I’ve never been one of those people that were great at life, those people that never seem to have anything go wrong with them and even if they did, they’d handle it like nothing ever happened. I think I was only meant to enjoy a few things in this world. I was mostly too engrossed in books to enjoy anything else.
If you ever asked me what I thought about life,-wait, now that I think of it, at first glance you probably would refrain from asking me -if you did, I would refer you to my sister. She had a better understanding of life. One of the many that seemed to have all the pieces of the puzzle called life. She graduated top in her class, had a thriving career as the Managing Director of the firm she worked at, had also recently been approved by the firm to go for an all-expence paid trip to Australia for a professional course training. I wouldnt say she had a perfect life; she definitely had her down times because sadly as a human you already had a default dent. If you were lucky, yours wouldn’t be as visible and if you weren’t like me, the poster child for catastrophe, everyone would spot you. But the ratio of her good to down times was a solid 5:1. She had a great social circle, the kind I only dreamed of- and that’s assuming I had a good enough day to afford whimsical dreams. This social circle I would occasionally be allowed to be a part of. We didn’t have many social interactions but we were best of friends and even better, sisters. I was her confidant and she was mine. We would stay up and have conversations about any and every thing. She was the one I went to for decisions.
So as I sit on our front steps, with a blanket over my shoulder, hair dripping wet and make up smudged from both tears and water from the tub, my white shirt -the irony that I had chosen not to wear my usual black shirt today wasnt lost to me- covered in diluted blood, as I sit here I can’t help but wonder what I missed. I look down at my converse, they’re completely soaked and the lace of my left foot is loose. I bring my hands out from under the blanket and try to tie them, failing as my hands won’t stop shaking. Put me in a room with an old Parkinson patient and I’m pretty sure I’d get more sympathy.
The police want me to give a statement, but words aren’t something familiar to me right now. I can see them dancing around my head but I can’t focus well enough to speak. I almost feel like a new-born, only this time welcomed by life’s ugliness. So all I do is stare through a haze of confusion and try to communicate with little nods. A wave of dizziness washes over me, cold as the tub water and I place my head in my pale palms. They feel clammy against my skin, cold and clammy. That’s the last thought I recall as I wake up in a hospital bed, -which I would later learn was 4hours later.
I can hear my Mums voice on the other side of the door, I can tell she’s speaking with my Dad; he is away on a business trip and wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. The usual softness and grace to her voice has been replaced with fear, confusion and despair. I sob silently and try to recollect the events of that day, the gory images of my sister flash by my eyes and I shut them tight. Pale skin, eyes shut, slit wrist; typical textbook suicide.
I think of the days before that and tried to look for signs. I had read somewhere that suicide victims often leave signs, subtle ones maybe, but there always were. She was my best friend, we were the two dots that made a straight line and I thought I knew everything about her. At least enough to have known if she wasn’t “fine”, right?? Maybe if I had raised my nose from my books and paid a little more attention, maybe if I had insisted that her drastic weight loss wasn’t because she was “keeping fit” like she claimed, maybe if I hadn’t ignored her regular retweets of sad “sincerely tumblrs” quotes especially the one that said “Those who laugh at everything are often the saddest” maybe, just maybe, I could have saved her. I understand it isn’t my fault but…. What if??
So if you managed to ask me what I think about life, I would tell you, life isn’t at all how we see it.
By Nengi Nelson
Edited by Eugene .O.
—————————————————————-Note: I realised how little attention we pay to depression and suicide here in Nigeria. We are mostly focused on what meets the eye and easily change topics when it comes up. “We sometimes mistake deep mental and emotional torture for weakness and so fail to see the signs around us “. We can’t really save them all but we may sleep good knowing that we tried. To the troubled ones, suicide is never the answer.