IT IS A SUNDAY morning, early, and someone is knocking on my door. I hear the noise—a disturbingly incessant and quite deafening sound, a rude interruption to my sleep. I sit up in bed, almost immediately, with brows furrowed into a thick frown as I let out a quick but loud yawn, all the while struggling to force myself awake.
‘I mean who could possibly be knocking on my door this early, and on such a cold morning like this, when all I want is to sleep in peace?’ I yell but inwardly. I coil my right hand into a tiny ball and fist bump my bed severally, as if that’ll change something.
I slap my left arm furiously, outraged by the sight of the blood-sucking mosquito which had just landed on it but the insect being one step ahead, flies quickly away, leaving me to feel the ramifications of the slap on my own skin. Damn that hurts. I hiss painfully and grimace, muttering curses at the poor animal.
The knocking repeats, in more or less the same fashion as the first. This time, I sense the desperation in it—somebody is either in danger or somebody needs help right away. ‘But then, who would require my help so suddenly?’ I race through my memory expeditiously, sampling the names of the few family and friends I know and as expected, I find no one likely. It is either they are all too far away from where I am or I’ve spoken to them pretty recently to be rest assured that they are all fine.
Could it possibly be my mom?
‘No, I don’t think so,’ I rule out the thought. My mother would definitely tell me if she were coming to visit. I spoke to her yesterday, and the day before, and nothing of that sort emerged during our chat. She’s not one to surprise me with such out of the blue appearances.
‘Well then who else could it be?…..Could it be Dzifa, my stepsister?’
I doubt it is, because I know she wouldn’t have the moral authority to show up in my face. At least not yet. Not after everything she had done to me—that shameless girl.
I hear the knock again for the third time, so much louder this time than previously, that it both startles and shakes the sleep out of me. Someone I may or may not know is at my door and if I’m going to find out who, then there is only one way to do so.
A double tap on my phone’s screen reveals the time: 4:08am. I throw off my thick and fuzzy blanket and reluctantly pull myself out of the cozy bed, from under the warm covers. I debate on whether to grab one of my kitchen knives or not and finally decide against it—it is 4am and I don’t think thieves ever come knocking on doors before breaking in. I make my way sluggishly to the door, through the dimly lit room, not for once bothered about my totally revealing nightgown and messed-up hair. I peer through the tiny peephole on the door hoping to catch a glimpse of this rude intruder. However, my efforts generate minimal results besides the vague figure of a woman, whose skin is smoothly dark, like dark chocolate. The rest of her I could not clearly identify as I only barely managed see her face. I give up and turn the key in the lock. I open the door slightly in time to catch her walking away.
The moderately sized, fairly tall, middle aged woman, turns sharply at the creaking of the door opening and orders her steps back towards me. This woman whose skin glows brightly, who has the most enviable slender face ever with a jawline to kill for, coupled with the fullest and shiniest hair I’m yet to come across anywhere else—which is a bit messed up now—would look so beautiful on any other day. But at the moment, a mere glance at her and you’d know something is wrong with her; it’s either she hasn’t slept for days or she’s been crying a lot for a considerable period of time. Her eyes are sunken and bloodshot, her eyelids swollen and puffed out, and her face, so pale and haggard. Although she’s wearing regular clothes—a plain blue jeans and a simple white-and-black-striped top to match—something about her smells impeccably rich and classy. However, none of that matters to me presently, because the woman is sobbing as she makes her way back to me.
‘Hi Miss Fafali, I am really sorry to bother you at this hour but I’m here because of my son. I thought I should come early before you leave for church or go anywhere else,’ she says wiping the tears with the back of her hand, something I figured normally, she wouldn’t do. On any other day, she’d probably use her neatly folded handkerchief tucked away in her purse or bag or use something closer to that.
