LITERARY SERIES BY DR. ASHRAF SSEMWOGERERE
EPISODE 3. The Acid Girl
“I looked at these medical forms wandering why Morin should do this to me. Nzeatalimujja we. I collected the money from the safe and the forms and put them into my bag. The shop attendant was also counting the cash he had which he later gave me.
I walked from Kisekka Market to Bombo Road in a sea of thoughts. I realized that I was to board a taxi when l reached Kaleerwe.A tax conductor saw me crying, pregnant as I was, and thought that maybe I had no transport. He came to me and asked to board the taxi for free of charge. That is when I realized that I had in fact walked from Kisekka Market to Kaleerwe.
I entered the taxi and realized that I was crying. I wiped my tears and tried to settle but in vain. I thought of my love for Sam plus the happiness in our home; and I saw it all gone. But I got a firm hold of myself because I knew I was not HIV-positive and my antenatal medical form showed so: I was HIV-negative.
I smiled, and the taxi conductor, too, smiled, returning my smile. He was busy looking at me. I laughed loud and all the passengers looked at me as I said,‘Nviramuawo’ (I’m stopping there). I gave the conductor a 20,000-shilling note; he was about to give it back to me, when I requested him to keep the change as I got out. He looked totally confused.
But I got out of the taxi smiling, because he had really been good to me. My phone rang and it was Mary, my Mulamu from London. She never called my phone. I used to talk to her whenever she called her brother and at night.
It was midday. I answered the phone, and she went straight to the point that I brought HIV to her brother, and I knew it because I was born with it. That my parents died of the same disease and I should not deny because they have evidence. She continued to lament that I should leave her brother’s home before she is back for the summer.
I never replied her even a single word. I hung up before she finished. I became so weak and sat down for sometime. I drank some water and moved home.
When I reached home, I saw Sum seated in the lounge. I organized myself and started running towards the house crying very loud as if I had lost somebody. I entered the house and fell on the floor. Sum ran to me asking ‘Kiki ate?’ (What again). ‘Have you been attacked? Has the money been stolen? Or, you have lost somebody?’
I continued to cry uncontrollably. He tried to call his mother and I grabbed the phone. He got so disturbed that he wanted to slap me but gave it a second thought. In fact, Sum had not beaten me before. He calmed me down, and walked me to the bed room.
We sat on the bed as I continued sobbing. He asked me calmly what had happened. I picked my bag pulled out the money and gave it to him, leaving the medical forms behind. That is when I learnt that I had been walking with 18million shillings in my bag.
He looked at me; I smiled and kissed him, but it was as if I had given him aloevera(ekigajji). I felt very bad. I asked him what Morin had told him. He asked which Morin. I said that woman, the wife of my uncle.
He complained that I don’t respect old people; how dare me to just call her Morin. He denied ever talking to her.
I gathered strength, and pulled out the medical forms, gave them to him, demanded again to know what she had told him. He looked at me with his eyes full of love and kissed me intimately.
When he stopped he said sorry to me. I saw love in his eyes. I also looked closely at him and my husband looked so sick and very frail. ‘Hajj Abaas I tell you a person can easily die of stigma when he/she has no disease’(In prison, they call me Abaasi from Ssuubi Drama they watch on Bukedde TV). My husband was not sick but stigma was eating his body at a steady rate.
I was holding him and looked into his eyes and said; ‘Mukwanongaokkoze’. He felt so bad that he released me. He picked the money and gave 13million shillings, I asked him for what. He laughed and said that he wanted me to start up a business for our kid.
I was so very happy,banange. He requested me to help him take the five million shillings to his mother; that she has a function to prepare for. As I was moving out, he called me again. We kissed for almost five minutes, until I felt his tears running down my face. I stopped the kiss and asked him why.
He said; ‘I love you’. I will never forget that statement. I wanted to go very fast to Mom, come back and have him fully because I was on heat. I left him going to bathe.
I ran fast to Mom’s place which was just 500metres away. But when I gave Mom the five million shillings for the function she was surprised because she no said she had function. As a mother she got curious and prepared herself to go back with me. I waited for another 30minutes while being on heat to have my husband. We walked home, but Mom was quite all this time.
As we reached home, all the windows and the doors were wide open. Ooooh, my God! My husband’s body was hanging above the dining table on a rope. He was dead!”
Acid stopped telling the story and cried. I also realized that tears were running down my face.I stop there for today.
God bless you all.