A QUARTER TO MIDNIGHT!

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You sitting on the edge of the 7th floor window, feet dangling out in the darkness. From there you can see pretty much everything happening on the Southern side of the estate. A half-full bottle of vodka in your left hand and a phone on the other hand.  Thanks to the alcohol in your system, you no longer feel cold despite being in a vest and shorts. You glance at your wristwatch, it is fifteen minutes to midnight, the deadline. You take another long swig from the bottle. Today this ends, the world will be better off without me

Your attention shifts to a couple lounging in the open boot of a car at the parking lot below. The guy is playing a guitar while his companion is watching, smiling ear to ear. The tune sounds familiar but you cannot remember what song it is. They are madly in love. This reminds you of your current situation. I can’t take this anymore.

Your heart is heavy with sadness. Things have never been the same since she left you. There is not a single soul in this world that cares about you, not after Sarah. The thought of your woman in another man’s arms makes your intestines turn.  This must end tonight!

You have never liked the sight of blood so slitting wrists is out of question. The other option was to ingest some pesticide you could easily purchase from a local drugs store. However, you read some online article that such poisons take time. Hours of agonizing stomach pains before your body finally gives in, is too much to bear. This is the easiest way out, instant death without pain.

The decision was made two weeks ago. On Thursday precisely, after you and two other workers in your department were fired over emezzelement allegations. The truth is you were not involved in any of the illicit dealings.

On receiving your dismissal letter, you passed by a pub to calm your nerves and come up with an explanation. You didn’t tell anyone about it. Who would you tell anyway? Sarah was the first person you thought of breaking the sad news to but since the two of you got into a heated argument last night, you didn’t want to be the first person to break the silence. How do you tell your sickly mother you can no longer pay for her treatment after all she has done for you?

Rebellious brother Mark Maish
Photo courtesy of Garry Night

You left the bar for your place at about 7pm. How will I support my family? How will I pay for my sibling’s education? How will I even service the car loan?You almost ran over two pedestrians dashing across the highway right under the footbridge. Fools!

The dread feeling you were having intensified with each step you took as you headed to your apartment seven floors up. The curtains were drawn and lights off, which was odd. You let yourself in. Something is definitely wrong. Sarah’s favorite red heels were missing from the shoe rack. You rushed into the bedroom and opened the wardrobe. All her clothes, handbags and even make-up kits were gone. You walked back into the living room and fell into the couch, that’s when you saw it. A note lying on the table. You picked it up, after moments of gathering courage you read it.

Dear Mark,

I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you this in person. After carefully thinking I realized it was selfish of me trying to force you into marriage. John proposed to me 3 days ago that’s why I wanted you to assure me that if I stuck with you we would soon get married and have kids. After carefully thinking, I feel it’s best for both of us to part ways so you can go after your dreams.  I wish you a happy life

~ Sarah~

Memories of last night’s fight come back flooding. She wanted to get married before the year ended and have kids. You calmly explained to her that you couldn’t afford to get married right away considering you had only been working for two years and there was need to accumulate some wealth and drag your family out of poverty before you could settle down but she wouldn’t hear any of it. John is some guy at her workplace. They were just close friends, at least that’s what she told you and now the bugger stole your girl.

If you were to tell your friends about Sarah leaving they would probably tell you to forget her and move on. That’s because they don’t know how much she means to you.

Sarah came into your life during your darkest moment, when no other lady wanted to be associated with you. You know how it works. Nairobi women don’t give broke and jobless guys a second glance but Sarah was different. She never looked down upon you. She saw you for who you truly are. A great guy whom life dealt nasty cards.

For three years after graduation you couldn’t secure a job. What exacerbated the pain of unemployment was how former classmates and friends would treat you. Most would avoid picking up your calls. Those who did would bombard you with tales of their amazing lives while feigning to sympathize with you only to later gossip about your situation.

You didn’t want all those fancy things they had, all you ever wanted was to get a job that would enable you foot the bills and take care of your mother and sisters since you are the man in the house after your father abandoned the family for a younger wife.

Despite channeling all your efforts to secure a job nothing seemed to work hence it was a relief when you finally landed a job as an accountant with a multinational NGO after a three-year search thanks to Sarah. Sarah was your main source of motivation. She encouraged you to send out the job application letter even though you were convinced it was pointless.

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For the last couple of months, things have been great. For this period you were able to take good care of your mother who is diabetic and pay for your sister’s education. You even acquired a car and bought a piece of land where you were planning to build a home for your future family. Unfortunately, all this may never happen.

The day you lost your job is also the same day you lost Sarah, a close confidant, soulmate and crucial pillar. You feel helpless and a disappointment to your family. What kind of man would I be if I can no longer take care of those who matter most? Things might have been easier if Sarah was still around but without her you cannot go through another period of unemployment.

