Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Life Unlive - An Untold Story.

A Short Story By My Den
"How is Patient No. 2 today?" Doctor Ang asked. "Same as usual, staring into space," replied nurse Devi. Entering the ward, Doctor Ang saw the back of Patient No.2, with her long white hair, sitting in front of the window. In her 70's, she is the longest-staying patient in the Institute of Mental Health. Nobody knew her name and all efforts to trace her family and relatives were fruitless. She was found dumped at the Institute's gate one morning 53 years ago.....

"Stop!, Ah Mui, no!," shouted her mother. Ah Mui was banging her head repeatedly into the wall, the living room was a mess of broken glass and porcelain. Blood was streaming down her face and dripping onto the floor. Since she was 8 years old, Ah Mui has been suffering from fits accompanied with violence and destructive behaviour. Now a teenager, she had on occasions, attacked her mother, siblings and even strangers during her frequent bouts of fits.

Writing guide
With her husband having abandoned the family and three other children to care for, Ah Mui's mother found it extremely hard to cope and care for her. There were also the gossips and friction in the family to deal with : "I think she is possessed, better don't go near her," neighbours would warned their children. "We cannot live here anymore as we are frightened of her. Ma, you have to do something!" implored the eldest son.

While her fits has always been a part of Ah Mui's life since she was young, it deteriorated rapidly 3 years ago when one day.......

"Ah Seng, I am home!" shouted Ah Mui's mother. With no sign of her alcoholic husband, she started to call out to Ah Mui but instead heard crying coming from her room. The scene that greeted her in the room chilled her heart.

Writing guide
Ah Mui was crouching in a corner, her clothes in tatters and hair dishevelled with blood and bruises on her face. "What happened, Ah Mui?" she cried. All Ah Mui could uttered was : "Papa...he...very pain here..." she pointed to her groin. Ah Mui was only 11 years old.

Out of shame and not wanting to subject her family to further humiliation, Ah Mui's mother did not report the rape to the authorities. Since that fateful day, her husband has not been seen and Ah Mui's condition degenerated rapidly.

"Who is making all that noise so early in the morning?" Duty Nurse Chin grumbled, irritated that the loud wailing had woke her from her much needed rest. Looking out the window, she was shocked to see a young girl been tied to the gates of the Institute, wailing and struggling to be free of the ropes.
The magic of words
So began Ah Mui's stay at the Institute of Mental Health. For 53 years, Ah Mui had never talked, just the occasional mutterings that nobody understood. Staring blankly at the walls all day long, her nights were always accompanied by her wailings.

Each day passes placidly and for 53 years, Ah Mui never had any visitors, not her mother, siblings or relatives.

Going through the paperwork, Nurse Devi just couldn't help being distracted by Patient No. 2 : "Just who was she ?," she wondered.

Patient no. 2 passed away in her sleep last night, leaving no trace of her identity. No siblings, relatives or friends were by her side when she slipped away.

*Author footnote :
As a reflection of the times and the stresses of living in a modern society, the incidences of people suffering from mental illness have being rising worldwide. A taboo subject in most societies, many are shunned, treated like pariahs and dumped at mental institutions by their families, just like Ah Mui, many.... with lives unlive.

*More stories by MyDen
- The Boy Who Saw Angels


cardiogirl said...

What a sad, touching story. So much told in such few words. Excellent writing.

p.s. Found you through a comment over at Les' place.

Alice Teh said...

This story gripped me and had me reading from its first sentence until the end. It has touched me deeply.

My Den said...

Hi Alice,
This story actually has its basis on snippets of rumours about my maternal grandaunt and together with a recent sojourn as a volunteer in an organisation caring for the mentally ill, sets me off in writing this story. Glad it struck a chord with you.

Thank you for visiting and hope to hear from you again. Take care.

My Den said...

Hi cardiogirl,
This story marks my first amateurish attempt at writing short stories and I am bowled over by your kind comments. Just gave me the encouragement to carry on.

Thanks and great to have you here. Best.