“They don’t see what hurts you until it kills you.”
Pardon my manners but why are all of you in tears? The only thing I care about right now is if only I could move. Damn. Always a size too small. And the lining in here looks so smooth.
But they got the color wrong. It was supposed to be blue. Not white. A dying man’s last wish. Oh I didn’t tell you. It’s my funeral. Yah. You heard me right. There are a bunch of people gathered. Some are in tears. The others, well I can only guess the rats will be disappointed with the leftovers today. Back to more important matters. How on earth did they get the color wrong. Blue. Is all I asked for. Or did I misspell it? Honestly speaking I was kind of in a hurry.
The pills were taking effect, things getting blurry, not wanting to leave anything unsaid I worked fast, ended up scribbling incoherent words. That must be why am here lying in a coffin with a white inside. Maybe next time I will get it right. Okay I committed suicide. Don’t be quick to judge me. Didn’t the savior tell some crowd let the man with no sin cast the first stone? I had to do it. At least that is how it felt at the time.
Mom is in tears. She is lying on the glass, looking down at my lifeless body with that look all mothers possess that you know she would lay down her life for yours. I want to reach out. To at least tell her it was not her fault. There was nothing anyone could have done. You see I was born schizophrenic. Throughout my life I had dealt with my demons. Forget yours that you tuck away. Mine were always coming at me. There was no place for me to hide. Then they had gone silent. Three whole years of bliss. Nothing. Peace. Tranquility. Beauty. Out of nowhere, the silence became deafening. You know the pin drop one before everything goes to hell. I was never going back, even the Israelites never dreamt of Egypt after they got to the promised land. Hush now mom. Don’t cry for me.
The MC is calling out to those who have something to say about the deceased. Me. Me. Me. Pick me. I left some things unsaid. I want to set the record straight. I want to put to ease all the heavy hearts laden with grief gathered here. I didn’t want to be a burden. An object of pity. I decided to take matters into my own hands. For once in my life I didn’t want to be helpless. We should have seen it coming? We were negligent. We failed. Lay all these aside. No one could have seen it coming. I wanted to finish on top. Can you at least understand that?
Smile now. Wipe away the tears. Be done with the grief. Remember me fondly. And seriously, who got the color wrong? B. L. U. E. Cheers.
When I wrote the above piece a few months back I had no idea September is Suicide Awareness Month. I came up with the story from a prompt on endings. Then September came. And suddenly am looking at the number of suicides in the country and it is shocking to say the least.
My first encounter with suicide was way back in primary at Kitito Boarding School (some school in the middle of nowhere, literally). There had been a robbery at the school, the father was left with cuts on his head, and some AP officers were deployed to be staying within the vicinity of the school. I even remember us helping clean their houses. We were happy that we would be secure once again.
Some months down the line. We are in for our night preps. Shots ring through the air.
Everything is going to be fine.
Morning. The report. One of the officers came home and had a disagreement with the wife. He turned his gun on them. Luckily his bullets missed. On seeing this it is said he sat on the edge of his bed, put the muzzle of his AK-47 in his mouth and with his toes stepped on the trigger.
Back then I really didn’t take much from that situation. But one I remember was a rumuor that went around that since it is wrong according to the law to take your own life, the state has a stake in your life and you don’t get to choose when you are done, he would have to be burried with his hands in handcuffs. How true is this? Anyone.
Then in 2015 it struck close home. A cousin took his own life.
I like to imagine him lying on his back in his rented house in Tharaka. The bed creaks as he turns to take the plastic cup holding the concotion. The rat poison has not dissolved all of it. It has turned the water some strange color because he bought it from one of those guys with a radio going, ‘dawa ya mende, panya na kunguni, karibu customer’ and it repeats again and again.
For a second he doubts if it will work. It could be chalk. He murmurs a silent prayer under his breath that it works.
He lets it sit.
He turns to her side of the bed. The space she used to occupy. Empty. She is gone. She simply walked out. Said she no longer wanted to be with him. It had torn him to shreds. His heart broke. His whole existence came to a standstill.
Is there anything left to live for?
He gets the feeling that his phone has vibrated with a new message. His heart leaps with joy and shouts to his head, ‘See there was no use making up your mind that fast, told you she would call or text at least.’ He picks his kabambe and presses the home button. A blank screen stares back at him. Nothing. ‘I told you she is never coming back,’ his head triumpantly tells his heart, ‘enough of this tortue already. Enough!’
‘Wait what abou..’
He is already gulping down the poison. He places the cup back. Lies facing the roof concetrating on that part with the small hole that sometimes lets in light during the day and you can see the dust dancing in the air.
The thing about suicide is that there is really no closure. The ones that are left behind are for ever left behind with unanswered questions. I had only previously met my cousin once. He was a really quiet guy. Minded his own business. Didn’t speak unless spoken to. An introvert I believe they are called.
The one clear thing that came out from that whole experience was speak out. Talk to someone. Anyone really. Your mamamboga. Your pastor. Your siblings. Your friends. Don’t bottle things up until they become a problem and blow back on you. Don’t speak much. You say. Find a way to vent as long you don’t hurt anyone in the process. You included. Yes you.