I sit here in my dinghy one room apartment staring at my table. Lost in a trance, my mind, my entire body fixated on one object. It lay there, on the table; staring lifelessly at me. I wonder, how did I get here, how on God’s wonderful earth did I come to be in possession, of a gun. I shiver slightly.
I push back the chair, stand up and stretch. I observed everything in the room. My bed lying on the floor beside the wall, my makeshift kitchenette, my reading area that I had just vacated, and I wonder, how did I get here? What is wrong with me? Slowly, it comes to me – the reason, the reason why it all did not make sense anymore.
Four years ago, I was a bright chap, just graduated out of university. I didn’t graduate Summa Cum Laude like the Americans like to boast, I did graduate Magna Cum Laude though. A cgpa of 4.2 in a course like Architecture, I did not finish top of my class, no, I was third best. Chika and Ayinde beat me with gpas of 4.4 and 4.3 respectively.
That mattered little. I was twenty-three, had a bright life ahead of me, all I needed was get the national service scheme over with. So, I went to serve – in a strange land – my father’s land. I was posted up north, Kebbi state to be precise. It was a gruesome experience, I could not wait to finish. Life would start once I completed the scheme. Oh, what a wonderful life it would be…
Delusions! I found out on completion of my service year. I moved from Ibadan, my parents’ abode to Lagos. It was rumoured that the streets were strewn with gold. I realised it was a figurative expression meaning the city always favoured the hard workers and hustlers. I was prepared to own the city, rule it, and bestride it in all of my majesty.
That was before life happened. I got this dinghy apartment three years ago. Painted the walls a depressing grey colour, and stocked the room to my taste – which was, well, simple. I have lived here since, and now this, what is my problem?
The voices in my head would not stop talking, ‘you deserve to die, what is there to live for anyway? Pull the trigger, end your misery.’ Those words kept echoing in my head occasionally interspersed with ‘kill yourself, die!’ So I sat down again and stared at the gun, the same way I had been doing for the past two hours.
See, this is Nigeria, citizens are not allowed to own guns, the closest we get to guns is when a policeman wielding an AK47 decides to harass the driver, or conductor of a bus for roger*. Yes, the policemen carry guns and unashamedly extort money from helpless citizens, the very people they should protect. I have never liked guns, no matter how large or small, they all had the same effect on me – spine chilling fear.
So, how did I come about this gun then, not just any gun, but a 9mm beretta semi-automatic. How could I hope to use it when I had no training on its usage and handling? Well, like I said, this is Nigeria, you learn after a while how to get things; and so I did. What I was thinking when I got the gun, learned to work with it, is a puzzle still. I may never understand.
Maybe it was because after three years in the pursuit of happiness and a better life I was tired. Tired of it all; the endless job interviews that yielded nothing. Condescending recruiters who looked you in the eye and said in an impassioned manner, ‘we’re very sorry sir, but your discipline is not well suited for this job; we wish you the very best in all your endeavours.’ Fools all of ’em, all I needed was a job, a chance to prove myself. That didn’t happen, so I consulted freelance, man must whack right?
Then the rub came. Two months ago, Seffiyat sent me an invitation. She was getting married, the love of my life, about to start a family, I was just not going to be a part of it. I wondered how she could have cheated on me. How she made me the fool, I cried. Colours faded and I was overcome with grief. My life was ending right then and there wasn’t anything I could do to remedy the situation: I locked myself up for days. Then she came.
She explained it all. She had a wonderful job with a new generation bank that paid her a king’s ransom as her monthly salary. He works as an auditor with the firm that audits the bank. They had been seeing socially for almost a year. And she found she was drawn to him, his intelligence… her face lit up as she explained how bright he was, I died.
That was when I realised it. It was all over, this farce; I stood there and was told to my face by the woman I loved that I was not intelligent enough. Why then should companies hire me, I wondered. The days after that spawned a series of gruelling soul-searching questions. Was I really doomed? I have been unable to answer that question still; it’s why I’m here, staring at my worst fear, prepared to do what no one in my family had done before: quit; end it all; commit suicide. My genius was all that I had left, all I could bargain with, and now, it had suffered an irreparable dent.
I finally take the gun in my hand. It felt cold and heavy, I smile sadly, this will be over soon. I release the safety catch, corked the gun and decided not to shoot through my mouth. A final concession to my mother, her face was all I had been seeing for almost three hours. She was the reason for this self introspection. No matter what, she would want to see my face one last time, dear mama. I closed my eyes, placed nozzle of the gun against my temple and slowly my index finger went in search of the trigger, then the unexpected happened, there was a knock on my door.
PS: suicide is not the way to go when depression sets in. I’d provide links and all, but I realise, the best remedy against it is already with you. Family and friends, they are God’s gift to you, cherish them, your life would be fuller…