Eva Maria Chapman

Excerpt from Sasha & Olga

This sample comes from Part 1 Chapter 7, ‘Descent into Hell’, where Olga slides further into schizophrenia aided and abetted by a barrage of drugs, electro shock therapy and eventually lobotomy. One evening when Olga is home from hospital, a baby catapults itself from her womb and bounces onto the bedroom floor. It is my youngest sister Alexandra. This is a dreadful shock for the family as there was absolutely no warning whatsoever. No one including Olga’s doctors, had spotted she was pregnant. Olga rejects the baby outright, saying she has been implanted by mysterious forces.

Sasha and I were summoned to a case conference with my mother and several psychiatrists. Olga announced to the doctors that the baby was an immaculate conception and had been implanted by ‘Them’. The long thick heavy skirt she wore despite the warm weather was, she told the doctors, protection from being implanted again. Darting terrified looks out of the window, she fearfully pulled the skirt more tightly around her.

Having received this bizarre explanation, the doctors now turned to my father. “Mr Levkowicz, have you er had er sexual relations with your wife?”

Sasha, beetroot with embarrassment, opened his goldfish mouth a few times but no words emerged. Olga interjected, poking my arm frantically,

“Say to dhem, Eva, say dhat Sasha and I not sleep togeder five years. Tell to dhem - different bedrooms. Say to dhem I not want dhat Jew near me!”

It was now my turn to be embarrassed, if embarrassed is the right word in this crazy situation. I concur that truth is stranger than fiction. I don't think anyone could ever make up such a scene.

“Well,” I piped in a high nervous voice, turning towards the psychiatrists, “it's true that Mum and Dad have slept in different rooms for many years and she has been in hospital for most of that time...…..” My voice trailed off. Perhaps it was an immaculate conception after all. I stared dumbly at my mother's thick serge skirt.

My father eventually found a shaky voice, “Eva, remember when you and Val went away for weekend last May, well your mahder and I....…..”

“Is lie!” screamed Olga, “Eva you say to dhem! I not been near Sasha! Say to dhem no period for five years! Tell to doctors everytink! You know!” She looked up at the ceiling in fear, clutching her skirt.

The psychiatrists now fixed their attention onto me as if I had all the answers to this perplexing problem. My father looked stricken and his imploring eyes sought out mine. He was trying to tell me, as embarrassing as it was for him, that it was true; he and my mother had done the deed, once. Olga on the other hand was adamant that she and Sasha hadn't had sex for years. It was also true that she hadn't menstruated in a long time. The doctors had previously decided that she had had an early menopause brought on by the regime of drugs. Could it be possible that somehow she had produced one egg in all that time and that this unlikely event had somehow coincided with the one time they had had sex? An immaculate conception seemed more probable. And here I was barely seventeen years old, being asked to adjudicate on what was true.

“Well if you say so Dad, when Val and I were away....…..” my voice felt weaker and thinner as I betrayed my mother and her thick skirt.

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