Aisha never really liked Benny’s office space. It has always reminded her of the first time she came here. They should have just jailed me under that stupid law.
‘Hi Aisha’ Benny walks in, worried. ‘How are you feeling?
‘Can I have a glass of water please?’ Aisha responds barely being able to breathe. She stares at a poster that caught her attention. It was an image of a girl on the floor with handcuffs with strips of tablets labelled ‘Paracetamol’ next to her. There’s a dialogue box at the police officer’s head saying “Punishment for a punishment. Think your life is tough? Try living in a prison instead. You’d want to kill yourself more.” She lets out a little chuckle, still gasping for air. That was Aisha’s statement from two years ago.
‘Breathe with me. Breathe in…, now breathe out. Let’s try that again, breathe in…., now breathe out’ Benny tries to calm her down while offering her a glass of water.
It’s very fortunate that Benny’s office is situated just two streets away from Aisha’s. She managed to get her colleague to walk her to his office.
‘I….I can’t….breathe…’ Aisha’s attempts at taking deep breaths were to no avail. She remains seated and closes her eyes while pointing at the poster, smiling. ‘C..co..copy..right..in..f’ Aisha struggles to speak.
‘Alright, this session is free of charge then. Don’t ask for more.’ Benny responds with his hands up, half laughing.
Aisha starts to slowly breathe better as Benny continues to distract her.
‘Do you still hear those voices?’ Benny asks as he peeks through his notes in his little pocketbook.
‘Not till last night’ Aisha responds. ‘The trick you taught didn’t work.’ She goes on to tell him about the loud bang she hears every night at 3.12am, and how she thinks that it may be her neighbour’s kids.
‘At 3.12am? Do you remember any particular event that happened around that time?’ Benny asks while checking to see if his Dictaphone is still turned on.
‘Yes, I killed my mum.’ Aisha responds with a serious face and immediately laughs upon seeing Benny’s reaction. ‘I was just kidding. I can barely remember her or that orphanage she raised me in’. Aisha’s mum worked in the orphanage as a caretaker, before she took her own life when Aisha was only 6. She has never met her father nor does she have a picture of him.
‘Not even the fire?’ Benny asks.
‘I remember some of it, the screams, but it’s vague. What do you expect? I was only eleven.’ Aisha responds while rolling her eyes.
Benny was taken aback by this statement. People are generally able to remember events that took place during their early adolescence years. However, Benny does not comment on this. He thinks that she has not fully recovered from the incident, and that she feels guilt from surviving when all her other friends, but one, died.
‘I am not going to hold you back further, why don’t you continue to meditate and the next time we meet, bring along your journal. I hope you’ve been writing.’ Benny stares at her through his bifocal glasses.
‘Yes. Yes I do.’ Aisha responds with a guilt in her eyes.
They shake hands and Aisha takes off to her office building to get her car. Benny stays a little longer in his office to go through Aisha’s case file. ‘Shit! Is it possible that…’