I tightened the noose I had hung on the ceiling fan. I was going to do it; I was going to take my own life. The pain was just too much for me to bear any more. I had gotten the rope from the yard downstairs where we spread our laundry and waited for my roommate to leave for service. I locked the door and closed all the blinds; no one was going to stop me my mind was made up.
I took a chair and climbed on it, using it to hoist myself up to the rope. I would kick it when I was ready to let go of the pain. I put my neck through the rope and tightened the knot.
And then I thought of everything I was leaving behind. My single mom and my two baby sisters. My father had been dead for a while now. I could say anywhere in the world that my dad was the absolute best. He had the most caring eyes, the brightest smile and ears that loved to listen. He’d always make time for me no matter what he was doing. He was a writer and a very good one at that. We’d always had one day of the week to ourselves. He would say “Just us men” and that it was “our little secret”.
We would just go out and have a good time. It didn’t matter where we went; as long as my father was there I was happy. My mother understood our bond and never questioned it. He included the ladies in our fun once a month. I would sometimes get jealous or feel deprived of my time with my father but my dad would remind me with a smile on his face that we were one big happy family and that we were supposed to love and care for each other and I was the little man of the house and it was my responsibility.
I can never forget the day he died. We had gone on one of our little “men’s day out”. We had gone to a club in ikoyi. I was just a little over ten. My father and I had lunch. We both had the mixed grill and I had gobbled up mine in a flash because I was eager to jump into the pool. My father on the other hand was taking his time even though we were supposed to swim together. A bunch of his friends came over and sat down and my father paid no attention to me.
I wondered off and found myself in a part of the club I wasn’t familiar with. There were tables and chairs, thinking about it now it looked like a sort of conference room or banquet hall. It was empty and I hid under one of the tables, determined to punish my dad for ignoring me on our special day. Time flew by as my eyes grew heavier and before I knew it I laid on the floor and I was fast asleep.
I remember lights flashing in my eyes as I woke up. It was dark everywhere as people were shouting that they had found me. My dad didn’t scold me but instead hugged me. The manager apologized to my dad and my dad gave some notes out to those who had helped in the search.
He didn’t say a word as we got into the car and began the drive back home. I remember us driving across the a road and thinking “why was it empty?” and then my dad stopped at a roadblock and then the people there told him to give them all his belongings because apparently we were being robbed.
I remember my dad saying he didn’t have anything on him and right in front of me one of the robbers shot him in cold blood. The robbers took off and left me there. I don’t remember much else form that night but I was told that I was found in the morning.
It took two years for me to fully recover from being the cause of my father’s death, my mom waited on me every single day of those years, leaving her job. She went back to work part-time after I had recovered.
It’s been nine years now, mom lost her job two years ago after she had an accident. The company said she’s too much of a variable and that’s why they fired her. Now she goes out at night and comes back home real late because she has to take care of all of us especially me, seeing as my medication is expensive. I’m always awake to open the door for her because I have insomnia.
My sisters aren’t doing so much in school because they have to take care of me sometimes and being constantly sent home because of school fees.
I realized one day when someone asked me why I never talked about my father that I was the cause of every pain my family was going through and I couldn’t bear that burden anymore. And now I was going to end it with a pull of a rope and a kick of the chair.
I thought of the greater pain I would cause by taking my own life and I realized something. I couldn’t do it. I said a single prayer of forgiveness like my mother always said I should. This wasn’t the plan my creator had for me. If I was supposed to be dead I would have died with my father. I couldn’t let my mother lose her two men she loved because of me. I was about to unhook the noose from my neck when a rat scampered across the room. I had an obsessive fear of rats and I instinctively jumped.
The chair fell from the suddenness of my move and I was left hanging from the rope. The noose tightened around my neck as I started gasping for breath. I pulled at the rope as it dug tighter into my skin. The world was starting to fade away. I guess I was going to join my father after all.