BY RUTH OKWUMBU
I stumbled into a suicide scene in a movie recently. The child was about to commit suicide and his mother was begging him not to. I remember thinking, “hmmm! If this boy had my kind of mother…”
Just so you understand my thoughts, I tried out a similar prank sometime as a child. I was about 11 years old at the time, and had just come home on holiday from the boarding house. My father flogged me mercilessly that day, over a reason I cannot now recall.
The reason might have been my returning home with all my books in shreds or the fact that I misplaced more than half my clothes. Whatever reason it was, what I can remember now is that I got seriously beaten for it (and I still have a couple of scars to show for it).
While crying, I thought I could give my parents a scare, so I took a thick rope and went outside. Once outside, I tied it round my neck and to a pole, knowing that my mother would come out and see what I was doing. I don’t know what I was thinking now, but I guess watching too much movies must have played its part. I expected that my mother would beg me not to be angry with my father, and probably pet me a little.
Ignorant me!!! I had no idea then, that African mothers react differently from their American, Asian or European counterparts.
My mother came outside and saw me just as expected, but her reaction was the exact opposite. She rushed to where I was standing (beside the pole), and started helping me tighten the rope. At first, I thought she was loosening it until I felt something preventing me from taking air: I was about to start choking.
Only then did I realize what was happening, and started to plead for mercy. She loosened the rope then, and gave me two ‘brain-correction’ slaps.
“It is because you are idle, that is why you can think of doing something like this” she said.
She then ordered me to go wash all the plates and pots (both clean and dirty) in the house, and to fill all the drums with water. I spent the next three hours working my fingers to the bone. When I finished, I was too tired to breath. My mother called me then and gave me the shortest sermon ever.
“If you kill yourself, I will cry but I will not die. You, however, would have missed out on a very promising life and future. Once the breath is out of your body, you cannot force it back inside, no matter how much you wish it”.
Like you can guess, I never played that prank again after that day.
But on a lighter note, I was wondering. Is it possible for us to take anybody that attempts suicide into a forest and give him/her a spoon to dig a well?