He is seated on a bench outside Hilton. Right opposite the National Archives where he notices everyone seems to be happy. It’s like Christmas morning where everyone carelessly shares smiles. His melancholy is so deep it makes everyone look happier than him. He feels a heavy weight bearing upon his soul. He’s not sure how he knows it’s his soul, but his chest feels leaden. It must be the soul that resides there. This soul that is so heavy it has made him lose weight.
Last week his colleague at work mentioned that he had gotten thin,
“Buda kwani bibi anakula food yote?”
No, I eat as usual
“Anza kula more than usual sasa. Nipee zile report za mkubwa”
Oh shit! I had forgotten…
He forgets a lot these days. He feels old. He forgets to zip his trousers, he forgets to comb his hair, he forgets to brush his teeth, he forgets lyrics to songs, he forgot his Facebook password. He forgets too much. His mind is full of wandering thoughts that rotate around the same issue, how useless he feels. He has thought of going to see a priest in his confessional for a little chit-chat.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It’s been 4 years since my last confession…
Maybe that’s why he hasn’t been to his priest. He does not know which sins he should confess and which sins he should shelf. 4 years of sinning is a lot of baggage even for the pope. He was never that much of a Catholic anyway. The Church, as the Pope and his followers like calling it, has too many rules, he has broken many. Masturbation, use of contraceptives, overly due confessions, befriending gays, sex before marriage…Jeez, ‘The church can go to hell’ he thinks.
The world does not make any sense to him anymore. It lacks flavour and salting. He has tried listening to music, tried watching a trillion movies, tried having sex with a stranger, he even tried ice skating at Panari. The world is still bland and tasteless like raw watermelons. He even tried talking to a friend once.
I think I have depression
“Haha ati depression? It’s all in your head man, you just need to get laid”
Haha, I’ll try. By the way are you going to Naivasha this Sato?…
No man wants a discussion on his depressive attitude, so he lets it slide. He ‘mans up’. And the dumbest thing, is that he does not know why on earth he feels depressed. He has no idea why Michael Bolton does not excite him anymore. He does not even go to Imax like he used to. Even beer has become boring. It drives him crazy. It’s like he woke up one day and he just had Ebola. Maybe he should go see a psychiatrist. But aren’t psychiatrists meant for the guys who chew their toenails and dress in nylon? What would he say if he met a familiar face while walking out of a door marked “Psychiatrist”
“Ala Jehmo! Psychiatrist tena! Kumbe you’re crazier than I thought!”
No..hehe…I confused doors, I was going to the Physiologist. Hospitals, you know…
Now all he has is this tiny thread of life hanging on nothing but basic survival instinct. He has consistently contributed to the “How to commit suicide” stats on Google. He has lost the meaning of life, not that he knew the meaning before, but at the moment, he does not care if it has meaning at all. He has decided to dump life, this relationship is clearly going south.
He now wonders if anyone will mourn his death. He is sure his mother and father will. His father will mourn that his constant supply of tipple money is gone. He knows his few friends and some workmates will mourn. Then one week later they will forget he ever existed. They will M-Pesa money for his funeral expenses and feel good about themselves while asking, “But why did he have to commit suicide? Why does anyone ever commit suicide?” Questions that are always asked too late.
Yet, he has found a good reason to have suicidal thoughts. Yes, they are depressing, but when you live every day knowing tomorrow you could take your life, you somehow live a better life. In this state, every open window on the sixth floor office, every speeding vehicle and every sharp edged piece of metal looks like a potential suicide tool. He walks around looking for suicide tools the same way a cow walks around smelling the air for fresh grass. Like a dog that left a pee-path to help it get home. He always wonders which suicide tools would be faster and less painful in delivering the deadly blow. So every time he ignores these suicide tools, he decides to live the next few hours in a worthy way. As if corrupting God to waiver his final piece of sin and accept him in heaven for his greater good. So, he loves more. He notices he contacts friends a lot more to have coffee, of course most are always too busy: assignments, work, I’m tired and so on. They think they will live forever and so they spare their most useless minutes for useless acquaintances like him. Then when he dies they all lament, “and he wanted me to have coffee with him last week but I was too busy watching movies. If only I had known…” Still, he lives every minute with gusto. He wants to laugh a lot and laugh loudly, because every laughter could be his last. He wants to laugh while walking on the streets of Nairobi and refuse to give a damn about the guy sneering at his laughter. He wants to hug someone, anyone who seems happier than him. He wishes he could go for a hike in Ngong Hills, he has always wanted to do that. He wants to call his high school friend in Romania and debate over tasteless Romanian chocolate. He wants to photograph flowers and butterflies after it has rained. Most of all, he wants to photograph his friends and take a nice selfie for his memorial picture. He wants to talk to his mother and ask her to put his small brothers on the phone. He wants to soak in the sun, dull as it is, then go home, lie on his couch and watch Trevor Noah. He wants to do everything quickly, complete 5 job reports, all at the same time. He wants to fly a plane, write a song, record a song, be in a movie, write a blog post, meet Rihanna, kiss Rihanna, dance with Rihanna then die. He wants to live 5 times more before he betrays himself and gives up his life.
He rises from the concrete benches and absently moves towards the Kencom stage a few paces away. He takes his huge smartphone out, a result of immersive middle-class consumerism, and sets his alarm clock to 8PM on the 9th of next month. He is sure he won’t need the alarm, but just in case his talkative neighbour comes to visit, he needs to remember. That is the day he will take his last supper. He has chosen that day because he won’t pay rent for that month. His landlord always threatens defaulting tenants on the tenth of every month. The chap always knocks on those doors at 5 AM on every 10th day of the month.
“Kong! Kong! Kong!”
He always knocks the door using huge, brass Tri-circle 265 padlocks
“Jehmo, fungua mlango! ‘Kong! Kong! Kong!’ Jehmo! Fungua ama nikufungie ndani”
At this point he will push his curious hand through the opening on the door where you slide the padlock. He will notice the door is unlocked, so he will push his way through. Jehmo will be lying on his white puffy carpet, head up. His posture will mimic a star-gazing lover. He had died while staring at the bulb and wondering how light actually works. His last thought was a Physics lesson in high school on electricity, I2R=IV. But his death will be occasioned by the convergence of Chemistry and Biology. The jiko he bought yesterday will have accomplished the task. It will now have gray ashes at the bottom chamber. The only remaining evidence of the events that transpired last night.
Jehmo will not leave a suicide note, instead, he will schedule a post on Facebook to go up at 9AM. That post will have 346 comments by noon. He will have broken his record for the most commented post. The media will pick up his story, he’s now trending.