The lovers still loved. The birds still chirped. The sun still spun on its axis and continued to orbit the sun. The stars and galaxies continued to twinkle brightly in the night sky. It seemed nothing and no one cared that her, Maria-Morgan’s, life had ended.
She had her head turned to the window. All she could see was the tops of trees and the oblivious blue sky. The birds which were making an awful nerve wrecking racket in the trees could not be seen, very well camouflaged by the leaves. She looked at the table beside the bed. There, on it, against the fruit basket aunt Mavis had brought, was propped the picture of the blessed virgin mother.
Causing herself a lot of pain she reached out and knocked it off the table. How could her mother have brought that stupid picture? How was a drawing, a mass produced drawing, of some stupid bitch that died eons ago meant to help her? Where the hell was the blessed virgin when she was being attacked? Where?
She could barely remember the attack. But her mind had somehow recalled, in startling clarity, the emotions attached to it. Pain, fear, helplessness and hopelessness. All amplified and magnified in the strange frightening dreams which she could never remember clearly on waking.
She looked outside the window. Why did she keep looking? The view had not changed the whole week she had been looking at it. She would have to remember to ask the nurse to draw the blinds. God this place was so boring, she thought. “Ha! God!”, she said out loud with a snigger. Tears began pouring out and she wiped them away using the sheet.
The sound of the door opening, like most unexpected everyday sounds did now, made her start. It was her parents, Bianca and George. Unfortunately when she started she turned towards the door and so could not feign sleeping. How she would have loved that than having to listen to these two prattle on endlessly about things and people which meant nothing to her.
“MM! You are awake. Thank Goodness,’ Bianca said rushing to her daughter’s side, ‘how are you baby? It’s just that most of the time we find you asleep! What great good luck!” she kissed Maria-Morgan as George did in turn. Bianca picked up and replaced the picture.
“How are you doing darling?” they asked in unison.
How am I doing? How am I doing! Well let’s see. I was stabbed and raped beaten and left for dead dearest mommy and daddy. How the fuck do you think I am doing?!
“A lot better.”
“That’s good.” George said squeezing his daughter’s hand.
It took all his strength to keep a hold on his temper every day. Some animal had hurt his daughter and the god damn police still had not done anything to find him. “The investigation is on-going sir.” “on-going?” what the hell did that mean? If they didn’t give him any information how was he supposed to know what was going on? What the hell was he and everyone else paying their taxes for if they could not do their job!
It was hard for him to look at Maria-Morgan without wanting to cry. He turned away. She seemed shrunken and aged. Her once sparkling eyes were dull and had a glazed over look. If he ever got his hands on the bastard that did this.
Maria-Morgan noticed him turning away. So he couldn’t even stand to look at her? Was she that disgusting now? It was not as if she had asked for this. She had not been walking around with a large neon "please rape and stab me sign”! She wanted to pull her hand away and used propping herself up as a way to do so.
Bianca was busy replacing the flowers which were on another table at the foot of the bed. More daises! Bianca always brought her fresh daises. Yes, sure, she had liked daises once upon a time. But she had not given them a second thought since she was six. She was now seventeen for fucks sake. What were daises in the face of what she had suffered, what she was still suffering.
How she despised them both and their stupid daises.
Bianca was trying to arrange the daises nicely. She hoped they would remind Maria-Morgan of a happier time. Like the time they had gone to visit her mother when Maria-Morgan was four. How Maria-Morgan had cried and cried because there were no daises at the breakfast table.
She, Bianca had scoured the town until she had found a shop selling some artificial ones. Everyone had said she and George spoilt the child and that it was high time they had another child so they could curb Maria-Morgan’s ‘excesses’. But she had not minded. Maria-Morgan was happy and they could have their breakfasts in peace.
She ran to the little bathroom to get some water for the daises. And to dry her eyes. She thanked God and the blessed virgin for bringing their baby back to her. It had been touch and go many times but Maria-Morgan had finally stabilized and woken up. She would do all she could to help her daughter.
After drying her eyes and blowing her nose she came back and poured water for the new daises.
They stayed with their daughter the whole visiting period. Going on and on and on about, home, school, work family bla bla bla.
Only Louisa, out of all her so called friends, had come to see her. And where was Andy? They had applied to the same schools. They had planned on living together. They had made sure to apply only to schools close to each other just in case the unthinkable, their being accepted to different schools, happened.
Her parents had said nothing about Andy. Andy who had dinner at their house often and had even gone away with them for a weekend holiday. Now they were acting like he did not exist. During her first three visits Louisa had been reluctant to talk about him. She had insisted that the only thing to be thought about was recovery. But finally she cracked. It seemed Andy was now dating one of her "friends", Clair. Clair had been in the same clique with them.
Maria-Morgan knew that Andy tried to get with Clair before her. But Clair had not given him the time of day. They had hooked two years ago. The others had even laughed at her, Clair included. Slowly Andy had come into his own and they all noticed him. But it was too late, he was hers. And now he was with Clair!
She had long stopped listening to her parents. Caught up in thinking about Andy and Clair.
“Well sweetheart we have to go now. We know how hospital food is, 'Bianca said reaching into her basket,' so we snuck you some sweets, juice and doughnuts. I'll put them next to the fruit, which you haven't touched. Please eat something. Okay.”
They fussed a bit more hissed her and finally left.
She took the doughnuts. They had brought her assorted ones. She chose a jelly and bit into it. Oily and sweet! She had missed these.
George and Bianca went to doctor Moyo's office. He had these huge comfortable leather armchairs for his visitors. But George and Bianca never managed to relax when they came to see him. They would sit on the edge, bolt upright.
“I have sent doctor Aslam to look in on her and she advised counseling.”
“But she seems so much bett...”
“Yes her body is healing well but she has suffered severe physical and mental trauma. She needs help to deal with and hopefully get past it. She needs her family, her friends. But she also needs a trained professional.”
“Well if you think its best.” George looked at his wife and she too didn't look too sure.
“Okay. But we would also like her to be able to see Father Chando?”
“Of course. She was after all raised in the church. And I would also like both of you to get some counseling too. Professio...”
They were about to protest and he put up a hand to silence them.
“I know you are thinking you do not need it. I think you could benefit greatly from it. Here is the name and number of a center. The New Hope Center. It helps survivors and their families. It’s a non-profit organization and I truly believe they can help you. Call them, go check it out and if you still feel it’s not for you or Maria-Morgan then we will look for something else?”
The New Hope Center was better than they had expected. They spent over a week making daily visits before they brought it up to Maria- Morgan. Who insisted she was okay and did not need some strangers picking through her mind. But they gently insisted that she go.
They had attended the one on one, the couples and the group counseling services. They were going to attend the family one with Maria-Morgan and their sons. The center had helped them bring up issues that they had not been able to talk to each other about. Issues they had dreaded facing personally. The group sessions showed them that they were not alone.
As they drove to the center some weeks later Maria-Morgan’s heart burned with resentment for these people who had the audacity to think they knew what was best for her. It had happened to her not them. But she had not felt like getting into a long argument with them, which she wouldn't win.
Next to her on the car seat were the inevitable daises. Stuck on the dashboard was a picture of the ever serene Virgin Mary.
She leaned her head on the window and watched the trees, cars, buildings and people going by. At least it would make a change from the hospital room.