Selfish- Short Story
“What do you even know about suicide?” I snarled angrily at my late boyfriend’s parents. Yes his parents. It didn’t even bother me that they were much older than me or that there were other adults sitting and howling in their modern sitting room. I didn’t care about how they would perceive me afterwards. It didn’t matter. My love and heartbeat was dead and it was all their fault.
“Selfish or what did I hear you call him?” I questioned rhetorically. My voice was raised. My tone was higher than normal. My fists were closed tightly and you could almost see all my green veins. I was mad with anger. I was wild with rage. I was so teed off that my eyes had began to form pools of water again. Most people in the room looked sorrowful. Hot breeze of mourning and silence flowed through the room. The room that was once filled with loud wailings of women both young and old was now free from noise. Some were paralyzed by the tension and drama I seemed to have brought along with me.
Mr and Mrs Olatunji stared at my lips waiting for the words to come out. I gazed guiltily at the people in the room and my eyes wondered through the pictures of Gabriel in the room. I was becoming emotional. I wouldn’t let their heavy looks stop me so I proceeded with my vague and unarticulated speech.
“You all are selfish. He is not selfish. Gabe was never selfish.” The tears rolled down my pimples filled cheeks. “he was never….” I cleaned my tears. I rubbed my cheeks fast with my purple hankerchief. It was the same color as the walls of the sitting room. All eyes were still peering at me. No one told me to stop talking. My heart was racing. I felt like it was going to pop out of my black hoodie.
“Gabe Is dead and it’s all your fault. It’s your fault.”
“Shut your mouth. How can you say all this things can’t you see they are still mourning their son? ” A baldman with folded arms sitting on one of the leather brown sofas said bitterly.
“How can I not? They killed him and now they sit here mourning him.” I weeped uncontrollably.
“They dare call him selfish.” I exclaimed facing the bald old man and pointing at his parents who were now so quiet and surprised by my attitude.
“And those of you here commenting about how wicked he is to have ended his own life, what do you even know about depression or suicide?” I asked sadly. Looking at each person one after the other and then facing his mum whose eyes were red from crying. Her fair skin had turned red. She was wearing a black jalamia. It was obviously expensive judging from the bead work on it. I dare not look at Gabriel’s dad. Gaberiel was a striking image of his dad. They had the same dark complexion and round face. Gaberiel had his Dad’s smart lips and bushy angled brows.
“Gabe has been suffering from depression for the last six years and this two people sitting on this chair pretending to care never for once noticed.” His mum looked shocked as though she had seen Gabriel’s ghost and his father looked up at the ceiling. The fan was still rolling but everyone was sweating, including the people that just entered into the beautifully decorated sitting room.
“Ehn you have been screaming depression depression since morning what is a small boy of his age depressed about?What does he know? what has he faced?” He asked in a yoruba accent rolling his eyes at me. He was already standing as if he was going to beat me if I said another thing . “We that we have been through the brutal millitary coup, through the Babanginda regime, even this terrible days of change, we have not for once thought of suicide talkless of that twenty one year old idiot who knows nothing about life yet killed himself in cold blood.” the room was filled with echoes of people. Some supporting him and the rest just murmuring. He sat down fanning himself with his fila, a yoruba cap which was usually bent sidewards.
“Oo my, your generation is so self absorbed that you can’t see beyond your own pains.” my eyes were swollen from crying. The old man looked at himself and then the bereaved parents.
“Ask this two people when last they had a conversation of thirty minutes with their so called son. A conversation where they were not forcing him to do something against his wish.” His mum opened her mouth as if to talk but closed it again.
“God gave you one child and you couldn’t even give him the attention he deserved.” I never planned to say any of the things I said but someone had to tell them. I had heard enough of the careless talks from the Consolers and family members.
“All you wanted was toa son, an heir that would take over your empire. Did he or did he not tell you that he wanted to be an artist.” I asked them with a firm face.
“What if he did? Do we let all our hard work go into the drain.” His father said biting his lips. “Do we let our only son study something that would make him a pauper and make him rich by chance.” he added furiously making gestures with his hands.
