Celebrating East African Writing!
Nobody likes survivors
Nobody likes those who remain alive. It’s as if they had a cheat sheet and still got D’s.
Hands shaking, Tracey tears off the seal on the plastic bottle and inhales the pungent fumes. The kind that make your nose hairs erect in protest and pull out your blood vessels while at the same time making you weep. She rereads the warning on the bottle just to be sure. Downing the drink is much easier than how most people say it is. The difficult part is the waiting.
Tracy sits on the ugly multicolored couch her mother had gotten at a sale and waits… One minute. Two minutes. Many minutes pass and a lot of nothing happens. She rereads the warning and adds more of the fertilizer in her body, cursing herself for choosing that method for exit. Nobody ever died from drinking fertilizer, she thinks to herself wishing she’d chosen the surest way, a noose, the old fashion way that never let any cheater down unless you didn’t tie the rope tight enough and it broke while you’re suspended midair and the worst thing that could happen in that case was your neck breaking or crashing down head first and a mild case of amnesia ensues.
Tracy is wheezing as she breathes in and out, still counting the minutes to her death. She read online that in some cases, death could occur in as fast as ten minutes but it’s been almost twenty for her and she still feels normal. She tries to move and reach for the bottle and she notices a wet patch under her bum which she laughs off and wipes the sweat off her forehead. Twenty two minutes now, nothing yet, just a wet patch and more wetness on her skin.
Tracy figures she might as well be hungry because she is salivating like she has sprinklers in her mouth and opts to grab a bite which she could wash down with the rest of her poison. As she stands, the wet patch she had felt she now sees is not clear but rather smelly thick goo like substance that resembles a mixture of melted vanilla and chocolate ice cream which she only saw once in a while when she’d had bad beans or too many boiled eggs.
Tracy has to clean up this mess. She might just end up in hospital and a glass of milk will bring her back to life then she’ll have to live the rest of her life knowing that her mother knew that she farted a little too hard on her favorite couch. And the bathroom seems too far so she grabs the curtain pulling it off the pole and tries to wipe off the stink from the couch which she can no longer smell thanks to her swollen sinuses. The bending must be making her a bit dizzy and Tracy can longer feel her heart beat.
Now the thing about death is that you will never know when it’s coming. That is the beauty of life, never knowing when your end will get to you. Even cheaters have to wait. They can’t tell the exact time death will come even though they’ve personally called the reaper to their side.
Tracy didn’t know the man above was collecting His dues; she just fell on the floor and stopped breathing. Not instantly, slowly. But eventually, she did and her body became cold and stiff.
She never imagined that what she felt was actually what the warning on the bottle had indicated; the wet patch, the colored wet patch, the wetness on her skin, the wheezing, the dizziness, inability to smell, her frail heart slowing and the eventual fall and death.
Just like everyone else, Tracy died and she didn’t even know it. She was no cheater after all, no one ever is. Life cheats you in the end. The giver of life is the master and only He gets to cheat.
“I reject your refinement and choose to run free and get carried away by the wind. Don’t cry and pretend you loved me at my funeral.
One day, I had just gone balls deep in my daughter and hurt her so bad that she bled when my wife, her mother walked in. She tried to hide the mess made by the blood but she had this limp that you couldn’t help but notice. The kind of limp that reminded you of someone’s or even your own first time. My wife found me in the shower shortly after she’d watched my… our daughter do a hyena walk across the house. She never looked at me the same. She always watched Tracey whenever I was around but I had my ways to ensure the cat was never let out of the basket. The corner of her eye seemed permanently stuck in my direction and Tracey couldn’t be kept mum any longer. The darkest places in hell are meant for those who maintain neutrality in times of crisis. To end it, I had. So the life I gave to her was the life I took from her.
After Tracey died, my wife walked away. She just walked away and I seemed to have lost the two most important women in my life in one instance. The one who gave life to my very own flesh and blood and the life that came out my very own creation.
I’ve always wanted to tell my story to someone. Share my insecurities and non-existent hopes. When I was younger, more like really young, my mother taught me a trick. She would come home every afternoon and bring me sweets. Those nice Cadbury éclairs everybody liked when they were younger. She would call me from where I was playing with my friends into the house and put the sweets on the table then let me take off the wrapper before landing on me with slaps and blows. One sick woman she was. I never really got to know why she did it but it had something to do with my drunkard of a father who brought home a different woman every night despite my mother’s presence and he would relegate her to sleeping on the couch.
The house was pretty big and there was an extra room but she would still sleep on the couch. She claimed the extra room had bedbugs. But I wouldn’t know. When I was young I thought all crawling things were cockroaches and all flying things, flies. What I got to learn was that people needed the things they wanted. I wanted the Éclairs. Despite the beatings, I always went back for more. Up until the day she died. The crazy woman stuck a butcher’s knife right in her pharynx. I always wonder how she got the courage to do that.
I walked into the kitchen one afternoon after waiting for her to bring my sweets and my daily dose of slaps and blows, my biggest crime being the possession of the man bottle’s eyes and ears and nose and fingers and hair and every other single part. She was on the floor in a pool of blood, eyes wide open as if she had been begging for forgiveness or mercy or for a second chance to murder the man of the bottle before she finally left. Seeing her there did not really move me. She deserved what she got. After all, she had put herself in that situation. So I borrowed a leaf.
I killed my own daughter. Not physically, I deflowered, drove to the point of madness and eventually death. I had to get her back, I had to recreate her. So I set it up.
FEEL LIKE YOU’VE LOST IT ALL?
FEEL LIKE NOBODY LIKES SURVIVORS?
HERE YOU’LL BE ACCEPTED.
My daughter, my mother nature was a troubled one. I needed another troubled one and a suicide hotline seemed the best way to get her back. So here I sit by the phone every day, all day, all week waiting for a call from the one who will fill the hole in my heart. That morning, I make my final supplication. I look up to the heavens, where I believe my God who knows my troubles lives, and let known my request. I ask the Lord to give my mother-nature and whisper my ‘amen when the phone rings. I pick up and the person at the other end of the line says her name is Stella, is fifteen and is looking for help.
“I think I took too much aspirin.”
I smile to myself and picture my Tracey lying on the floor in the smelly room looking frail. I picture my mother, knife stuck in her throat, smiling at me and I picture the beaten woman that was my wife staring at me from the corner of her eye without a word.