THE PERFECT DAY TO DIE
Jeffrey drew the two edges of the satin drapes together, shutting down the sunlight sipping into the room. He walked past his recliner towards the center of the living room. Olive trailed behind him, her white fur tail wagged eagerly.
“Out!” he shooed the dog but it refused to budge.
His tiny, half breed Bolognese pet had more guts than size.
Jeffrey stopped at the iron chair at the center of the room. His fingers caressed the shiny silver edges of the chair. His shoulders drooped. His eyes was worn out. He looked alot older than his 27.
Olive barked as Jeffrey climbed the chair, dancing around the base of the chair. A thick blue rope was hanging on the ceiling fan and dangling towards Jeffrey. He grabbed it. His heartbeat drummed in his ears. He bit his lower lip hard, blood flowed.
Olive’s barks rose higher and higher as though reacting to the looming danger. She looked up at her master. Her white tail stopped wagging. Her ears fell. She was pleading but Jeffrey had gone beyond reason.
At 27, his life has fallen like a pack of cards. His girlfriend had broken up with him the night before. She couldn’t put up with his nonsense anymore. He didn’t blame her; couldn’t even beg when she walked around the house picking her things and muttering curses at the base of her throat. He didn’t say a word when she walked towards the door dragging her LV box and her giant teddy bear. He still remained mute when she turned to him at the door. Her eyes bore into his. She waited. For his pleas? An apology? He remained silent even as the door slammed in his face. He loved her enough to set her free.
He pulled the rope closer and began to fold it in circular knot. Olive kept barking and jumping. He refused to look at her. She is the only thing that loved him through his flaws. But she is a dog, she doesn’t know any better.
Images of his life flashed before his eyes. He saw himself at 14, the champion of baseball at Washington high school. The athletic boy who girl swarm around like bees. What happened to that boy? Jeffrey wondered. Staring down at his jiggling obese stomach. What happened to that boy who’s future was promising?
He remembered the first time his life began to fall apart. He was in the back seat of the Chevrolet car, nodding to the 50 cent “It’s your birthday” song blasting on the speakers. The car was racing through the tightly packed New york streets. It was Sammy’s birthday, their baseball captain. Five teenage boys crammed in a car, passing a bottle of vodka from one lip to another.
Fifteen minutes later, they parked at the crowded garage of Oasis night club. Their fake id’s resting in their baggy jean pockets as they gave their best act at pretending to be adults. That night, was the first time, Jeffrey tasted drugs and it was the beginning of his woes.
He brushed the stray lock of blond hair that fell over his left eye, muttering curses under his breath. He was scared. And he didn’t want to be. He wanted this death, didn’t he? Why then, is he yearning for life.
“Fcuk da shit! ” he said, wriggling head into the noose and adjusting it around his neck.
He clamped his hands on the knot, ready to pull.
Olive’s barks grew louder now, she was jumping and running back and forth in the room.
Someone banged the door.
” Jeff! Jeff! Open the door!” the person called from outside.
Jeffrey didn’t know who it was. He didn’t care. It could be his neighbor, that slim, gentle Jehovah witness man or by God! It could be Sparrow , the deadly drug lord whom he owed money.
Whoever it was. He did not want to know. Pulling the rope farther, it tightened around his neck. He felt his breath slipping away. Olive was jumping wildly now.
This is better. He told himself.
A drop of tear rolled down his right eye. He shook his legs, the iron stool danced beneath him. He spread his arms apart and waited.
His heart slammed in his chest. The visitor was still banging at the door. Olive was still bellowing.
The noises merged into a chorus of chaos. He knew it was now or never. He closed his eyes, held his breath. Two drops of urine slid down his thigh.
He raised his left leg. The other began to shake. The stool swerved from side to side. Voices screamed in his head. Memories flashed in his eyes. He saw his mother laughing. Saw his siblings singing happy birthday songs as he blew his 7th birthday candles. Then, he saw Marcia. Just the way he remembered her. Wide eyed. Untamed brunette curls dancing around her face. Freckles splattered at the corners of her nose. And her laughter! Damn! He can still hear it echoing as they play in the field behind the school orchid.
He remembered the first time she said she loved him, how she stood on the tip of her toes and kissed him. He remembered how his heart tightened and the tears gathered in his eyes. He remembered his tiny voice whispering – I love you too, Marcia.
Then, the memories darkened and he saw his 15 years old self walking on the broken pathway of the cemetery. He saw himself kneeling at a grave, with the gray tombstone seating at the edge and shrubs gathered at the base.
The tombstone read –
Age – 15.
Died on the 5th of August 2006.
Jeffrey squeezed his eyes tightly. After all these years, it still hurts. He raised his hands to his neck. A smile broke on his face.
Today, 5th of August, 2017, was the perfect day to die.
SHORT STORY WRITTEN BY Chioma Ngaikedi.