It’s a slow Wednesday evening. I check my phone, hoping that at least somebody has remembered that I am alive. Nobody has. I sigh. It comes out deeply. A defeated sigh. As if I’m resigned to be alone, to feel lonely. I throw my phone away and lie in bed. I try to take a nap. Nothing happens. My body doesn’t want to go to sleep. Instead it starts thinking hard. I don’t want it to do that. I don’t want to feel depressed. So I stand up and look out of my window.
I see a couple. They look happy. The guy is standing opposite the lady. They are holding hands. Both hands. The guy leans in and whispers something into the lady’s ears. She laughs, uncontrollably. Her laugh is loud. The guy moves in, his eyes look mischievous. He wants to kiss the girl. I look away. Looking at them only makes me aware of how lonely and single I am. Which ain’t bad on most days, just not today.
My phone buzzes. I get excited. It’s Pat.
Pat:Hey, uko around.
Pat: Niko na simsim
No I don’t want simsim. The last time I had it, I felt extremely sad for a short moment. Then felt super happy. No , I don’t want to amplify my feelings.
Me: Ehee , uko na ngapi
Don’t judge me.
Pat: Sawa, nakam
Five minutes later, I get a knock on my door. I open it. It’s Pat.We fist bump. It’s a bit painful. I don’t mind. His fists are really bony. Pat is a lanky dude with a baby face. On good days he looks like those skinny super dark male models in vogue magazine. On bad days he looks like an emaciated child soldier straight from the Beast of no nation film. Today he’s in between. He goes and sits on my bed.
‘Na kwani umetoa simsim wapi? ’, I ask
‘ Jemu aliniletea Jana.’
Jemu is our mutual friend. She is also a plug. Mostly deals in edibles. Her blunts aren’t too bad either, ni mali safi. Pat opens his backpack and after much shuffling, hands me one of the simsims. I take it. I look at it. I don’t want it. I still take a bite though. It’s sweet. I take another.
‘Bro , slow down.’Pat says.
‘Chill mse, it’s just two bites.’
‘Jemu said these are potent.’
‘Aiii, yeye husema hivyo kila siku na hakuna kitu hufanyika.’
I take another bite. I feel thirsty. I go get water. I drink it straight from the bottle. It’s refreshing. I take the last bite , and settle next to Pat. He hasn’t started on his. I try to grab it from him. He knocks my hands away and takes a bite. I don’t feel a thing. We stay silent.
Pat starts talking. I don’t mind it. He tells me about his mum. How she is seeing this new neighbor of theirs. I’m vaguely interested. I mutter my mmmmhs. He then starts to talk about Cess, the most recent subject of his sexual desires. I don’t think they will have a sexual relationship. Cess is saving herself for marriage. I stop listening.
I check my phone. No new messages. I sigh. This time not as deep as the last time. Richard has updated his status. I open it. It’s a picture of a pretty girl in a bikini on a beach. The caption is RIP, three broken heart emojis and a crying emoji. I feel sad. The simsim has kicked in. I show the picture to Pat. He looks at it. Then stares at it.
He finally says, ‘Huyo ni Lisa Benot.’
Pronounced Be-no, silent t.
‘Kwani you know her?’
‘Yeah, we were in the same class in first year, then she switched courses.’
‘What killed her?’
‘She hanged herself.’
‘Story ya relationship.’
Turns out she got heartbroken. Found out that her boyfriend was cheating on her with her best friend. Her best friend was pregnant. Sad story.
‘Pat, have you ever thought of killing yourself?’
‘Hizi ni story gani sasa mse!’
‘Wewe jibu swali.’
He keeps quiet. He’s thinking. I remain silent. We stay that way for a while. I am engulfed in sadness. I want to cry. I can’t cry. Crying is a personal thing for me . I don’t want Pat to see me crying. I don’t want anybody to see me crying.
‘Yeah, I have thought of committing suicide. I don’t think it’s right though. I think it is selfish.’ Pat says.
‘I don’t think it is selfish. It is my body , therefore I have the liberty to do whatever I wish with it.’
‘Exactly, that is being selfish. What about the people you’re leaving behind? Your family , your parents. Do you think they deserve the emotional turmoil that comes with dealing with your suicidal death?’
‘Mse , what about me, what if I am overwhelmed mentally and physically and death is the only respite? Should I consider living so that my parents can be content yet I’m dying inside?’
‘Bro, huskizi. There are other ways to deal with your emotional and physical pain, si death solo. You can go see a therapist.’
‘Hatuko majuu mse. Therapy is expensive and I am not sure they’ll get me hata.’
‘Is this about you?’
‘Are you sure.’
‘Yes, I was speaking hypothetically, come on.’
Silence. More silence, the weird kind. Pat takes another bite. He chews loudly. I don’t like the sounds. In between his chewing he asks,
‘You, have you ever thought about killing yourself?’
‘ I have , countless times.’
‘Life is a bitch.’
‘No, I mean why haven’t you gone through with it?’
‘Kwani you want me dead.’
He doesn’t answer. I have thought of dying. I have fantasized about what happens once we die. I don’t believe I will come back as a fat well fed cat called Jones owned by a loving cat person. I like the idea of that though. Just sitting around looking all cute and being fed all day. No worries. I once believed in the heaven and hell thing, then I grew up and felt like in order to go to heaven I had to lead some type of life. I didn’t like the idea of living that way. So I stopped believing. Killing myself is a different ball game.
‘I haven’t gone through with it because of the pain. I hate pain. I haven’t found a painless and affordable way to kill myself.’
Pat laughs at this.
‘Take pills.’ He says.
‘I hate medicine.’
‘ By the way there are ways. Google that shit up. You just haven’t looked hard enough.’
‘Yeah, I haven’t. I don’t want to. Some part of me still wants to stay and see what happens when we’re thirty.’
Silence ensues, the good kind.
Pat breaks the silence, ‘Seriously though, if you ever feel like killing yourself , will you text me first.’
‘Yeah I will.’
I feel happy. It’s the second wave of simsim effects. I want to hug Pat. So I hug him. He gets rigid. Then punches me in the stomach.
‘Unafanya nini mse?’
It’s a light punch , but it hurts . I stop hugging him and massage my stomach. Pain, I feel it. I am alive. I can get to thirty years. Lisa Bonet with a silent t can’t. It’s sad, but I’m happy. I want to spread my happiness. I hug Pat again. This time he stays still.
‘I love you bro.’ I say.
‘Acha hizo mse, are you gay?’
‘Zii mse, I feel like I never appreciate you in my life. Mimi si gofa, jua tu nakupenda mse.’
Wishing you all a less sad new year. And don’t kill yourselves. Stay alive ❤️