At the middle of the highway, he sought for space to reverse, twisting his head and glancing at the side mirror. With the nearest car a few distance away, he managed to swerve before the others began honking. The speed that followed almost jerked her off the chair, a speed similar to what caused her accident.
And now, she was dwelling in another accident, one she let happen, one which ridded her of the strength to say or do anything but ride with a stranger, a victim of the devil inside her. If only she knew how to talk to someone she stole from, object to someone she stole from and tell him to go about his business and stop being good. She stole from him; he was supposed to frown at her and demand for payback as that would be justice, a fair justice that wouldn’t render her powerless.
A signboard denoting the hospital stood left. Punama hospital. Its name rang everywhere in Lagos but she had no knowledge of its location. He followed the direction and stopped front of the gate.
The gateman had his head bowed to a desk and did not raise it on their entering. No much noise spiked her ears except the slapping of their soles against the ground.
The spacious interior had a stench worse than that of a usual hospital. The usual hospitals smelled of drugs, different kinds that combine into one pricking smell. But the smell here was a different kind, not drugs, but something else that was difficult to ascertain, a stench she would not love to inhale every day. A man sat on an armchair, reading a newspaper lowered to his nose. Before his eyes could reach her, she flicked hers away from him. He waved to the stairs for the doctor’s office.
As she stepped into the office, cold air from the air conditioner bathed and froze her insides, icing and tearing up her stomach. The doctor’s round spectacles covered the whole of his eyes that bored into her.
Richard presented her case to the doctor, who then opened a file and brought out two white sheets. One, he placed at her front and the other at Richard’s. There were many things to fill. Some were not easy to write down but it was a mere form. She filled it and handed it to the doctor. He tagged the forms and other papers to a folder.
Her room was number forty-four. The doctor told Richard before he left.
She watched him leave and asked herself how she ended up in the hospital, how she ended up in a psychiatric hospital.
The form in the doctor’s hands accounted for a three months payment.