“Her Story” by Amma Konadu Anarfi.

They all said the story was going to end with the main Character, Sharon dead. They said she was going to break under a thick fog of depression and overdose on some sleep meds. They also said that long before the day she does that, she was going to suffer days and days of therapy, hospital stays…all the times when she’ll stare at her tiny, pale wrists with a hunger so grave she had to marry her skin with steel blades, they had said it will happen.

They said she will not stay in school, what with all the voices in her head, she couldn’t keep a thing of importance in there! She will get herself dismissed for assaulting school mates, teachers…even the janitor had his share.

Her parents were wealthy, they had a name – a standing in society. All eyes were on the family. Their daughter Sharon had to be hid. They said they did…yes, they hid her in a facility not many people knew about. They said it was like Heaven tucked away in the heart of the country, bustling with frenzied activities; they said she was sent off without a tear from her mother, or a final glance from her father. They said Sharon was not even bothered, because she had never really known her parents… she had known the Nanny, the Butler and the Driver; they were her family, they said.

In that facility, there were only cold sheets and metal trays filled with colourful pills and syringes that rattled as they knocked against each other with each step the nurses took. They said she made no friends, made no eye-contact to see what lay in the eyes of the people she found there. She was scared of what she’d see, they said.

It was there that she started painting again and they said it was a wonder to see her grace any canvas with her imagination. She breathed life into her paintings. It was like watching Mozart compose another masterpiece, they said, to see her at it, her hands and apron all stained with colour while she painted out the demons in her head and smiled at them when she was done.

They said she was terribly fond of all her pieces, that she’d sit for hours in her makeshift studio just watching them, a tiny smile playing around her lips, only to be broken by a twitch that caught the nurse’s eye. She was going to lose it again, they’d say. Art couldn’t keep her. So they were right, she seemed to have gone colorblind for all of her paintings turned to shades before her mind and she would run into her studio to tear up her work, piece after piece, screaming out in terror that strum the strings of other people’s hearts.

But they never talked about that silent observer in that facility, that one who one day could not take it no more, who collected poor Sharon into his arms, rocking her back and forth.

They didn’t say how she calmed down and, for the first time in too many years looked into another’s eyes. They didn’t say her tears stopped mid-way down her cheeks when she let her eyes melt into his, they didn’t say. They didn’t.  A year and half of friendship they didn’t say. Sharon fell in love with a man, but they did not say. The nurse had stolen her heart, but no one cared.

They failed, they absolutely failed to mention that he was running errands one rainy evening when the truck slid off the road and ran headlong into a parked trailer, killing him on the spot. They didn’t say what pain shot through Sharon that very night for she knew as if by some divine vision that he was gone. They didn’t say that was the day she rushed out into the studio, pulled out a fresh canvas and laid it flat on the floor, the very spot where they’d first made love, and spilled out all her tears, love, anger, hurt, frustration onto the canvas, a medley of wild, tangled emotions. They did not say.

When that piece of art ended up in a gallery two years later, along with much of her work, no one said that…no one said it. All they said, each time they stopped before that last piece of art that was her very soul poured out, was that they had known it will end that way.

Her parents took charge of all her pieces; they did, as well as all the money that they earned. Yet somewhere, in some foster home, where some of the money was channeled, lived a little girl who had her father’s warm smile…and Sharon’s eyes.

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