My New Friend

My New Friend

I’ve started writing diaries. The good doctor told me to. She said it’s the only way to keep track of things. Yet I can’t remember what I did last night! Mama, Papa are very worried. I feel sad. I just want everyone to be happy. Is something wrong with me? 

——

Dr. Maya loved challenges. This was one. Ten years as a psychologist and she hadn’t seen a case like 12-year-old Sheila’s. She remembered the day her parents had come to her clinic, with their other daughter.

“Leila was always a difficult child, unlike my elder daughter Sheila,” her mother had begun without a preamble, “Climbing kitchen-counters, breaking things, throwing temper tantrums… we’d been lax with Leila, fearing her meltdowns. But she’s taken it too far. It started with the neighbours’ complaints – a wounded dog, a scalded kitten. Last week we found a severed cat-tail in Leila’s room. The neighbour’s cat had gone missing. We discovered the cat and some dead birds buried in our backyard yesterday. She blamed it all on Sheila, but Sheila’s a sweet girl, she wouldn’t harm a fly!”

Several home-visits and counselling-sessions later, Maya had realized, Leila was telling the truth. The parents refused to believe. But she focused on Sheila, befriending her, making her write diaries, taking her into confidence. The poor child was unaware of her alter-ego that went about murdering innocent creatures! Dissociative-Personality-disorder was rare, but Maya was determined to cure her. 

—–

Five years later

Maya felt proud. She was stopping Sheila’s sessions tonight. Years of psychotherapy, medicines, and hard work had finally borne fruits. ‘Elisha’ from ‘Sheila’, a clever anagram! She marveled at the ingenuity : one was a recluse, loving and caring, the other a wild child, that nurtured extreme hatred for animals! It had taken months of hypnotherapy to bring out Sheila’s trigger, the childhood trauma of severe neglect and emotional abuse: the erratic life-style of her parents, often leaving her alone at home, lack of medical care, lies and deceit… something they had conveniently kept from Maya. Maya had fought hard to send the sisters to a children’s home. It had taken years for Sheila to acknowledge Elisha. The inexplicable hatred against animals, however, had stemmed from jealousy against the neighbour’s pets she’d watched being constantly loved and pampered. Oh, the intricacies of human mind!

——

I’m happy, because I’m cured, and sad, because I won’t see Maya again. I loved her. She was my best friend! I was angry when I learnt about Elisha, how evil!

Every day, Maya would ask me, “How’s your friend?”

And Elisha would take over, “Nunya business, granny!”

I hated her. She dominated me, but I was adamant. 

I haven’t heard from her in years now, nor has Maya. I’ve ousted her! What a relief!

When Maya left today, she’d said, “I’ll call, you don’t have to be lonely.”

I smiled. 

She doesn’t know, I have a new friend, who now speaks to me daily. Her name’s Ashlie, and she doesn’t like animals either!

——

Glossary :
Nunya – (Informal) slang for ‘none of your business’.

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