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BN Prose: Broken Pieces by Zube Ifediba



dreamstime_l_11501315Mum always said I would suffer from a nervous breakdown. She was right about that one. She was right about a lot of things.
“You won’t kill me.”
“Your temper is out of control.”
“Your father is chasing after small girls.”

“Your father won’t drive me crazy.”

Ha! She was wrong about this one. After Dad left she broke down. He travelled to Abuja for a business trip and didn’t return. Three months later he returned with a picture of a model. Dad said he was going to marry her, she made him happy. He wanted a divorce. Mum refused to sign the papers even when Dad promised to leave the house for her, and be faithful with our upkeep. Mum said she would rather die than sign the papers, she was his wife and she would die with his name.

Dad left the house for us and married the model anyway. He sent large sums of money monthly to her account. He bought me countless gifts. He compensated for his absence.

Mum refused to be compensated. While I changed clothes, shoes and phones as easily as a snake would shed skin, mum busied herself stalking Dad. She turned up at Dad’s office with homemade meals. She invited him for lunch. She called and called his number and when he changed it, managed to get the new number. I think she hired a private photographer, after her death I went through her drawers and saw pictures of the model. Mum went to confront the model in Abuja. It’s amazing she got on a plane, she was afraid of flying.

When she had trouble sleeping and lost so much weight, Aunty Ronke decided to hire a psychiatrist and a nurse for home treatment. They pumped her with valium, white pebbles that became familiar in my future.

Mum died all dressed up, complete with a hat and sunglasses. The doctor said she had a heart attack. Aunty Ronke called to tell me she was dressed up for a party. Or shopping. Later we discovered the flight ticket to Abuja tucked in a corner of her purse.

I like to think I got my nervousness from Mum. I got her smallish frame, her wide eyes that always look surprised, her tiny voice.
Dr Doris initiated this theory. In college I spent two hours on weekends on a couch in her office. She would tell me to close my eyes and talk.
“You can tell me anything,”
“Let’s talk about the dream you had last night.”

She had theories for my nervousness. Freud’s theory and defense mechanisms, Super ego and ID. She dissected my childhood,and gave every memory a meaning. When these didn’t help, she prescribed valium, Prozac, hypnosis.
These didn’t stop me from kinking under stress. Stress was almost everything. School, my boyfriends, my parents, getting out of bed in the morning. Some mornings I wake up with no desire to move an inch. As a teenager I refused to mingle with anybody, I strongly believed they were against me. I remember a time I was mute for six months. Mom had to get me a pen and a pad to communicate.

Maybe I’m used to having my way, or maybe it’s a potpourri of factors, “multifactorial,” Dr Doris calls it.
Well giving this a name hasn’t helped me at all. Anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder. Whatever. I am a mesh of raw exposed nerves, yellow wicks soaked in gasoline. I combust with almost anything.

Folusho called off the engagement last week. He sent a text.
“Good morning, I am sorry I can’t continue with the engagement. Sorry again.”
Aunty Ronke was drawing up plans for an engagement party. When I showed her the text she looked at me with wide surprised eyes.
“What does this mean?”
When the second man called off the engagement, she suggested I go for prayers.
“It could be spiritual, people do wicked things. You never know.”
The prophet said I had a jealous spirit husband. After much prayer and fasting and #50,000, he declared me free.
So what does this mean?
Steve said I was too intense, possessive, selfish. Gaberiel ran. He literally took off when I tracked him to a hotel in town.

Folusho is engaged. He updated his Facebook status, “So lucky to have you. Lol” They posed infront of a restuarant. The girl had a nose ring on.
It didn’t take him long to move on: two weeks! And I was still in bed, on a pretend sick leave from the office, blunting my mind with Facebook and potato chips.

Anger was a black wave that crashed on me, throbbed in my head. I drove to his house.
He opened the door and I threw myself on him.
“Bastard! I gave you everything you wanted, what else did I not do?”
His fiancé stood at the corner, arms folded, she was smiling.
Folusho pushed me away.
“You are crazy.”
I froze. I was turning to Mom! I broke down in tears. They were polite to leave me on the floor sobbing my heart out. Later I saw myself to the door.

I sit in the bathtub, my right arm sticking out. I hoped to slash my wrist, create a beautiful gash that would bleed gracefully all over the bath tub. But I couldn’t cut past my skin. Dying is such a messy affair.
What’s the best way to die?

Google has a lot of ideas. Throw yourself off the highest building, shoot yourself in the head. Self poisoning is common. People are very creative; antifreeze, pesticide, even relaxer! There is a copy cat suicide trending on the internet, Shia’s suicide. She stood facing a mall, poured herself gasoline and set herself on fire.
That was violent, drowning too, poisoning is so slow, and what if I haul myself off Oshodi flyover and still manage to survive?

What’s the best way to die?

SUICIPHORIA! The ad read in red capitals that danced all over the screen. The drug was manufactured by Russian scientists who wished to give prison inmates on death roll a “happy death.” The inmates died smiling, and research done on their brains revealed a large release of endorphins and dopamine. It was available on the black market. “Everyone deserves to die happy,” the ad completed.

Suiciphoria costs a whooping $1000! And for all the trouble I get two pink pills in a fancy bottle.
I tuck the bottle in the pocket of my blazers. I am all dressed up and heading to a club somewhere in Ikoyi. My last night on earth should end with booze and a feisty night stand.

Olamide blasts from the stereos.
“I loveee youuu.”
The atmosphere is thick with cigarette, booze and bodies burning with desire. So far I’ve had no luck. Bald men, short men, men with bad teeth, with beer bellies. I want a tall, dark eye candy, with good teeth, dressed in a white shirt with rolled up sleeves….
My crush sits on a bar stool drinking, his eyes on the football on TV. I almost fall running to meet him.
“Hello,” I start, pulling a stool closer.
“Hey,” he says. The voice! The cologne!
“How are you?”

About to die. Please let me fall into you.

“I am great,” I say.
He smiles and then…
“You are a strong woman.”
I shrink back. I’ve been called so many things, but not strong.
“Jesus loves you.”
Who says this in a club?
“Are you a preacher man?” I ask.
What an odd place to be. I shake my head and look at his drink. Soda?
“You just killed the mood mister,” I stand from the stool. Can’t I die satisfied?
“Suiciphoria won’t give you a happy death. You will bleed from your nose and ears. You will die in a pool of blood.”
I freeze. How did he know that?
He lifts his glass in a toast.
“Painful way to die.”

It’s almost 3 in the morning. The club is empty, except for the bar man behind the counter watching football and a couple across the table. For some reason we haven’t been told to leave.

This mister makes good conversation. We share similar memories; Rugrats, Famous Five, Papa Ajasco, Ghost Busters, Mortal Kombat. I find myself laughing a lot, clutching the bar table and trying not to topple over.

He makes the proposal a second time. I suck in air. Nah, suddenly suicide seems so…. foolish.
“Alright, alright,” I throw my hands up, surrendering.
“I accept Jesus.”

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Ifediba Zube is a medical student in the University of Port Harcourt. When she is not neck deep in clinical postings,she is running a 2.5k or in hiding with a good book. She has been published on Kalahari Review.

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