Ever since you found Sarah’s note things have never been the same again. You haven’t told any of your friends and family about losing your job or Sarah. Oh and Sarah must have changed her number because no calls or texts have been going through. You even went over to her place to talk things out only to learn that she moved out and none of her neighbors knows where she is currently staying.

Alcohol is the only friend you have left. You have been having vodka for breakfast, lunch and supper to numb the pain but it’s no longer working. The only way to stop the pain, shame and loneliness is by ending your life. You glance at your watch, it reads 12:03 am. Its time.

Now standing on the balcony rail you take a long swig from the bottle. You look behind into the room, the suicide note is on the table so they will definitely find it. Since you don’t want your family to go through lots trouble after you are gone you bought a new suit and left some cash for your burial arrangements on the bed.  You take a last look at the couple in the parking lot. They are now cuddling watching the stars. That should be Sarah and I.

Having said your last prayers, you take a step forward and close your eyes. Your insides are sucked in as you accelerate downwards, the cold wind rushing past your face. Thoughts of how your mother, siblings, Sarah and colleagues will react when they hear of your demise flash through your mind. I hope they forgive me. You open your eyes, the concrete pavement is coming to you fast. You open your mouth to scream but even before any sound comes out you hit the ground head first. Everything goes dark.

Suicide is a taboo subject in most African societies despite it being prevalent in the continent. Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are among the 15 African nations in top 50 on the list of countries with highest suicide rates in the world.

It is time we begin a sober discussion on this pervasive trend, suicide is real. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand and wish it away.

Written by Mark Maish

21 Comments

Add Yours
  1. 1
    Burton Ngatia

    Suicide has always been spoken behind closed doors and we have often buried our heads in the sand just as we often do with so many issues that are so called ‘non african.’ Depression and suicidal tendencies strike even the so called well off in society. its so real. Nice piece and this should definitely not end here friends.

  2. 3
    Patrick

    Sure Mark, you have put it across. This is a nice and well observed article written down. This is the contemplation of many especially Young people frustrated due to love and joblessness hence find life has no meaning. It is upon you and me to help those next to us by touching not only their lives but also their hearts. Extend your heart to the other and joy; peace and love will reign:

  3. 7
    Jeanie

    I love this piece; it’s a serious issue and I have addressed it in one of my poems on my blog. good work for facilitating this awareness!

  4. 9
    Brian Nyagol

    You can’t imagine how many people go through such feelings, some get rescued, some suffer very bad injuries, some just …”Everything goes dark.” What then is the solution? When people commit suicide, they see a dead end, no hope to their situation, no imagination of a better life for them henceforth.

    Maybe this is because we focus on only a few things we think matter, and forget the small things that REALLY matter. Some things that would make someone think twice about this is for instance, you die now, Sarah goes ahead to get married, happy and enjoying her life, and having kids, and yet you loved her and she loved you back (you know for sure). If she loved you and she walked away, and will now enjoy her life even more, you have a better capacity to do the same. Make yourself happy, forget the damn situation and look at yourself.

    Sincerely, the thought of my VibeCampo.com friends or even Facebook looking at a blank profile for 3 years wondering where I went, not knowing I am rotting in the ground will make me just coil my tail and fear death.

    Small reasons that count. I have no mercy for the “..I hope they forgive me..” phrase. They really wont, so don’t even think of doing it.

    I rest my case. What is your solution around this? What would you tell someone who is just about to commit suicide that will make them stop? Share with me and others here.

  5. 10
    Sarafina

    Suicidal thoughts come in so strong waves, that when they don’t get a strong reverse always leave irreplaceable marks in peoples lives.

  6. 12
    duncan steve

    I love the choice of your words -well brought out and points exactly to the main agenda /issue being talked about
    Thumbs up .
    Continue creating awareness about suicide.

  7. 14
    Ngige

    Quarter Life Crisis; a big cause of suicide among people below 35years. Its bad place to be to see colleagues do so well yet you cant even raise monthly rent. And its a worse place to be when life no longer makes sense.
    Maybe the best way we can help our young people is through thorough counseling and mentor-ship esp in high school and colleges.

  8. 16
    Ben

    Hey Mark Maish i was a great fan of Wahome Mutahi
    Since he left i thought that no one will take his place but now here you are
    Keep up Man great work,keep the fire burning Man.

    Congrants.

  9. 18
    franc

    Mark i love yoh pieces and i use them as personal in my life though to reach out and spread this.keep up big bro live long to inspire me

  10. 19
    Korir

    The themes you pick for your pieces are so relevant. Been reading most of your pieces and I love the way you contextualize issues in a precise manner.

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