Continued from Will mentioned you #1
Twenty minutes later, I’m at the hospital, with Mrs Susanne, who asks me to call her Mrs Sue, in the brightest of moods I’ve seen her in, since she showed up at my doorstep, about two hours ago. ‘Everybody calls me Sue, so I guess I’m used to that one,’ she says almost half-smiling. The conspicuous sign written in bright white letters, on a deep blue background, —‘UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL,’—greets you right at the entrance, just before you enter.
The University’s hospital, sprouted at the outskirts of K.N.U.S.T, the go-to medical center for many of the university’s students and many other people, from far and nearby alike; I’ve been here a couple of times, most of my visits necessitated by a request for medical reports or school-related documents, reporting ill health on only a few of those occasions. The place is not all so crowded with the many people all seeking temporary, if not permanent remedies, to their medical predicaments, as is usually the case on most days. Today, the place is quieter with less activity— I see just about a handful of staff; one or two nurses and laboratory personnel, going about their normal duties. A minor line of patients, waiting in front of a single consulting room, gets me thinking if only a single doctor is present. Maybe, some of them are checking on other patients elsewhere. I deem this hospital too big a place for just one single doctor to be the only operating doctor, even if it is a Sunday.
I follow Mrs Sue quietly, through different corridors, till we get to what I’d soon recognize to be the Males’ General Ward, albeit I’ve never been there. Will had been taken, upon arrival, to the ER first (Emergency Room), due to his critical condition, before being transferred eventually, I’d later learn. Later, I would find out that Will had ingested about ten pills of Ibuprofen, an over-the-counter antiinflammatory drug, while alone in his room—that’s how he had attempted suicide by self-poisoning.
Mrs Sue would explain it like this;
‘He was going to die from all that overdose but the good Lord took me to his room on time, that Friday. I didn’t know exactly why, but I kept getting this sensation that something was wrong somewhere. You know that hunch that most of us usually get, when something bad is about to happen, but usually ignore? Yeah, that’s exactly how I felt. Which is why I went up to his room, just to check on him, to see how he was doing. I knocked many times but got no response—I knew immediately that something was wrong. He’d usually groan or grumble or tell me to leave him alone, or something, even if he didn’t want me in his room, but nothing like that came, and I was sure my son was in there. So I went up to my bedroom and got the spare key to his room, and you can imagine the shock I encountered, when I opened that door—only God knows how I was able to sustain myself. There laid my son, arms and legs sprawled on the floor, —he was passed out, covered in a blanket of sweat, and vomit, the drug bottle lying right beside him with pieces of pills scattered across the room. I screamed out his name; I couldn’t think of any other thing right that moment. How I managed to brace myself and rush him here, I still haven’t figured out yet. I was beyond relieved when the doctors said there was still hope and that he wouldn’t die. After that, I cried everyday because I don’t know what would have become of me had anything happened to him. I’m still recovering from the shock, because it feels sometimes like a dream to me.’
She would tell me all this, with so much tears and emotion, that I’m unable to withhold mine either; we would hold unto each other and cry, strangers united by a single bond of shared pain, as ones who know exactly how it feels, to lose a dearly beloved. It wouldn’t matter to me anymore, whether or not I know her; it is the sentiment of knowing how it feels, to lose someone precious—in her case, to almost lose—that would cause me to stay, and comfort this woman, till at least her son gets better.
Right now, we’re inside the ward, at his bedside, and his eyes are tightly shut. He seems to me, to be very much at peace in his sleep,—I almost think it makes sense, that he had wanted to stay that way forever, to escape from whatever that was troubling him. But then again—Are all the dead really at peace?; Just because we tell it to them as formalities upon their departures?; What if that place is a whole lot worse than here?. I’m grappling with various thoughts in my mind now. I’m interrupted, only when the nurse in charge, comes in to speak to Mrs Sue, telling her the doctor wanted to see her, in his office.
I’m left alone with Will, who’s still fast asleep. I scrutinize his face meticulously, for clues of a hard life or anything that might have enforced his decision, like signs of imperfection, but I couldn’t find a single thing. If anything at all, he looks like he’s had a perfect life, devoid of the many struggles other unprivileged young people go through. So what at all could have triggered his drastic decision then? Actually, he seems vaguely familiar, now that I’m looking at him. I think back to his words about me, in the note; ‘strong’, ‘selfish’, ‘disrespectful’. And I try to think back to three months ago, to the day I went to that bar, Unik Pub, some twenty minutes walking distance, from my place—it is a memory I’ve carefully chosen to suppress, all this while. Then it hit me, right there and then, as I slowly remembered everything. My hands move to my lips in an attempt to shield my bewilderment. Warm tears start to fill my wide-opened eyes, and right when I turn, I behold Mrs Sue, walking over .
‘The doctor said he’ll be sleeping a lot because of the medications they’re giving him,’ she says to me.
‘I remember everything now,’ I say, ‘I remember him.’
‘You do?,’ Mrs Sue asks, her expression suddenly expectant. ‘Tell me then,’ she says, bracing herself, for whatever shocking news I had to spill on her son.
‘I do remember, it’s just that there’s nothing to tell. We never talked about him. It was all about me, selfishly. He even told me he was going to do this and I didn’t take him seriously,’ I say, fresh tears trailing my cheeks, and finally, merging at my chin.
‘Come with me,’ says her.