“You speak as if my wife and I would kill our only son with our bare hands. Pardon us if we tried our best and our late son couldn’t see it.” He replied haugtily.
I walked up to the chair were I sat when I came in initially and carried my black tote bag. I picked out some sheets of paper and handed it over to his parents. “What are these?” His mom sobbed.
“Drawings, of course. He sketched several ways which he could kill himself with” I smiled and cried at the same time.
“This was before we met, some four years ago” I watched his mom sink into tears of despair.
“My baby, my precious baby… No he couldn’t have drawn this things. Is this us?are we this devilish representations?” she cried out. She showed her husband who had adjusted his sitting position. The pastor or Reverend I don’t know who he was but he had a white collar on his black shirt walked towards them. ” May I see?” he asked curiously. She handed him one of the papers. “This boy was so talented but this things he drew. They are so dark… Soo …” He looked like he was forty something. I’m not such a good judge of age. I was too distraught to notice what the preacher’s face looked like.
Before anyone said anything or asked to look at the pictures again, I reached into my bag and brought out a scrawny sheet of paper. “See this paper” I said raising the paper up and staring at everyone in the room, one after the other. “It was what brought, Gabriel and I together.” Tears splashed down one side of my cheek.
” Here is what it says. Dear life, I’m sorry for being such a coward and not being strong enough to choose you. You seem beautiful from a distance but the truth is you are as ugly as it gets. To my friends, thanks for trying. You can’t keep a dead man alive. I was dead before we met and Im sinking into deeper rivers of despair everyday. It’s better I leave now. To my mum and dad. Thanks for never being there. Thanks for making me friends with art and then trying to tear us apart. My apologies to you for not being able to fufill your dreams of going to Havard business school or your dreams o me coming out with first class in convenant university. At least I am one problem away. I hope you give birth to a son strong enough to hear you rant continuously on your need to become billionaires before you die and to keep the money in all generations cause this son is too feeble to make that dream come true. I’m sure you won’t even notice I’m dead. You would cry for a few days and continue working. Travelling from one country to another. I would be in hell rotting for the sin of being your son. You can come and join me when you are done accumulating all the fine things and loosing them. Your’s faithfully, me,lol, the dead boy who has probably died for real this time. I have gone to a better place. To whom it may concern:Don’t mourn me. Rejoice instead. I have gone to a better place. Who knows, Satan may be a better listener.”
As I read the last line Gabriel’s mum fell to the ground and cried even louder. Her husband tried to console her but she wouldn’t stop rolling on the marble floor. “We killed our son.” she yelled.
“That was before we met and he fell in love with me. That was before I stopped him from drinking a bottle of Dettol at the supermarket, that night.” my eyes were dry. Maybe my tear glands were tired of producing.
“But you two wouldn’t let him live happily. I remember the day he brought me home like yesterday. You ridiculed me. You called me names. What was that name again?” I said dramatically.
“Yeah, gold digger. You forbade him from seeing the daughter of a nobody and you planned his trip to the US” I shook my head and feigned a smile. The tears and murmurs had increased since I read one of his last notes.
“You killed your son. You are selfish. I should read out the last message he sent to me but I won’t because I’m sure you can’t handle it.” I was no longer angry. My tone was softer. I had said enough. Enough to justify him. He would probably be smiling in hell like he always said. He left me with an empty hole in my heart. He was a lover like no other. He was ready to go out of his way to make me happy. He told me his real happiness was in his death. He only stayed around cause he wanted to make me happy. My happiness was in him. But he wanted to die as badly as I wanted him to live.
“Good bye Mr and Mrs olatunji I’m going to meet your son in hell.” I brought out the bottle of rat poison I bought on my way to their house. And poured it in my mouth. “By the way I’m pregnant for your son. Good bye once again.” Their eyes were filled with water. I could hear his mum screaming louder. But the words were becoming faint and by stomach was hurting like crazy.
I woke up in the hospital with my protuded belly. His parents were staring at me.
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