Akachi and I have been close friends right since our second year in school here. He was a human, he lived, he loved, he died.
On Monday morning of last week, around few minutes past six I was rushing to the Access Bank ATM when I met Akachi walking back towards the boys’ hostel where he stays. I wasn’t surprised seeing him knowing how much he loved taking walks both early mornings and evenings just to clear his head, many which we have walked together as friends and as writers that we were, (knowing how badly you can be mentally stressed/depressed after writing some stuffs). So I wasn’t surprised, that has been him. When I called him Akachi and said how far, he smiled and walked pass me and stopped. Again I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t shake my hand or gave me a hug as he usually does, because for some months Akachi has been avoiding me over things like the way I dress, why do I have to always go to church almost every evening, why should I disagree with him over an argument and all that.
When he stopped he said Nwakpoke Ifeanyi Raphael (he usually calls my whole name), I’m going to die today, he was smiling. I shrugged and said fine, fine, because that’s how he’s been talking for over three years that we’ve been close, I shrugged because that’s the umpteenth time he has been saying he’s going to die, and in most cases I have walked with him so we could talk, and in many of the cases it’s usually because of existential questions, because of how a certain online magazine didn’t publish him, or because he’s tired of typing on his laptop, that he just wanted to stretch out, and he knows that such things like I’m going to die will make me walk with him so I can tell him stories that will make him feel better, or on some rare occasions it was over a girl, or an ex, or how someone told him to try swinging his hands that they’re hanging loose….
So I told him fine, fine, later nau, I dey come.
Two hours later Lilian called me asking if I knew Akachi’s room number, I said I can’t recall (my head wasn’t working fine then) she said I should go check if he’s in his room. I went to his room, looked up RM 228 Alvan. He was not around, his roommate said he left early, Lilian called back I said I didn’t see him, was anything wrong?, she said she will get back to me. Two minutes later Samuel our course rep called me asking me the same question, I asked him what was going on, he said Ernest called him and said that he heard that Akachi did something bad to himself. He hung up. I went straight to our class WhatsApp group, scrolled the chats and saw someone asking for Akachi’s room number, that it’s urgent, that his phone line is off. I scrolled further and someone (Peace) said she heard that he’s at the school Medical centre, that he’s fine now. My heart couldn’t believe it, I put on my shirt and ran out, looking for Shuttle, I called Veektor, called Samuel asking for Ernest’s phone number, it took me time to get a Shuttle that was going to that side.
When I got to the Medical centre, I first saw Mary his friend, Neke, Otosiri Eze Obiyoung and some familiar faces all looking worried. I went inside the emergency ward, and saw Akachi lying helpless on bed, he was on Oxygen, the nurses were round him, injecting him. Akachi wasn’t moving, only his chest. They said they had found him inside the Tower; an isolated Monumental building behind UBA Hall of Fame. We have been there, both of us, on an adventure, we promised to go back there with a camera. He had outsmarted all of us, Akachi went to somewhere no one could have easily thought about and drank two bottles of snipers.
He couldn’t survive it. For those asking questions why he did it, you read his posts, he said he was depressed, depression as an illness. I’ll choose to call it that too. As for those that have used his death to vomit their bias, to become emergency poets, philosophers, motivational speakers and the most caring far off strangers and human activists, I don’t have words for you all. For those blaming the family, the friends, that they failed him, they didn’t care for him, he was rejected and alone and all that balderdash, well, I wonder how many people you know that you care for, to the extent of spending your entire hours rocking the person’s shoulders.
A silly fellow, perhaps too angry that he was unable to think through made a long post and entitled it Nigeria and Her Bastard Parents, talking down on Akachi’s parents that he knows nothing about. Akachi’s parents loved Akachi, catered for him, paid his fees, it was only this final year school fee that Akachi paid by himself because he wanted to, because his younger brother got admission and he wanted to reduce the load on the parents. Akachi had friends who loved him, who’s around him, cared for him, only that his problem of not believing in anything also made him to believe that nobody really loved him, or cared or understood him. He said he feels estranged, I told him I didn’t know how to solve that problem if he’s not seeing us his friends.
Akachi read books, not more than everybody but he took every text and thing to heart, as a true reader does, but the mistake he made was that he swallowed all the junk he saw, all the dark thoughts and unpalatable knowledge from writers who funny enough historically, many of them committed suicide. He couldn’t sieve what to take in and what to throw out, he swallowed all, and all these accumulated with his personal issues, childhood experiences, rejections, failures, beliefs and self estrangement, all these gathered up.
Akachi doesn’t have academic issues, no carry overs, and yet he’s not a first class student by grade as some newscasters has carried it, stop hyping the dead. Akachi is intelligent, smart and passed his courses, and writes his dark poems which he started writing in second semester of our second year, he previously focused on love poems before we did Gothic Literature in second year and he changed.
So for those looking for what to say that made him commit suicide, life did. Life killed him. Experiences and questions whose answers he didn’t believe pushed him.
He didn’t drown. Akachi didn’t drown, he was the water. Overwhelmed. By waves of emotions.
written by ~ Nwakpoke Ifeanyi