The Silence and Stillness of a Poisonous Death

You think about three ways to die in your bathtub:

1) fill your bathtub to the brim and drown away everything you feel.

2) sit in the arms of your bathtub, let the blade kiss your wrist and give the bathtub enough blood to drink.

3) look for the rat poison your mother bought some days ago and feed the rat of shame and sadness roaming through your body; then sit in your bathtub and watch it stop roaming.

The third option feels so beautiful to you and most efficient. You wish the death could be faster – like a firing squad blessing your body with bullets. You really wish you could go online and hire the service of a firing squad. You do not just wish it, you take a few minutes to google it – all you see is about 2,540,000 results of disappointment in a series of meta descriptions.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” You slam down the top lid of your laptop with frustration eating deep into the fabric of your entire body. You walk towards the kitchen with strongminded strides. The rat poison sits like a stillborn in the womb of the compartment of an upper cupboard. For the first time in your life, poison looks so attractive. Your eyes brim with watery emotions as you pour some of the powder into your mouth, and return the rest to where you found it. It has a biting dry taste that makes you cringe for a while. With eyes closed for a brief moment, you push the powdered poison down your throat with saliva.

Then you walk back to your room, glance at the goodbye letter you had written about an hour ago, and placed on your study desk beside your bed. Discomfort begins to grow like a weed in the garden of your body. There is a hot rumbling in your stomach, like a volcano about to spill. You go into the bathroom to sit in the cold company of your bathtub.

***

At a point in your life, you thought Buka was the best thing that could ever happen to you as you embraced your queer life. He made every moment worth it, from the kiss to the sex. Every moment was a taste of something tremendously good.

You met Buka in a school cafeteria. He was sitting opposite you, eating and serving you sweet smiles. Soon, he said hello, and a conversation laced with humour began between the two of you.

“I like the way you smile,” you said to him. He smiled more, and you felt like kissing him. You wanted to kiss him more than a thousand times as both of you conversed. You didn’t want to stop talking to him, but you had to rush for a class. You gave him your number, and both of you talked over the phone every night.

When you first met Buka, you were still contemplating about accepting yourself as gay. Your father would kill you. The society would kill you too. It is hardly a safe space to be gay in Nigeria. But Buka gave you a safe space in his arms and his room off-campus. He made being gay so beautiful that you had dreamt a lot of times about how both of you would be married someday in the US or, hopefully, a gay-embracing Nigeria. Your relationship with him was one of the most beautiful experiences of your life.

But this beautiful feeling began to fade when you caught Buka in a threesome with a girl and a guy. The beautiful feeling was replaced by a deep feeling of betrayal that you couldn’t explain.

Buka loves to record his sexual activities. There were times when both of you watched these videos, drinking wine and eating fried chicken, with the sound of laughter bouncing out of your mouths into the room. Most times, you would have more sex after watching the videos together. There were times you would watch them alone to reminisce how beautiful your life had become with Buka. On one of such times, you were glancing through the folder containing the videos when you stumbled on a threesome video. You checked the “properties” feature to confirm the date the video was created. It happened the day before. You almost smashed the laptop across the wall in rage.

But you took a cold bath, and waited for him to return from his class. When he returned, you played the video to him and told him you were leaving him. He begged, but you felt too betrayed to listen. You had packed all the few things you had before he came. You picked up your bag and left, your eyes full of hot liquid sorrow.

Last night, around 2am, you got a text message from him, “I just sent one of our videos to your sister on WhatsApp. I hate you!” For the first time in your life, you were drowning in a big pool of panic. You couldn’t reply to his text. Instead, you thought about ways to die. You know how your elder sister finds homosexuality to be disgusting. She once insulted a girl that jokingly slapped her ass.

Both your parents and your elder sister had gone for a vigil. You had pretended to be too sick to go. You were just sick of religion and the pastor yelling into the microphone with all sorts of deceptive theatrics. In about three hours, your parents and sister should be back home with anger and angst in their hearts. Before they banter and batter you to death, you chose to go in the silence and stillness of poisonous death.

***

When your parents and sister return from the vigil, they will find a letter that is livelier than you are. Your mother will wail in the loudest voice. They – especially your mother and sister – will forget that you said how gay you are in your goodbye letter, and simply share a mutual moment of mourning. Your father will stand and stare and shake his head, holding everything he feels in like a rock. With a smile on your lifeless body, you will be far from a world that makes being gay an evil thing.

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