Its six evening, it is a beautiful cold and windy Thursday. It could be cosy just like old times, but now we’re here. Luhle thinks, looking at her red scratches on her face from her mirror. Last night was one of those war nights with the drunken stepmother. She laughs as she recalls her plan. Certain that it will work. Tabitha has got a bathroom in her bedroom, that’s all she needs. Above that? Tabitha would have to break through the walls. Luhle dishes up, and then takes the food to the dirty lounge, full of bottles and everything.
“Oh my baby man!” Tabitha shouts, with her eyes slightly closed from swell “You are my perfect perfect!” Tabitha continues. Luhle gives her the food, she takes it. Then the next moment, Tabitha’s crying and shouting, threatening and insulting. Luhle’s plan has suddenly never been so urgent. She runs to the kitchen, she takes one bottle of wine, she dips two tranquilizer tablets and shakes slightly. She takes the bottle to the coffee table in front of Tabitha, and a glass.
She rushes upstairs, she gets inside Tabitha’s bedroom, her heart is banging her chest, she’s on edge, this moment right here, is a make or break, and she’s got to be quick. She peruses through the shelves, and she finds the spare keys, she tucks them into her pocket, she takes all Tabitha’s gadgets into her own bedroom. She cleans Tabitha’s bedroom room squeaky clean, certain that she’ll stay asleep until the drug weakens. It smells life for once after so many days. She takes the original key and tucks it into her pockets. The room looks brand New. The bathroom within the room is beaming.
She goes down the stairs to help Tabitha up. After thirty minutes of falling and rising with her, she manages to lock her inside the bedroom.
In the morning, Luhle tiptoes to listen through the key hole. Silence. She’s probably sleeping. Best time to open and shove three loaves of bread, juice and glass; these should be enough to keep her until she is totally sober. She does just that, successfully. It is a beautiful day in a long time. She cleans the kitchen, the lounge and the siting room, despite the cold, she has always needed this chance, and she opens all the windows and the doors. Fresh breeze full of life, waves into the whole house. The smell of handy Andy and Sta-soft in the clothes on the laundry line feels amazing. Every now and then, there’s a banging from inside Tabitha’s bedroom, followed by “please open I’ve changed” or “I will break this door” or a painful cry “just one glass please”
Second day, the same, Luhle cleans up the whole house the second touch.
Third day, Luhle wakes up to listen through the key hole as usual; there’s a sound of some activity. She opens the door in the passage that leads to the balcony, not Far from Tabitha’s outside door. The curtains are closed, she can’t see anything. She places her ear to listen carefully. There’s a sound of gasps, throwing up, then toilet flush. Luhle makes her way back into the house. The plan is to keep Tabitha like this for at least a week. Every now and then Luhle promises herself to not be controlled by her Compassion. When Tabitha’s friends come Luhle tells them that she is out on a holiday, taking a break.
Fourth day, the same. Throwing up and flushing. Fifth day Luhle goes out to buy groceries. A fresh start, daddy’s original house with not even one bottle of alcohol.
Sixth day’s evening, Luhle spends an hour outside Tabitha’s locked door, praying and interceding.
Seventh day, Luhle walks to the balcony, she gasps and quickly steps back, the curtains are widely open. She thinks she didn’t see properly. She tiptoes back to the sight. The room is clean, the bed has been made, and Tabitha is buried into her desk, writing something. She looks clean and fresh. Luhle’s eyes burn with tears, this is her Tabitha. The one who was, before having a miscarriage. Her Mom. She smiles while wiping her tears away, she walks back into the house. She wonders if it’s now safe to open. No two more days. She can’t take that risk.
Friday the eight day, in the morning Luhle does her routine in the balcony. Tabitha is praying and weeping.
One more day then she opens for her.
Saturday. Luhle checks in the balcony first, Tabitha’s is writing something. Luhle goes to the door, and she slowly inserts the key, she turns it, she sighs, then she opens. Tabitha turns to Luhle, she stands slowly, and then she walks towards Luhle, slowly, searchingly. Luhle breathes heavily anything is possible with Tabitha, what is she going to do now? Luhle is stepping backwards slowly, afraid, desperate for an escape. Before she knows it, her panting is stilled. Tabitha has enveloped her, squeezing her every coming second, vibrating over her shoulder, sniffing and sobbing, Luhle slowly responds to the hug, sliding her arms up to her Mom’s waist.
“I am so so so so sorry!” Tabitha cries out, “I am so sorry Luhle!”
“I missed You so much!” Luhle says over Tabitha’s shoulder, “I am sorry for locking you up, I was afraid of losing you”
“I am sorry for everything I’ve put you through” Tabitha says back.
Luhle starts crying. The plan worked. She wishes everything stays like this forever. Tabitha continues to cry so bitterly, it’s no longer about her behavior since the miscarriage, but the miscarriage itself. The loneliness! The pain! She can’t keep it together. She weeps until she feels dizzy. Luhle sits her on the bed. She runs to the kitchen for warm water with sugar.