Chapter 2 The fire from the camp gas cylinder went from blue, to a mix of blue and yellow flames, to flickering blue and yellow flames appearing here and there, and then the fire finally died out. Tony sat on the small stool, with his eyes on the pot, but his mind was a million miles away. After it finally dawned on him that his last hope of a meal was gone, he got up from where he was seated and opened the pot. He felt deflated when he noticed the water wasn’t even hot enough to cook the noodles. In a frustrating state, he flung the pot cover he had in his hand towards the kitchen entrance, kicked the kitchen cabinet, and punched the wall. A few seconds later when the pain set in, he sat on the floor and bowed his head. He stayed in that position for several minutes, wishing he would cry. He had always believed If he could bring himself to cry, things would start to get better after that because it would mean he had reached rock bottom. But, all the while, from all his gravely depressed states, he could never bring himself to shed tears. After a couple of minutes of hopelessness, he picked his lanky 6 ft 1 self up and walked over to the pot. Time in water had loosened up the noodles a little bit. He picked up the pot from its shaky handle and moved over to the sink. As he emptied the water in the pot, he felt a little better. At least I was sure of one last meal before he went into oblivion, he thought to himself. In the past, he had had many session of going days without food and he was somehow hoping this wasn’t going to be yet another of those times. He tasted the noodles sauce before emptying in into the pot; an act he had been practicing for more than ten years now. Even when he heard it could cause cancer, he still couldn’t bring himself to stop the habit. After devouring his half-cooked meal directly from the pot, he sat on the floor and stared through space as the thoughts of suicide slowly crept into his mind. He had thought of it many times but couldn’t figure out the best way to exit this world. He thought poisoning himself would be a good idea, but then he would leave a lot of work for the people that would get his body down to the mortuary, and he wouldn’t like that. He occasionally thought of jumping off the Third Mainland Bridge. That would be a very easy way to die, because he never learnt how to swim. And after drowning, the Lagos State Government would probably pull out his body from the lagoon and deposit it in the morgue. But then, the news of his death would be all over the local news and social media sites, and he sure didn’t want to leave his family with the kind of lasting stigma that would bring, so he crossed out that option from his mind. He was left with the option of traveling to a foreign land to kill himself, but that would also be bad for his family. Because they would be searching for him for many years, not knowing he was dead. He sighed and let his hands drop to the floor so that they made a slapping sound as his palms hit the tiled floor. Tony was tired of life but couldn’t exit this world without leaving a lot of people in misery. The reality of that made him feel more hopeless. As the last generator set in his compound went dead, and everywhere became quiet, he heard the sound of his phone. That part of him that still wanted to live sprang up and he rushed out of the kitchen. The phone had stopped ringing by the time he made it to his room. On the screen was a notification showing he had 9 missed calls and one text message. As he navigated through his phone, he saw it was Ayo that had been calling. His emotions went from excitement to panic. The last time they had spoken, Ayo had been very angry that he hadn’t paid back the hundred thousand Tony had borrowed from him earlier on in the year. “Tony, I know we are friends, but you need to get me that money whichever way you can.” he remembered Ayo saying. He looked up at his wall clock and the time was 12:47 am. He didn’t understand why his friend would be calling him this late at night. Just as he was about to check the message notification that was blinking on his phone, Ayo’s phone call came on again. He picked up and said “Hello! What’s up?” “Are you home?” The voice on the other end said. “Yes I am. What’s up?” “Thank God.”



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