Come Back Home



Come Back Home

The days all merged and have become my vacuous floaty reality. I look at my fingernails bitten down to stubs and wonder who bit them. There he sits staring at me, always looking; I wonder what he hopes to see that’s different. The others come in too, in and out bringing dishes, bringing pills and grinning like some fools. The cotton nightie cling to my sagging breasts and I tug at it in discomfort. I get up off the old armchair and look for the bathroom, where was it again? He raises his head, “Bathroom?” I nod. He rings the bell and another one of the smiley girls come and take my hand. I pull away, I wasn’t no invalid, I suck my teeth in disapproval. She laughs and leads the way. The bathroom is unfamiliar just like this house. Why couldn’t I go home? She leaves the door open and stand outside as I do my business. Did I shower today? I remove my clothes and jump in. “Oh no Miss!” she runs in, “You just had a shower!” I hold onto the bar and refuse to come out. “Leave her be.” The man in the room with me tell her. He comes in, I try to hide my nakedness, he pretends he doesn’t see me, “Bring her back when she is ready.”

            I am tired and lie on the hard bed in the room. The man comes and sits next to the bed. He speaks gently and takes my hand. I don’t know who he is, I grab my hand away. “My love don’t you remember me today?” He was perhaps mad, my husband left me years ago, he left for a nice young girl with broad hips and plump lips. After he left, I became ill. I was feeling myself slipping away even before he left. He promised me forever, he promised that he wouldn’t even look at another, but what he gave me were just lies and deceit. I started slipping in and out when I saw through his lies, when I found our bed cold, when he started going to work without telling me goodbye, I started slipping and he did not even notice. So, this man here was a total stranger, my love? What a stupid thing to say. I turn to him, “When will I get to go home?” He seemed taken aback, “This is your home, you don’t remember we built it together?” I look blankly at him; this man was surely out of his mind.

            The children come in and peek at me, their parents stroke my head and kiss my cheeks and call me mom. I look at the little girl as she curiously touch my face; she looked like someone I once knew. Maybe someone I saw in a mirror once. I like her pretty curls. I remember I had a daughter once with long lovely curls. “What happened to Mira?” I ask the people around, “I am here Mom.” The tall lady answers, she is the little girl’s mother. “No, you are not Mira, I am talking about my daughter. Tell her I miss her.” She rushed out with tears in her eyes. Maybe a broken old woman makes people cry. Maybe she really did know what happened to Mira and didn’t want to tell me. I want to be left alone and I ask them to leave. They sullenly walk out whispering to the man in the room as they leave. I wondered how old I was now, “Can you call my brother?” I ask the man.

 “Why? What’s wrong?”

“I think he will tell me the truth because all you ever do is lie to me, I want to know how old I am, when is my birthday?”

“You are only fifty-eight and your birthday is 12th of July,” he responds in a matter-of-fact way. I scoff at him the liar because I was only forty-two when my husband left me. That couldn’t be that long ago.

            I rise early the next day and look at him sleeping next to me. Does he always sleep next to me? I wonder what my husband would think of this man. I want to get out and be free of him. I try to open the window but it’s stuck. Then I try the door, it creaks open, the man jumps up and asks what I am doing. I don’t answer him. “Did my husband ever come back to see his kids?” I ask the man. He looked sadly at me, “Your husband made a mistake and when he returned, you had already lost yourself…he tried but you refused to see him…he still loves you.” I feel the tears run down my face as they turn into uncontrollable sobs. My love couldn’t be content with our lives, he left his children, he left me. Why was this man saying he came back, why were there no familiar faces around me? They all abandoned me, my husband, my brother, my children. When I focused my life on being there for everyone. Why did they leave me with this total stranger?

He guides me to the armchair and sits next to me, this time I allow him to hold my hand. His hand feels familiar but I am sure that was my mind again playing tricks on me.

“I want to die.” As soon as I say it, his face becomes cloudy and tears fill his eyes.

“I love you; everyone loves you, you got to come back…please come back to us…come home.” I feel my chest tighten; he couldn’t understand. What’s the point of living when all those you loved have gone? I look at him. “I just want to stop feeling this emptiness and loneliness, I am no use to anybody, I am a shell. Let me die.” He said nothing and held onto my hands. He said nothing and in that silent nothingness, I remember my name. “I’m Johanna,” I whisper to him. Then, he kissed me.




Melissa Jerry-Stoute


Melissa Jerry-Stoute is a wife, mother of three children and teacher. She graduated with a BA in English Language and Literature with Education from the University of the West Indies.  Her passion for writing began as a teen. Two of her stories, ‘The Jumbie Bud’ and ‘When the Cock Crows’ were published in Active Muse in 2020 and early 2021. She has also been featured by Trinidad and Tobago’s national library (NALIS) in a read aloud segment.


Previous Post Next Post