Dear M

Dear M

Dear M,

I was going about my day recently when someone asked what is the lowest I have been. They tell me they have been contemplating suicide lately. That darkness has been forming a circle around them, and it looks like they are about to disappear into its despair. That every new day draws them closer and closer to the ocean’s deep end. Every ray of sun reminds them that they need to get out of here, sooner than later. Every laughter that pierces the air reminds them that they have failed at this thing called life, and no, they are not willing to try again.

I ask them what they mean when they say they have failed. They shake their head, look at me, and mutter a, “Even if I had the words to describe it, you would never understand. You are not like me in many different ways.” 

I feel my eyes swell with tears, so I turn away and try to find words for my voice. To say the right thing, at the right time. But what is the right thing to say when speaking about the proximity of death? What is the right thing to say when this could be the last time you are seeing the person seated next to you?  What is the right thing to say when you are battling your own demons, yet in their eyes, you are the safest, most stable person?

We sit in an uncomfortable, heavy silence, their eyes hard on my left side profile, my eyes in a faraway place, my mind trying to recollect the very last time I saw you. The very last time I heard your laughter. The very last time you touched my hand and said, “You are a fighter; you will get through this.”

I remember your face that day five years ago, soaked in the evening sun, seated next to me at the beach. You spoke, and spoke, and spoke, laying out your dreams and aspirations. There was a shine in your eyes that I admired. There was a joy to your voice of which I was jealous. But you either didn’t notice my discomfort, or just ignored it altogether. So you spoke, and spoke, and spoke; about happiness. Joy. Success. Serenity. Home. About how these things were slowly making their way to you, and you couldn’t wait for the flowers to fully bloom, so you could share their fragrance with me.

That was the last I saw of you. Two years from that day, I was on a dreaded phone call, wailing, telling the person on the other end that there had to be a mistake. It could not be you lying on a cold slab. I had talked to you two weeks prior to that phone call. You had sent me money one week prior to that phone call, saying, “You randomly crossed my mind and I figured a little money wouldn’t hurt.”

“I asked you a question,” they nudge me, and bring me back to the present. “What is the lowest you have been?” 

I want to tell them about the morning of the phone call. The rolling on the floor. The pulling out of my hair. The parched throat. The banging of my head against walls. The blood from my nose first, then mouth, then ears. The darkness afterwards.

I want to tell them of the life like nothing exists around me. The calling your phone non-stop. The waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for someone to tell me something. Anything. Nothing. The voice of defeat on the other end of phone calls when people would try to hide things from me. Until one of them snapped and said, “I am so sorry, but M has already been buried.”

I want to tell them of the days that followed filled with nothing but a sadness cold to the touch. An emptiness so rigid you could build a bridge on it. A life so fragile it could end anytime.

I want to tell them of the selective mutism that gripped my body months after that phone call. That I could suddenly not speak whenever there were people around me. I had the words. My tongue could move inside my mouth. But my voice refused to leave my chest. So instead, a hotness always developed at the edge of my eyes, and I wept, and wept, and wept, until I lost consciousness.

I want to tell them of the day I flung my notebook right to the therapist’s face, because she kept saying, “This is grief. It will go away, someday. One day at a time. Time will, surely, rid you of this hurt in your heart.” 

I knew time will never, ever, rid my eyes of this darkness that lies beneath my tears.

I want to tell them about all these things, maybe so they could rethink about this failed life they are speaking about. But lately, I have been retreating more and more into myself. I have been saving my stories for myself. I have been taking a step back from human interactions, digging deeper and deeper into myself. I have been finding more of myself in this solitude that sometimes threatens to turn into loneliness, and I wouldn’t want any more of pieces of me, the museum of me, out there, with someone I do not trust. Someone who might use these very pieces against me. Someone who might think they own me, now that they carry a little piece of me. 

I have lost myself so many times, trying to find myself in people, that I no longer have the grace to leave my footprints in anyone else’s story.

So when they nudge me again, and repeat their question, I only manage to say, “Even if I had the words to describe it, you would never understand. You are not like me in many different ways.”

I am not the same person; you died with a piece of me, and I do not know how to live with what remains.

Forever and for always.






Subscribe to get new post notifications:


comments powered by Disqus
Meet Eunniah Mbabazi
Eunniah Mbabazi is an Electrical and Electronic Engineer with a deep passion for books and literature. She has authored Breaking Down (a collection of short stories), If My Bones Could Speak (a poetry collection), The Unbirthed Souls (a collection of short stories), and My Heart Sings, Sometimes (a poetry collection). She has also co-authored Kas Kazi (a novel) and When a Stranger Called (an anthology of short stories).

Get in Touch