Tip. Tap. Tip. Tap
The sound of your blood dripping. You are not dying yet. You aren’t. Death never comes this fast. She bides her time, sitting at the corner of your bedroom, in her black robe with her large fork; watching you. Closely. Watching you like a mother hen does her chicks. Sometimes, she calls your name.
It is never loud. It is better termed a whisper; a release of air that forms into a word – your name. You don’t answer. You never do. Why? It isn’t because of the silence. Silence even is your mother tongue. It is not fear, is it? Sometimes, when you both deem it fit, you walk to the dining room and have a sumptuous meal. Then why do you not answer? I think it is the same reason with every other man. Or woman.
You want to die. But the uncertainty about what comes after death makes you reconsider. Is it darkness? Oh, darkness. An old accomplice. You do not remember when you met with darkness. Was it that afternoon you bumped into Aisha, your friend from the university? No. Was it the day your fiancé died? Your wedding day. No. Maybe it was that gloomy Sunday night you stood at the Third Mainland Bridge, ready to jump and die? What were the first words darkness said to you?
“Are you sure you want to join me?”
Surprisingly, she had the voice of an angel; soft, enthralling. You shook your head that night, hoping the voice would stop ringing in your ears. Hoping she’d at least offer you some…some…what’s the word again? You do not even remember what you wanted her to offer you that night.
Again, she said, “Are you sure you want to become one with me?”
Such arrogance. How could an entity so dark have such pride in itself? It was beautiful – the pride in the existence of nothingness. Nothing but empty, black-pitch darkness. As much as it enticed you, it scared you too. You wanted to jump. Your hands gripped the iron rims tightly. The night breeze was seeping into your skin; raising your flannel gown. That night, you turned back and drove your car back to your two-room flatin Victoria Island, palms sweating.
What were the words he said to you before he died? You remember. You remember his words so well. For some reason you do not know, you wrote it on a paper, and glued it to the fridge. You no longer say his name. You have removed all his pictures and burnt them. You tell yourself you have let everything go.
But your blood is dripping. There is a knife wound in your left arm. The room is filled with a pungent smell of methylated spirit. And Death is at her corner, staring at you intently.
No, tonight is not your night of death.
Somebody taps you. You struggle out of your slumber and look around in fear. The wound has dried, and the blood is no longer dripping. There he is, in his medical coat. He is smiling. You smile at him. You wonder why it took him so long to appear.
He says, “You have hurt yourself, again, haven’t you?” He bends to examine the wound. He smiles again. There is something about that smile that you never have been able to explain in words. It can be compared to rain on a sunny day…or an oasis in the desert. You put your left, uninjured hand on his face saying, “I knew you were going to come for me.”
His face changed. The oasis is covered by the sands in the desert and what is left is a blank, straight face. “No,” firmly, “I didn’t want to come.”
“Then why did you come?”
You continue, “Or you do not love me any longer?”
“I cannot feel anything, my dear. The woman in the black robe called me urgently to come to your aid.”
“Oh…her?” You point to death sitting at the corner, as if in a trance.
“Yes. Her. I think she has a special liking for you.”
You do not answer. You so badly want to hit him, and watch him die again. But you are weak, and he is working slowly and lovingly on your arm.
“Why did you do it?”
“Do what?” he replies, confused.
“Die. Leave me. Why did you die?”
“Dumebi, you killed me. Do you still forget things so fast?”
You gasp in fear, shock. He is still working on your arm, with the speed and professionalism of a doctor.
“Why then are you still good to me?” you ask again.
He ignores the question saying, his mouth barely opening, and the words without a strand of emotion, “You are all set now. Do not do this another time. You will have yourself to blame.”
Your eyes are on him. They remain on him as he walks to the door, opens it and walks out. You realize you want to stand up and call him back. Tell him how addicted you had become to pain. You want to remind him that even though pain was your new love; you never stopped loving him. Also, of how you miss him. And how sorry you are for stabbing him on your wedding day, and hiring people to have it look like an accident.
But he is gone. You never said those words.
For the first time in weeks, or months (the movement of days no longer has business with you), you walk to Death.
“Hello,” you say.
“Hello,” she replies. Her voice is like that of an old accomplice of yours: darkness.
“I think I’m finally bold enough to face the darkness.”
“Won’t you leave a farewell note?”
“They don’t deserve it.”
“Who are you to decide?”
“Who are you to ask?”
“Okay. I will refrain from asking questions.”
“Yes. I will use the pills now.”
“You never liked the pills…”
“Well, I do now.”
“We will meet on the other side.”
“No, I will use my fiancé’s gun.”
To Death’s head.
Adewusi David Grey is a young writer whose works border on love; which he believes is the primary reason for our existence. He lives in a house on a hill, overlooking a street of struggling dreams. Grey loves music; however, when he is less busy, he studies Theatre Arts in the University of Ibadan.