The Etchings of Suicide: A Very Short Story

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“Death got to be easy. This life is hard.”
-50 Cent, “Many Men”

Looking back at the history of my life, I could recall a beautiful friend I had along the way. She’s here. Probably she’s reading this. Probably….actually she will know she’s the one I’m talking about so I wouldn’t like to be graphic with her description.

She’ll one day look at her skin whiles we were studying together and tell me: “Nesta look at the etchings on my skin. What does it look like?” I looked: “I can’t see anything.” “Look at it very well…use your eyes, you’ll see patterns of disaster written all over my skin.” Immediately I knew what she was talking about.

In that week, she’d been jilted by her boyfriend. Two years prior, the guy she thought she was going to end up being married had travelled outside and not a word from him since. In this same week, school results got released and she’d trailed four papers. Even the paper that was only MCQS, she managed to fail.

The lows of life kept coming and she kept reading the signs from her skin. “You see, now I can’t dodge. I’m here waiting for the next disaster and just praying it would be a little bit friendlier than the others gone.” She had me to talk to. I didn’t offer her any fix or spoke any line of motivation but she loved talking to me. She once said: “you look like the problem itself. When I talk to you, it feels like I’m telling my problems to leave me alone.”

We would had a laugh and move on. Looking forward to the next mishap with grace and candor.

She got married. I was there. I travelled very far to be there. To hear her say “I do” whiles she laughs. She was so beautiful that day I couldn’t make her out on the first look. As she passed by my pew during the bridal procession, I looked at her skin. I wanted to see if I could still find the etchings of disaster. I smiled and told my life: “could you be little serious. For once?”

Eighteen months later. She’s divorced.

I didn’t hear from her a lot after the wedding. One dawn, I woke up to a message: “can we meet?”

I met her the next morning. Her beautiful wedding ring was off. She was looking beautiful but less like I found her on her wedding day. She clutched on the ice cream cup as if her life depended on it then she girlishly looked at me and said: “here we are again. I’m happy, your face still looks like my problems. Nothing is changed. The etchings are still on my skin.” “The etchings.” I said, as if I wasn’t the one looking for the etchings on her wedding day. “Yeah the etchings.” She responded.

“when he left me. When he finally decided he wasn’t going to call me his wife again, there was only two options for me. One was to commit suicide. I thought of suicide for a whole week. I wanted to end it. My life wasn’t working. End it. If there’s reincarnation, then maybe I would have a second chance at life and hope it worked on the second try.”

She looked like a woman floating on emotions. It was obvious, the thought of suicide hadn’t left her. Then she said…”Now there’s another etchings. It’s more like a dark script. It’s a different story.”

I listened. Listened and leaned in once in a while and kept listening. I asked her; “what’s the other option.?”

She smiled; “the other option is what’s sustaining me till now. It’s crazy, you don’t want to know” She smiled again….almost shy this time. I insisted “what’s the other option….”

She answered; “There’s this beautiful dress I bought sometime ago. It’s hanging on the wall of our bedroom. Behind the mirror. My dressing mirror. I bought it when our marriage was almost ruined. He’d asked me to accompany him to a program. It was their organization’s end of year party.

I never got to wear it. He went for the program without me. That night I cried like I’ve never done before. I knew we had barely some few days left together. I’d wanted to end it before returns from the party.

I stood in front of the mirror and saw my miserable self staring back at me. Then I looked at the dress. Surprisingly I stared at the dress for so long till I heard myself saying “There’s one more dress to wear. There’s one more party to attend. Wait for a while, there’s one more night to look beautiful in this dress. You can only see that night when you are alive”

eShe’d ran out of reasons to be alive. She’s willing to live all the same, and had to find a reason, even if the reason is as flimsy as the desire to be beautiful for one more night. At this point, it’s safe to say she’s only clinging to life though she’d ran out of reasons to do so.

She’s still alive and still safe. She’s loving her life every now and then. Just some three mornings ago she sent me a quote(from a book she was reading, apparently): “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.”

I asked her the meaning of the quote and she wrote back: “I’m alive. Still breathing. My mission on earth is still on course. I asked her teasingly; “when are you going to wear that dress on the wall?” She shot back immediately; “You see why I say your face looks like the problems I’m going through?”

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