My mama never used to cry. She never used to cry because her life never allotted her a fair share of cathartic releases. I’ve seen her wear indifference as elegantly as she put on her favorite pair of jeans with that lovely checked red shirt she loved so much. And if she didn’t know how to cry, why do I, her seed, contaminate myself with foibles?

‘You don’t cry’ becomes my daily mantra. I believe it. My next life doesn’t know pain. I’ve been told fortitude is graceful. I’ve learnt that it is — I’ve accepted that to be.

I tell people that Sharon is my psychologist, but honestly, she’s a social worker. Maybe if I’m able to convince the people closest to me that her profession is indeed what I’ve created it to be, that’ll be enough to convince myself that I have a mental disorder — that my life is shit, that I need pills and counselling to take control of my nugatory life. Maybe they’ll believe me when they witness me popping pills to get by. Maybe they’ll feel sorry for me because for the little life left in me, I can’t contain my own thoughts, sometimes, suicidal.

Sharon didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. She may as well written the Holy book, if you ask me. Her little toe peeping out of the pumps made to endure the sweatiness and hard labour of the day with help from the grey pantyhose she has on. She spoke more than I cared to — she spoke and I listened. For a brief moment, I almost believed her. I almost believed her when she told me I’m worthy. My cynicism shouting from one ear to the other, yelling, “Don’t believe her.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to have a human bouncing board for my own thoughts. Just like the first time I had thought I found redemption from that little room for students unable to carry their academic load in varsity — I walked out of Sharon’s room feeling nostalgic over my mama’s unsaid “I love you’s”. A well of emotions came over me, almost as if I were exonerated from the impurities that lay right in the interstices of my body. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t.

My first redemption came as an admission that I needed you. I don’t. My first redemption came as an admission that you left too soon and I could not cry about it. My first redemption came as an admission that I despised the fact that I had to grow up before my time. Did I stop being a child because I could think independently at thirteen? My first redemption came and went just as unexpectedly as you did.

I’m not sitting in another room for a human bouncing board to help me admit that I need you.

I don’t.

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