I spotted Chileshe as he was leaving Dr. Musonda’s office. Nothing struck me as odd until I noticed the people walking out of the office behind him. They looked like they could have been part of the furniture, how disorganized and yet so connected to each other they seemed. Then I noticed how they all seemed to gravitate their attention towards Chileshe.
We locked eyes, I doubt he actually noticed me as I took note of him, but something about him or rather all of them standing there, concerned for their collective future all reflected in his eyes. The connection of a family. A family that practiced being overly involved in each others lives.
This was the void I longed to fill, Margaret with her man and me the dysfunctional child everyone seemlingly worried about. How does that feel? To have more than one person worried for you at every moment.
It was intended as a beautiful passing moment, but then I saw or rather felt mothers presence over this boy. It felt like home and I had not felt anything close to home in a while. I’m guessing I went through what all former addicts go through after seeing their desires in front of them. The uncontrollable hunger to grab hold of that which we desire.
I didn’t lunge at Chileshe, I kept my composure till I made it into an empty bathroom stall and only left after i had finished crying on all the toilet paper. It didn’t matter though, because after feeling like home, I knew exactly what had to happen next.
The first half way decent experience I had encountered while working as Dr. Musonda’s assistant. A doctor’s assistant pretty much knows everything the doctor knows except for the name of the patient.
Therefore, I decided to ask Dr. Musonda what was wrong with her last patient that she needed the entire family to be present. I knocked on the doctor’s door, two quick audible thuds amd without awaiting a response as was the custom, I let myself into her office.
“Dr. Musonda,” I begun to speak before she had a moment to ask me any questions. “I noticed you had a larger than usual crowd for one session,” I paused to ensure she was listening as I picked up a picture of hers from the day she graduated. “Was the entire family getting treatment?” I asked her as I set her picture down and decided to stare at her as I got to the real matter at hand.
“The boy paid for a consult last week and offered to pay me extra to tell his family that he had a mild case Bipolar disorder.” Dr. Musonda said with a mindful grin. “Took his money, because anyone offering payment for a false diagnosis might as well be considered ill in one manner or another.” She continued without even bothering to stare at me anymore. “He may actually have a case of mild Bipolar. Why are you interested?” She asked as she looked over her book towards me.
“No real reason.” I lied, but she just kept on staring at me until I shifted my gaze and continued. “Honestly, I looked at the boy and I found myself longing for a friend outside these walls.” Technically I chose not to seem anymore desperate than my real reason would have made me out to be. I still believe she saw through my lies as she lowed her head back into her book before replying, “I’m sure Chileshe will need a friend as well, loneliness does make us come up with the most enthralling lies after all.”
“All you need is a name.” I’ve heard countless people say that and for once I wasn’t the one rolling my eyes at how desperate people can be. I finally understood and I didn’t feel terrible about stalking him for the next few days.
Home is an underrated concept that is easily forgotten with the comfort of daily routine. Seeing Chileshe felt like a sign is what I usually always said. But truthfully speaking loneliness is a worse death than reaching out. I dragged myself to his house in an age where you must not seem desperate.
My mothers voice ringing in my ear each step as I took. It wasn’t stopping me at every turn, rather it was encouraging to keep going. Home is not a place, home is a feeling that in a place or moment in time you are content with everything wrong in your life. The idea of home became the ultimate plot twist and all this came crashing down on me after had I knocked on the Mwewa’s door that sunny afternoon.
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