Dear Ebbie,

I have been doodling on this page ever since that phone call came to me. That phone call that found me in the middle of normalcy, living life as if these things clouded in misfortunes only belonged to other people. That I was too special for darkness. That I was above all these sufferings in the world. That I was immune to these sleepless nights people keep talking about, all because their dreams were too wild for their sleep.

I have been doodling on this page ever since that phone call came to me, jolting me awake, replacing the happiness and calm with this anxiety that keeps rising every day, breaking me down afresh, and reminding me of the brutality that lies in these little pieces of life.

I have only been doodling, mostly, because tears are the only language that my heart nowadays understands. So that every time I begin to write, they make their way out of me, creating the saddest of maps on the paper, and leaving within me an anger and bitterness that threatens to consume the whole of me. Leaving, within me, a myriad of unanswered questions, and an emptiness that is full of silence and wishful thinking.

I have only been doodling, mostly, because nothing I will ever write will ever paint the true picture of the brokenness of my heart, and the darkness that settled upon me ever since that call came to me. So that I am always moving as if in darkness, always searching for the light bulb, always failing, terribly so, and cursing myself for everything that happened to you.

I have only been doodling, mostly, because I am still looking for the missing pieces in this puzzle of your pain. I want, so bad, to get the full picture of what happened on that night, and the day before, but all I get is louding silence from the very people who were with you. So that at the end of the day, even the few pieces of the puzzle that I am with are either broken, or dirty, or too afraid to lead me to where the rest are.

I have spent these three painful years inside my head, crying for you from the inside, my anger and bitterness growing bigger each morning, reminding me of this quest that lies heavily on my shoulder; this looking for you in the tiny bits of this remaining life I live. This begging my heart to stop beating whenever the answers refuse to reveal themselves to me. This dying a little bit on the inside every time someone mentions your name, reminding me that it has been three years since the unimaginable happened, yet I am not even an inch closer to getting justice.

But what is justice when your body has been buried for  three years now? What is justice when I can no longer see, touch, or feel you? When I can no longer speak with you about things that bother us? What is justice when I still do not have answers to how you met your death? What is justice when I am crying my eyes out, but these tears are not enough to move even just one heart to take action? What is justice when my own child died in school, under ‘unclear’ circumstances, yet no one in authority wants to talk about it?

So that I am constantly running in circles, everyone dodgy with information on what really happened that Friday night, so that they found you ‘dead’ the following morning, in your school bed; the very bed in which you took your last breath, is the same bed the school principal and deputy wouldn’t let me have a look at, and give my heart even the tiniest bits of closure.

So that while your body lay cold in the morgue, I was pleading with the school for answers, but got nothing apart from your packed belongings in a metal box. So that I was carrying a bucket full of your wet clothes, and wondering how a dead girl supposedly left behind a bucket full of half-washed clothes.

As your body lay cold in the morgue, I was asking myself why I didn’t do anything when rumours reached me that you were almost always the subject of ridicule and mockery from teachers. Why I didn’t raise my voice to speak out for you when you were still alive. Why did I drive you back to that school myself, only for you to die a week later?

As your body lay cold in the morgue, I was too broken to hear the loud silence from your school; not your teachers, not your classmates, not even the nurse who supposedly attended to you showed up.

So that as we finally laid you to rest, the absence of these people started becoming something that bothered me, thinking how much everyone must have hated you to not even show up for your funeral.

It has been three years now, and I am just learning that on the night before you died, the deputy principal had brutally beaten you, everywhere, until your whole body was swollen. I am just learning that even before the post mortem results were out, the principal was already telling your classmates that you died while being treated for a blood clot in the brain. Had they done something to you, and expected, of course, you could be having a clot on your brain?

It has been three years now since you passed on, and I am just learning how bad your classmates wailed for you. How bad they wanted to be with me during mourning. How bad they wanted to come pay you their final respects, but the school would have none of it.

Was there something they were hiding? Were they too afraid your classmates would rat them out?

It has been three years now, yet everything that surrounds your death is still as mysterious as it was on that first day. My wounds still bleed as if the knife has just found my heart. The darkness within me is spreading, fast, as if it is the first night I am sleeping without you.

It has been three years now since you passed on, yet I am still begging for these answers that seem like may never come to me. Tell me something, my child, are you able to reveal to me these answers? My heart is tired.

Your mother.

(In loving memory of Ebbie, who died at Gatanga CCM in 2019. May we never forget.)

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Meet Eunniah Mbabazi
Eunniah Mbabazi is an Electrical and Electronic Engineer with a deep passion for books and literature. She has authored Breaking Down (a collection of short stories), If My Bones Could Speak (a poetry collection), The Unbirthed Souls (a collection of short stories), and My Heart Sings, Sometimes (a poetry collection). She has also co-authored Kas Kazi (a novel) and When a Stranger Called (an anthology of short stories).

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