I follow her, brokenly, while she leads the way to one of the waiting areas in front of one of the consulting rooms, where the place is empty and dead silent. She doesn’t say anything, and for a while, we just sit there, allowing me a moment to regain my composure. I start to tell everything, as much as I remember, to her.
It was on the 13th of February, 2019, a day before Valentine’s Day. I had been in the bar all evening, closer to an hour and half, half-drunk, half-sober, from having gulped down two small bottles of Guinness already. I usually don’t drink but I did, on that particular day because, there were things I wanted to get away from. Memories from the past were gnawing at my heart, I couldn’t think of a better escape. I sat there, all alone, unsure of when the evening sky, clear and bright-blued, had transformed into that of night, young and livid. I was sad and mad at life; next thing I knew, someone was sitting by me, at my lone table. First, I was angry, for my invaded privacy; then I’d later vent on him, telling him stuff very few knew of. I told so much to a complete stranger in my vulnerable state—he could have been anyone, a bad person, but I wasn’t thinking straight. I just wanted someone to hear my story, someone to validate my pain, so I told it all.
I told him about my stepdad, how wickedly he had treated me and my diabetic mom; how every night, I’d thought about wringing his neck or strangling him in bed, those times when he was still my mother’s husband. I told him about my ex-boyfriend, Cudjoe, and how I thought my world had come to an end, when I found out that bastard was cheating on me, in our three-year long relationship. And guess who he was doing all along? My stepsister!
I remember feeling so betrayed and unloved and disrespected, but not so much as surprised by Dzifa, the way I was, at Cudjoe—her, I never trusted but I had really trusted that fool. She’d never once considered me her sister anyway, the same way her father never considered me his daughter, and that I knew very well. And indeed, she proved to be her father’s daughter. I guess Cudjoe had also been a sham. My heart ached, I hated him, and I hated Val’s Day the more, because it reminded me of his birthday, and all the many things we used to do in anticipation of a happily-ever-after.
Will was a good listener,—listening to all this crazy rant, from some strange drunk girl must have been hard, but if it was, he never complained. He only quietly listened, nodding sometimes or making faces, at some point, asking if ever I considered suicide, since life had dealt so unkindly with me.
‘Suicide?,’ I’d repeated, as if it was my first time hearing the word.
‘That’s stupid, you know. Why would I want to die in misery? Yes, I know my life is hard and unfair, but who said death was easy anyway?. I’d rather fight to live another day, so I can show life, she took on the wrong person. No matter what, I must die happy!’ I say emphatically.
I saw him smile, briefly,—it seemed more of a smirk—, his expression had been attentive all along.
‘You’re strong,’ he’d said.
‘Am I?,’ I replied with a scoff, ‘I don’t think so. There’s been times when I’ve wanted to disappear too, not to die, but just to leave everything behind and disappear to a place where nobody knows me and start all over. No matter how much you hate your life, I don’t think its justification to end it—that’s not for you to decide. If anything, I think it’s selfish and disrespectful to those who believe in you.’
I remember now, the brief silence that hovered between us, after I’d said that. Before he went ahead to say nonchalantly, with the full grin of a person who knew very well that, neither would I take him seriously, nor remember this conversation; ‘Actually, I’m on the verge of committing suicide.’
I took one swift look at him and gave a hysterical laugh. ‘No, you’re not. Why would you? You’re so funny. You look like you’ve had a perfect life.’ I said, not bothering to ask him further questions.
His expression had changed, but I was far too tipsy to take notice.
Then he muttered, ‘Really. You can tell just by looking? What are you, a seer of the unknown?’
I laughed wryly, falling back on my chair, on my first attempt at standing. I only remembered the next morning, feeling strongly embarrassed, at how unladylike I had looked, grappling his arm, as he struggled to drag my drunk body out of there, with everyone casting us weird glances from their sides of the bar, as we sat in some car. He’d taken me home and I didn’t even ask his name. Or I figured I’d forgotten because I hadn’t been sober. From then on, I just made sure I stayed away from bars, and alcohol, and I blotted out the memories of that night, so I could move on with life, just like I always did. I didn’t think our paths would ever cross again or that I’d remember him if it did happen.
‘Now that I look back on that day, I think he actually saved me from destroying myself further. Who knows what could have happened after I’d drunk so much? And also, because I could pour out my rage, I felt appeased. No one had ever listened to me, so intently, without judging or blaming me in the end. Meanwhile, I couldn’t even validate his pain, and brushed it off, like it didn’t matter. How selfish. I feel so guilty now; if only I had just listened too and asked the single question of ‘Why?’,’ I say, my eyes glistening with tears lurking at their corners.
‘It’s alright my daughter. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not your fault at all. You were barely surviving, yourself—what could you have done?,’ said Mrs Sue, sadly.
‘Let’s just hope he gets well sooner. I do have a favour to ask of you. From Will’s note, you did seem to have had an impact on him. I’d appreciate it if you could come around to see him, occasionally, till he at least gets out of the here.’
‘That’d be my pleasure ma’am. Besides I never got to thank him or repay him. I’ll come everyday.’
Congratulations, dear reader,
You managed to finish another episode today as well. Yay. But I have a question for y’all today.
My question is, ‘Like Will, do you think dying(suicide) can sometimes be the answer to life’s hardships or do you agree with Fafa, that no matter what, life must go on?
If you don’t mind, tell me what you think in the comments below. I’d love to hear your take.
Meanwhile, the story continues…….
See you soon. Stay healthy and alive.