messed up my business deal. I promise you ma’am, ehn,” Ivy put a finger in her mouth and raised it high in a known swearing gesture, “I’m sure I’ll not need any therapy if that deal comes through.”
Laura smiled again.
Kemi didn’t say anything. She knew Ivy was right, for the most part. Right now, she was only concerned with facing her own demons.
“So, Ivy, do you want to begin?” Laura kept her smile in place.
Ivy looked around the room once more. Suddenly she became very self-conscious. The room got smaller, as the palpitations began. The air conditioners hummed a little bit louder, the smile of the woman before her became somewhat sinister, even Kemi and Mangodo seemed to be sneering at her from where they sat. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do this anymore.” Ivy got up from her seat, and hurried towards the door.
Mangodo and Kemi got up almost simultaneously. But it was only Kemi who followed Ivy out of the room.
Kemi locked the door to the therapy room gently behind her and looked left, then right. She saw Ivy at the far end of the balcony, pacing. When she came close enough, she rested her back on the wall and looked at Ivy.
“What is all this Kemi?” Ivy snorted a bit, and sneezed noisily. So now I’m broken and I need to be fixed? The blue lights and the elderly doctors would make me alright now, won’t they?”
Kemi made an attempt to speak.
“Please shut up and listen.” Ivy threw her hands in the air in exasperation. “What am I supposed to do now? I’m supposed to tell them I ventured into prostitution so my mom could pay her medical bills? Look where that got me now. Look Kemi. The only family I had, deceived me. I trusted her Kemi. I trusted my Aunt. I felt she would keep her word. I thought she would pay my way through university, while I looked for a side job to pay my mom’s hospital bills. Aunt Adesua lied to me. She lied to my mom. She brought me to Lagos and introduced me to Alhaji Damko Danladi, the man who was in charge of all the ‘runs girls’ in my Aunt’s house in Ojodu. I pleaded and pleaded with my mom to let me come back to Benin. I was willing to do any kind of work that wasn’t prostitution. But how could I have told my mom that her dear sister was an acclaimed prostitute? How could I have told her that she wanted me to be sleeping with old men for money? Where’s my mom now Kemi? Where is she? That woman was my world. She was my everything. Deep down, I feel like I failed her. Before she took ill, she was strong for both of us. She worked hard…” Ivy paused for breath. She had been talking so rapidly, she was hardly breathing.
Kemi felt useless. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do. She wasn’t the psychologist nor the psychiatrist. She didn’t know why Ivy chose to share this intimate information with her. “Ivy please calm down,” Kemi whispered.
“How can I be calm, Kemi?” The tears rolled down Ivy’s cheeks in torrents. She felt cold. “Do you know after my mom died, I kept thinking I was a failure? That I was the curse that killed her? I blamed myself for making her work as had as she did. Her death broke me completely. It scarred me beyond healing. I couldn’t even mourn her properly. There was no one to tell how my Aunt destroyed my life. I was always in fear. The fear of dying, contracting STDs. Do you know how many abortions I had to do, ‘cos there were always those ones who insisted on not using condoms? I didn’t even know I was depressed. I knew at some point I wanted to kill myself. I just didn’t find the courage to overdose on the drugs they kept giving us. But that was before I met Bisola. Bisola was my strength. She made me fight. She told me I had to make it. She encouraged me. I owe her my life…” Ivy’s voice trailed off again.
“We will never compel you to say anything you’re not willing to say Ivy. Please believe that.”
Ivy and Kemi looked in the direction of the voice. Unknown to them, Laura had been standing there the whole time.
Ivy was mortified. She began to move away again.
“Please don’t go away, Ivy,” Laura said, as she closed the distance between her and the two ladies in a few paces. She placed a hand on Ivy’s shoulder and rubbed gently. “You’ll be alright girl. I promise you that. You’ll be alright.”
Ivy didn’t know what else to do. Next thing she knew, she was hugging the doctor fiercely, amidst nerve wracking sobs. She cried like she had never done before, not even when her mom passed had she cried like she now did. Deep down, she knew she was exhausted. She wanted it to end. She wasn’t strong. She had had enough.
Moments later, they were back in the therapy room. Mangodo stood close to the blinds, looking outside, alone with his thoughts. Ivy sat quietly in a corner, still sobbing.
“We would like to continue with you Kemi,” Sophie said. She had decided to step in since Laura had her hands full analyzing the details of Ivy’s session.
Kemi’s heart did a double. “Why do I get the hypnotist this early?”
Sophie smiled. “No one is hypnotizing anyone just yet.”
Kemi didn’t feel any better. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and tried to find an opening…
to be continued…
© Oselumhense Anetor, 2019.