They all walked out of the doctor’s office with a proud acceptance of their fate. Ubu had stopped crying. Voel had no intentions of fighting. Killy stood with majestic poise. They all knew that they were going to jail. They were, however, comforted by the reason they were going to jail; a beautiful baby boy whom they had helped to bring into this world, their reason for breathing, for being. This boy would be taken care of. At that point, nothing else mattered.
The policeman who had been waiting for them stood up as they came out. He held his police hat in his hands, almost as a sign of respect to the women. Killy stood for a moment, looking at the policeman. Then she took long, slow strides down the passage, Ubu followed, then Voel. There was to be no struggle or scuffle. The policeman walked slowly behind them. They all lined up in a straight line outside the doors of a lift. The lift arrived, dinged and the doors rumbled open. The three women walked in. The policeman walked in behind, the doors closed.
There was a long silence inside. The lift was not moving. No button had been pressed. The policeman took a deep breath. “Killy… Voel…Ubu, what you have done is beyond what I can protect you from…”
The policeman was Dumpy. While he was doing his night patrol, he had heard the call from dispatch about 3 women suspected of abducting an infant. Two of his colleagues had been sent to investigate. The two officers owed Dumpy a favour and they let him “take the case”.
“…you have to leave…” he spoke while facing the lift doors, his head lowered, never turning to look at them. His voice started shaking. “…you have to go…If I…see you again…” before he finished speaking, he pressed a button on the lift, the doors opened. He raised his head, composed himself. “If I see you again I will have to do my job. You need to take that baby back to its mother.” His voice was stern and direct. He put on his hat, then walked out, the doors of the lift closed and it start shaking as it descended.
None of them spoke. The lift opened onto the ground floor of the hospital. The first rays of the dawning sun shot through the windows. They walked out of the hospital in single file, towards the street. Taxis had already started hooting for customers, busses rumbled by and the world was coming to life. It was a long walk from the hospital to the main road. They arrived at the intersection and the lights were red, so they waited. Voel was walking slower, looking down at her feet and she didn’t notice the two in front of her as they stopped. She bumped into Ubu. She looked up, jolted by the shock. Killy and Ubu looked like they had seen a ghost. They were frozen in place, staring across the street. Voel looked across at what they were staring at.
Across the street, in front of the laundry shop, stood the old lady who was cleaning in the hospital. The one who had spoken to them about ancestors. She stood with the same old wry smile on her as she had the previous night. In her arms, she held an off white blanket with peach flower prints. It was rolled up and she carefully cradled it in her arms.
Ubu bolted across the street, Voel and Killy just looked on, stunned. When Ubu got to the other side of the street, her knees nearly buckled. She clutched her hands together, pressing them tightly against her chest as the tears streamed down her cheeks and her lips quivered. She was almost afraid of taking the baby from the old woman. Actually, she was terrified.
Killy and Voel, walked slowly across the street in a daze. The old lady gave the baby to Ubu. She wiped Ubu’s tears on one side. “A child belongs with his mother”, she smiled. “Do the right thing.”
They nodded and started slowly strolling home. The old lady’s words and those from dumpy echoed with a truth that had always known since Kana’s birth.
They were crossing a small side street when Voel noticed two figures standing next to a car. Killy noticed Voel quickly turn into the small street. She looked closer at the two people standing by the car. It was Joshua’s car and, there was he was chatting up some young girl. They last time they had seen Joshua and his car was they night Kana’s mother had been tossed out of it, reeling from labour pains.
Killy turned to Voel, who was now stomping down the small street and picking up momentum until got into a heavy jog. Joshua didn’t see Voel come until she was a few paces away. He was about to mutter something but, Voel had already gripped one hand around his throat and slammed him across the bonnet of his car. She held him tightly around the neck. Flashbacks of the day her mother died started flooding her mind. Joshua tried to fight back but Voel was too strong. Voel squeezed hard. In that moment, she was a young girl again. Her mother’s boyfriend’s neck in her arms, her mother’s blood oozing from the bedroom.
“Where is she? What did you do to her? WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?” screamed Voel. Her voice, coming out for the first time in over 10yrs