By Tashinga Wazara, Zimbabwe:
I open my eyes slightly. I don’t recognize where I am. I open them wider and try to look around but nothing looks familiar. I try to move but I can’t. I look down. I’m sitting on a chair, my legs and arms bound. I can hardly move. I try to speak but I feel a sharp pain in my throat as if someone had tried to crush my esophagus. I begin to panic. Where am I? What am I doing here? And why am I bound up like this? I try to trace back my movements today but for the life of me my mind is blank. More panic. I start trembling. I try to move but I can’t. Whoever tied this rope around me must have been a boy scout.
I look in front of me and there is a door. Maybe if I shout for help, someone outside will be able to hear me. I try to shout out but the pain in my throat prevents me from saying anything audible. I feel helpless and tears begin to flow down my cheeks as I surrender to the hopelessness of my situation.
Suddenly, I hear a voice from behind me.
“Hello, mother,” it said.
I recognize the voice. It’s my daughter, Yolanda. And then I remember. She is the reason I am here. My last memory is of her coming to visit me, and her making me tea. I can’t remember anything after that. I start to wonder how she did it. Did she hit me on the head with something and I passed out? Or did she put something in my tea? I have no idea.
“How could you do that to me Mom?” she says, walking towards me. She comes round and stands in front of me. “Answer me!” she says as she towers over me. She has a knife in her hand and I can see that she is shaking slightly.
“Uhm wha…” I try to speak, but I cannot. My throat is painful. “Water, water,” I whisper. She goes behind me again and comes back holding a bottle of water.
“Open your mouth!” she shouts as she makes me drink. The water was coming in so fast that I started choking on it and coughing. She stops.
“Okay, now talk!” she says again. My throat is a little less dry.
“What, what, what do you want me to say, darling?” I whispered. In spite of the pain, I am happy to hear the sound of my own voice again.
Yolanda, now agitated, screams, “Oh you don’t know what to say? You don’t know what to say?! How about telling me how you’ve been sleeping with my fiance behind my back? How about telling me how you betrayed ME your own daughter? How about that huh?”
She suddenly loses it and throws the water bottle against the wall. “I don’t believe you, Mom! Why? Why!?” She starts pacing up and down the room, knife still in hand and with tears rolling down her cheeks. I can tell that she is capable of doing anything to me.
I cannot move. I am numb. How had she found out? George told me she never touched his phone and that he was always careful. So, how did she find out? My thoughts were interrupted when she suddenly runs towards me and puts the knife to my throat and says, “I swear, I’m gonna kill you! I swear!”
I could feel her shaking as she held the knife to my throat. There is an emptiness in her eyes that I have never seen before and I am certain that she is going to kill me. I resolve in my heart that this is it. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and say, “Okay. Do it. Kill me now?” I wait a few moments for the pain but it does not come. And just as abruptly, she removes the knife from my neck and stabs me hard in my thigh. I scream. The pain is excruciating. She lifts up the knife again and goes for my other thigh.
“Yolanda, please! No!” I scream as she stabs me a second time. “Please, don’t do this,” I plead. I am in so much pain, and it is about to get worse.
“Yolanda!!” I yell, my voice breaking. “Yolanda, please!!!” She isn’t listening. She goes back behind me and comes back holding a jerrycan. She begins to pour a substance all over me. Its smell begins to fill the room. Paraffin! As she pours it over me, some of it goes into my mouth and I can taste it. The smell is so strong I could hardly breathe. She then goes back behind me and came back with a box of matches. She takes out a match. Again, I feel helpless, take a deep breath and resign myself to my impending death. This is it, except it is going to be way, way more painful than a knife!
As she lit the match there is a knock on the door. Yolanda freezes. Another knock. Yolanda does not move. She remains still, the matchstick burning out in her hand. She puts it out. A third knock but this time with a voice.
“Yolanda, open up! It’s Dad.”
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