Sincerely, Nonso by Omowero Agbor



Sade’s greatest weakness will always be her expectations. She expects her friends to see through her thin attempts at happiness and still let her be. She expects that kindness and inquisitiveness will speak for interest and determination. She wants her lovers to be kinder, her reflection to praise, not haunt. She hopes the books she reads will heal her; the shows will free her. Most of all, she thought that since she has struggled not to kill herself for most of her life, her expectations would have tried better not to fail her.

As her therapist, I struggled to steer her in the right direction. I tried everything; the problem wasn’t that I could not get through to her. The problem is I’m more like her than she could ever understand. Her unwillingness to give in to her expectations didn’t make her strong; they made her an empty shell. So, because this is Nigeria and I am an unethical professional, I introduced alcohol into our sessions. As an alcoholic, I have only one rule: no drinks till 10 am. I simply have to give life the opportunity to make it seem like it won’t fuck me over.

As a functioning alcoholic, I can tell you that despite what might be said about me when this comes out, please, don’t question my morals or my intentions. I was simply trying to survive. As a young professional who had to fight tooth and nail for an occupation that my countrymen consider flimsy, I have done a good job. Although life fought me every day, I got up, made my bed, had a bath, took a shot, and went about my day trying to help young Nigerians who battle with their mental health.

Alcoholism is the greatest gift for amnesia. Picking up the bottle isn’t the hardest part, and neither is stopping the drinking. It’s letting go of the self-induced memory loss so you can be someone else, somewhere else, and anything else.

Sade loved it. The gin made her tongue loose and her tears fall harder. She was reaching milestones that would have taken us weeks to reach. It was amazing to see that I had put another person on this track and they were doing so well. She smiled brighter; the voices didn’t bother her anymore. There was color in her cheeks, and for once, she was satisfied with being lonely. The alcohol had given her the courage to be the best version she could come up with.

I should’ve never given you that bottle. I didn’t know you were trying to silence my voice as well. It worked anyway. You had an attitude towards life; you didn’t let anyone stop you from experiencing it. This was the first time I genuinely considered that I might not be good for you. Your thoughts were confusing me. I knew you were overwhelmed, but the appeal of killing yourself was dangling in your empty head, and you were voicing it boldly with each session we had. I had given you the courage to embrace death. The more you drank, the less you became, and you were fine with that.

I waited, and you never showed up for your session, so I decided to swing by your house after work. To be honest, I was more worried about how I was going to explain to your dad that he would still have to pay even though you missed a session. I saw you sitting on the bench opposite your gate, and you looked tired. I hadn’t seen that exhaustion overcome you in a while. When I stopped, you didn’t say anything, but I knew. I knew you had tried to take your life, and the alcohol still couldn’t push you to do it. I drove away, and my decision had been made.

I got home, had a shower, and ate the ayamase I struggled to make the previous night. I washed it down with whiskey. It was a good meal.

If you are reading this, then by now, Sade, you should know that I have taken my life. I want to say I’m sorry that I tried to push you into living with the bottle. This might be an unusual suicide note, but I want to thank you. I was looking for the strength to leave, and I appreciate you for giving me the opportunity to take it from you. You see, I didn’t die so you could live; I died because I need the guilt to drive you to take a chance and fight a bit longer. If you decide to join me after some time, I will be glad because I know my expectations gave you a better chance.

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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.