Man Down

Dear Friend,

Please excuse my poor writing. I can’t stop my hands from shaking. I’ve done a terrible thing. You know I do a lot of “little” horrible things but I swear this one is for real.

I killed a man.

Oh my God, I actually killed a man! I think writing that out made it dawn on me.
I’m a murderer.
I think I’m having a panic attack.
What if the cops find out? What if someone saw me running away? What if … What if, oh my God; so many what ifs. I’m so confused. I don’t know what to do.
Kenny used to say writing always helps. Kenny. Sigh. I miss him so much. If those bloody bastards hadn’t taken him from me, none of this would have happened.
Okay, I know you’re lost. I’ll try and briefly explain things to you. Briefly, because I think I should run away. I feel like I’m being chased. Wait, what if the man’s ghost is chasing me? Okay. That’s stupid. If ghosts existed, Kenny would have come to say goodbye.

So, how it all began. I have anger issues. Like, I get really angry sometimes and do things I shouldn’t, and only realise what I’m doing when it’s too late. When these things are happening I feel like I’m in a trance; it’s like an out-of-body experience, something I can’t help. And they’re always horrible things.
I am a horrible person.

I wasn’t always like this. In fact less than a year ago, I was one of the lucky few who had never experienced depression. I was a happy person. Working class graduate at 23, working in a well-paying prestigious company, and happily whipped—and by that I mean stupidly, foolishly and oh-so-amazingly in love—with Kenny.
I still remember the first day I met him, 3 years ago. I was at my company’s headquarters in Abuja for an interview and I couldn’t find my way to the venue proper. I was 3 minutes late, and was having a panic attack. I was standing in a crowded lounge on the 3rd floor and was frantically trying to get directions to my destination but nobody paid me any attention. I felt like a lost puppy.
And then Kenny came out of nowhere, grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the elevator away from the rowdiness of the lounge.

The first thing I noticed was his style. Most Nigerian men don’t care about their dressing. Mismatched socks, ties almost reaching their knees and stuff. Ugh. So irritating. But Kenny looked like something straight out a page of the GQ magazine. Perfect everything. From his haircut to his suit, to his shoes and the way he grabbed me, ah so authoritative. I drank in the beauty of his well built biceps and well chiselled facial features. I caught myself smiling sheepishly, and immediately ‘maintained’. All this happened in the space of 5 seconds.

Kenny asked me what I was doing looking all panicky, and I sheepishly told him I was lost and late for my interview. He laughed and pulled me into the elevator. We got off at the 6th floor and he led me into an office. I saw nothing less than a hundred people obviously waiting for the same interview and I started to panic again. No way they would give the job to a late comer. I picked a number tag from a box by the door, 127. “Great, even more than I imagined”, I thought to myself. At least, I thought it was a silent thought, until Kenny laughed and said he’d pull some strings and make sure I got interviewed. Apparently, I had said that loud enough for him to hear. I looked up at him quickly—I’m a lucky 5’3 and he didn’t look less than 6ft—and murmured a terse “thank you”. Now that I think of it that must have seemed rude. I was really just shy and nervous and wondering why this god-like man was helping a stranger. He asked me to take a seat and wait for him. I watched him walk to the adjoining office where the interviews were taking place. “Nice ass”, I smiled to myself.
About 10 minutes later, he slightly opened the door of the office and signalled for me to come. I walked over to him very conscious of his eyes on me. I wouldn’t like to bore you with the details of my interview, but in addition to my awesome CV, Kenny put in a word for me and two weeks later, I got the job. After the interview, Kenny and I exchanged names and numbers and BB pins of course and before long, we started talking on phone each chance we got. About two months after we met, our relationship began. I liked to term it a long distance relationship since I lived in Lagos and Kenny was based in Abuja. But considering the fact that every other weekend, one of us travelled to see the other, it wasn’t really a long distance relationship.

Kenny was all shades of amazing. He was as romantic as a novel character. He was my best friend, lover, pastor, brother, … . He was my everything. The two years I spent dating him have been the happiest of my life yet; and considering this mess, may be the happiest ever. I was the envy of many colleagues and friends and even my elder sister who was 28, single and bitter. She kept trying to make me see that for Kenny to be that perfect, he was fake. I’m happy I made sure I didn’t let what anyone said affect me or my relationship with Kenny.

I was happy and glowing until that one night when everything went downhill. As usual, I had taken an evening flight to Abuja after work on Friday, and Kenny and I had stayed indoors, bonding and err, you know, doing stuff people in love do. On Saturday evening, we decided to go out and see a movie. Actually, I wanted to see the movie. Kenny didn’t feel like going out but I persuaded him, and we headed out. After the movie, we decided to go to the club Cubana to drink and generally chill. After a couple of drinks, we found ourselves on the dance floor and soon lost track of time. By the time we walked out (with him supporting me since I drank a lot more than him) it was about 12:21am, I think; I’m not sure anymore. A lot of details about that night are blurry.

We were driving home when we saw 3 people standing by the road, waving frantically at our car. One was doubled over, like she was hurt, one man was supporting her, and the other kept waving at us.
Kenny slowed down and I glared at him. “Don’t stop o. Can’t you see the time?”, I said to him.
He replied, “Oh come on, let’s see if we can help them, she looks like she’s in pain.”
“Okay o, Good Samaritan.”
He stopped and unlocked the car with the central lock. He made to open his door; and then everything happened so fast. The girl who was bent over opened my door and dragged me out to the floor; the ‘waving guy’ was at Kenny’s side furiously demanding for ‘the money’. Kenny was insisting that all he had on him was less than ten thousand, as we had simply gone to see a movie. I was lying helplessly on the ground crying. They all had guns, it was all so scary. The second guy who had been quiet all this while suddenly dashed to Kenny’s side and slapped him hard. I don’t even know where he was slapped. Or why, in fact. He started shouting, “You think say we dey play? Bring the money now before I vex!”
They seemed to be in a hurry: this stretch of road was not a particularly busy one, but a car was sure to come along soon. Kenny tried to explain to him that he had given his partner all he had. The second guy let out a loud hiss, and that was when I heard the two sounds that will forever haunt me: a gunshot, and Kenny’s scream.

To be continued…

Posted by Delia.

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