On a normal day, I would think twice about letting a complete stranger into my home, but already, this woman knows my name, which totally astonishes me. Could it be that she’s a friend of my mom’s and we had never met? I don’t know for sure but never mind any of that—something unpredictably doleful, about that forlorn, teary-eyed face keeps tugging at my heart, so I hold the door open a lot wider, for her to come in.
I turn on the light in the living room—the place is slightly messy since I haven’t really been able to clean up for a while now—and apologize for the messiness. I am sure she didn’t care much for any apology even though she nods. Certainly, scraggly living rooms are the least of her concerns right now compared to whatever dilemma her son is going through. She refuses with a shake of her head—which is bent at an awkwardly lower angle—the water I offer her. And when finally she speaks again, her voice is hoarse and choked with emotion.
‘Will mentioned you…in his…suicide note,’ her voice cracks.
‘He tried to take his own life. I’m still trying to understand how he could go that far. I know he wasn’t happy at times and all that but I never thought…,’ she leaves the sentence hanging and bursts into tears, the atmosphere thickened with the somber weight of her unspoken words.
‘…I never thought he’d choose death over me. Please, tell me all you know. I want to know why my only son would choose death over me,’ she pauses and sobs some more.
‘I just want to know please. Then maybe, I can try to forgive him.’
She cups her face in her hands still sobbing, her head bobbing, her whole body shaking violently in conformity to the rhythm of her sobs.
To put it bluntly, never have I ever been broken by any sight so much as I am, sitting across from this unknown stranger and watching her, drown in hapless sorrow. I just sit there distraught, speechless, immotile, as though chained to my seat. Here is a woman, pouring her heart out to me, about a son who tried to end his life— which in itself, is such a heart-wrenching and terrible thing to happen to anyone—and so I feel bad for her. But how am I to tell her that I know not this son of hers?; that she’s come to the wrong person when she is already so broken? For a while, I wonder what will happen if I am unable to give her any answers and I begin to quiver inside.
‘Ma’am, I am so sorry about your son and everything you’ve had to deal with. I hate to tell you this, but you’ve got the wrong person, I think. I truly wish though that I had the answers you’re looking for,’ I say with the most solemn expression on my face.
In that short moment, I have never wished to know anybody so much—I just so much wished that I had all the answers that could wipe away all the grief from her grim face. At this point she looks up at me, her expression unreadable, and fiddles through her purse.
She brings out a white square-cut card and extends her hand to me; ‘Here, have a look please. It might help you remember something maybe.’
I take the card from her and soon I know without question what it is. Slowly, I read what’s on the card. It reads;
You know I love you and always will, but I’m unable to continue this journey of lies anymore, of acting all fine and okay, when actually I’m just empty on the inside. I am truly sorry and I hope you can forgive me someday. Tell Dad that he could forgive me or not if he wanted, even though at this point, I really can’t say that I care anymore. And to Fafa, the girl from the bar, whom I wish I had met a lot earlier though. You may never get to see this but I feel like writing it anyway. Just so you know, not all of us are strong, some of us are selfish and disrespectful.
Your son, Will.’
I hand over the card after I’m done reading with mixed emotions—feelings I cannot yet put into befitting words because it’s difficult to find the right words to do so. That card right there has my name on it. Clearly, this ‘Will guy’ knows me and judging from what he wrote, we must have met at a bar, of which I absolutely have no memory of. I mean I remember going to the bar across the street from where I stay a couple of times, but that was like some three months ago, if I remember correctly. I haven’t been to any other bars since, and I have no memory whatsoever of meeting anybody called Will.
That is how come I tell this woman whose name I still don’t know yet, but will later learn is Susanne, to give me some few minutes to get ready. Minutes later, I’m going with her to the hospital, hoping that I may recover from this temporary amnesia, in case I see her son.
Hi most cherished readers;
Season’s greetings to you all.
Yes, it’s been a while, I know and trust me, I have missed you just about the same😚.
This is the first episode of a story about suicide and depression and I’m going to have to ask you to fasten your seatbelts because it’s going to be a long ride.
Till when next we meet….anticipate!