“Are you ok? You seem rather troubled these days.” Her mother asked one evening when they were doing dishes together.

“So I’m told.” She wasn’t in the mood to talk about it.

“Come, let’s have a cup of tea and talk about it.”

Nozie rolled her eyes at her. Her mother picked up that habit from grandma; grandma loved tea and used it every time as a remedy to every troubled mind. One never said no to a cup of tea when they had troubles, it was tradition in their house hold.

“It’s Nora, Ma, I don’t know what’s wrong with her but she’s not herself.”

She had told her parents about the young bright girl who was assistant editor at Masibambane, she had told a lot of people about her. Her mother listened attentively as Nozie told her about the mood swings and the way that Nora was treating everybody.

“She’s mean, she snaps at everybody and she spends most of her time on her own. She’s like a completely different person.”

“Sounds like someone I used to know. Have you tried talking to her, asking her if anything’s the matter?”

“Have I tried? Mama, she almost bit my head off and told me to mind my own business. I’m afraid if I push too hard she’ll shut me out completely.”

Her mum told her to discretely go and speak to her family and find out how her behaviour is at home and when it started. Maybe something will be helpful from the Intel she’ll gather. One thing was for sure though, she couldn’t leave it alone because the poor girl was suffering and it was destroying everyone she was around.

Nozie thought of the way she was when she was “dealing” with her own trauma her own way. How destructive and terrible her behaviour was. She couldn’t help but wonder if what she thought was wrong was actually it. She could be wrong and may lose a good friend in the process and she couldn’t risk that. Then she remembered that at the centre they told them that the biggest power these perpetrators had over the women they chose was fear. It could be fear of death or the fear of not being believed if you ever told anyone. So most women kept quiet, some tried to tell their families but were never listened to.

Nozie knew she needed to talk to Nora one way or the other. First she must find out from Nora’s mother if she had said anything or whether her behaviour had changed. So the very next morning she set out for Nora’s house. Nora rarely talked about her family and she was always uncomfortable when Nozie brought it up. She had only known the address of the house but has never been there, Nora told her that her mother didn’t like visitors. They met at school and spent time at the centre or at Nozie’s house during the day but all that extra time spent together had stopped.

Nozie found the house with little difficulty; some kids that were supposed to be at school but were playing on the street showed her which house she stayed in and Nozie understood why Nora never wanted her there.