“We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments … these moments when we dared to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we’re still pioneers, that we’ve barely begun, and our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us. That our destiny lies above us” – Interstellar
Tunde woke in a sobbing fit, curled up in a foetal position at the corner of the room like he had done yesterday and many days before. It had been that way since the accident – he’d go to sleep on his bed and wake up on the floor.
Strange as these occurrences were, he wasn’t at all bothered. In some ways, he deserved it.
The heater was broken – had been for the past two weeks. He took a cold shower.
The only clothes in his wardrobe were a suit jacket, matching black trousers, a white shirt and a thin red tie. He wore them.
He opened the cupboard in the kitchen. Empty. The fridge – empty. The freezer shared the same fate.
On the kitchen table, a half-eaten loaf of bread and two eggs in a crate. He made himself eggs on toast.
He stood by the main door … adjusted his tie and suit jacket. He wrapped his hand around the door knob.
‘Don’t look. Don’t. Look,’ he muttered, squeezing his eyes shut. But he did look when he opened them: the shabby door at the end of the hall, right next to the kitchen door. It was the only door in the house in dire need of a makeover.
Dread consumed him whole. He swallowed hard. The longer he stared at the door, the more likely he was to crawl to that awful corner in his room and weep. He left the house in haste.
Work was worse. He couldn’t concentrate. He felt his pocket, allowed his finger to trace the hallow band inside.
From his office he spotted Chika talking to her friend. Becky? Becka? He couldn’t recall her name, but she was fat. Chika’s fat friend, that’s what he referred to her as.
Anyways, he had a date with Chika. He had better prepare.
They met at the restaurant across the road from the office, a large, homely place. The food there was nothing special, but it was OK, certainly date-appropriate.
Chika wanted to know more about him: his hobbies, his favourite colour, what musician he loved above all, movies they had both seen… He gave her answers he had researched on the internet. They seemed to satisfy her curiosity.
The date ended. Chika left the restaurant, happier than she had been when they arrived earlier. He watched her through the large window, his hand in his pocket, toying … fiddling…
He checked his watch. It was time to go. He stood, and then groaned at the sharp pain in his left side. He checked: a smidgeon of red blossomed on his shirt, gaining circumference. His nose was wet. He touched it. Blood. These things tended to happen to him a lot. He wondered why, but only for a second, as his thoughts spun in a different direction.
He took out the ring from his pocket – a wedding ring.
Someone bumped into him from behind. The ring slipped from his fingers.
‘Hey!’ He didn’t bother with the person. He bent and searched frantically.
The cleaner – an elderly woman – helped. She found the ring under a chair and handed it to him.
‘Your nose-’ she began.
‘It’s OK. Thank you,’ he said and rushed out of the restaurant.
He got home late that afternoon and sat behind his study table. The only item on it was a paperback novel: “These, the Last Days of our Lives” by Nancy. No last name.
He didn’t know what to make of the book. In fact, he didn’t know what to make of anything anymore – this house, his job, his life. It all seemed pointless without her.
So, he did the one thing he had always done on every other day. He pulled the stool from the corner of the room, placed it under the ceiling fan, climbed it, tied a rope around the neck of the fan, slipped his head into the noose, kicked the stool from under his feet … and chocked to death.