Instinctively, I went to my room where I got my gun from it’s hiding place. Call me insecure but I always felt safer with a gun in my possession. Since the weather was a bit chilly as it looked like it was about to rain, I grabbed a sweater from my closet which I slid into and left the house after bidding Mule and Faides goodbye. As I was leaving my compound, Diana was driving in. We had to stop our cars beside one another and roll down our windows.
“Seems I’ve got bad timing, not so?” said Diana. “You going out?”
“Yes. Why, you wanna come with?”
“If you don’t mind.”
“Of course I don’t,” I honestly said. “I’m really in need of company. You know what, I suggest you park your car in my yard and then we can use mine.”
“That sounds like a great idea.”
After parking her car, Diana came over to mine and hopped in beside me.
“So,” she said as she fastened her seatbelt. “Where are we headed?”
“To see a friend of mine, Baison.” I ignited the engine. “Remember the dude who was with me at your cousin’s book opening?”
“The talkative one? There’s no way I’d forget him.”
“Yeah, the talkative one. He’s apparently playing drama queen.”
Diana and I arrived at Baison’s place an hour later. The gate wasn’t locked so I opened it and drove right in, then closed the gate again. Diana stepped out of the car and together, we approached the porch.
“The house is not bad,” said Diana thoughtfully. “Except that it’s maybe a little too small.”
“The guy lives alone so I bet it feels like a mansion to him.”
“You have a point there.”
I rapped on Baison’s door but there was no response. I knocked again. Nothing.
“You sure he’s in?” asked Diana who was hugging her arms, she was obviously starting to feel cold.
“Yeah,” I peeped through the keyhole. “There’s a key in and that can only mean Baison’s inside.”
“Try knocking again.”
“Sure, let me do that.” I knocked again but there was no response. “You know what, Diana, I’m breaking in.”
“Oh my,” she gasped. “Alicia, that’s illegal.”
“Not when my instincts tell me there’s something wrong going on inside. Move aside, please.”
I produced my gun and pointed it at the doorknob. I pulled the trigger.
“That was easy,” I smiled with satisfaction as I put my gun away and opened the door. “Let’s go in, Dee.”
Diana was shaking vigorously as we stepped over the threshold. We went straight to the living room where we were welcomed by the stench of liqour and cigarette smoke. On the round glass table lay empty bottles of Black Label.
“Baison!” I loudly called. “You in here, buddy?”
“Alicia, let’s get going, please. I don’t know why but I’ve got this ominous feeling that-” her voice faded away as I wasn’t listening to a word she was saying. I was instead already headed towards Baison’s bedroom.
“Don’t leave me alone, Alicia! Wait up for me. This house is creepy!”
Jesus, I thought. Can’t she just shut up already?
I liked Diana but now I was regretting bringing her with me.
“Relax, Dee. The house isn’t haunted.” I was being sarcastic.
Upon arriving at the threshold of Baison’s bedroom, I was graced with a shocking and ugly scene. Baison stood before his bedside drawer with his back facing me. A gun in his hands and it was pointing at his forehead.
Even as I rushed to retrieve it, Baison pulled the trigger. I froze, expecting to hear an earsplitting sound accompanied by the blowing off of brains but there was nothing. Baison pulled the trigger again, nothing happen. It was with a wave of relief that I realized it wasn’t loaded.
“OMG, dude!” I hotly said as I turned him to face me. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Alicia?” his breath was that of stale beer and his facial expression was of one that’s just seen a ghost. “What are you doing here? I thought I locked the door!” I could make out his words even though his speech was slurred.
I grabbed the unloaded gun from his grip and tucked it behind my jeans. “Baison, were you trying to commit suicide?”
“Suicide?!” it was Diana exclaiming in awe. She had joined us in the room. “Alicia, this is serious!”
“Yeah, I know. Now answer me, Baison. Were you trying to commit suicide?”
In response, Baison slumped to his bed and buried his head in his hands. He began sobbing. They say it takes a lot for man to shed tears and Baison was a macho man so there was definitely something wrong with him.
“My life is a freaking mess! I just wanna end it, Ali. I just wanna die! Maybe that way I’ll find love in the spiritual realm.”
I was about to say something when Diana shook her head.
“There’s something I’ve not told you, Alicia. I’m a psychiatrist. Not officially but I’ve been to Cambridge and I’ve studied psychology so I’ll take care of this. Trust me. If you want to help then start by helping me talk him into having a cold shower.”
Talking Baison into having a shower wasn’t easy but Diana finally convinced him. After he’d showered, he had a change of clothes and I prepared him coffee. As Baison sipped his coffee, Diana said, “Alicia, I suggest you give us some privacy. I need to have a serious discussion with Baison here, just him and I.”
I sighed in defeat and left the bedroom, closing the door behind me. I initially had thoughts of going to the living room to clean up but I ended up standing by the bedroom door, eavesdropping. Not that I had the habit but I just wanted to know why Baison who was full of life would out of the blue want to end his own life. Something was definitely amiss.
“Baison, I’m Diana Maliti. A psychiatrist by profession and seeing as you just attempted to commit suicide, I think you might be in need of someone to talk to. Someone who can listen to you without judging you, I think you’ve found that person in me.” Diana’s voice was low but I placed my right ear hard against the door and closed the other one.
Baison mockingly chuckled. “What makes you think I want to talk to anyone? Hell, who are you? I don’t even know you and you think I’ll tell you shit? Well, you’re wasting your time.”
“What if I told you I was defiled by my own uncle when I was only ten years old? I was defiled and that shattered me to the core. I felt filthy and just as you did, I contemplated suicide but talking to a psychiatrist really helped and here I am today, telling my tale.”
“If what you said is true, your uncle deserves to be castrated.”
“Yeah, he paid for his deeds as he was imprisoned for defilement. He’s in prison as we speak.”
“Wow, serves the pervert right. I’m sorry about the defilement though, nobody deserves to go through such at a tender age. Well, where do I begin…..”
Without my knowledge, tears rolled down my cheeks as Baison narrated to Diana how his parents had treated him, how he had been cheated by a girl named Doris, how he had left home and joined the police force up to how he had fallen in love with me.
“But Alicia doesn’t love me,” complained Baison sorrowfully. “She never will. If I’m unlucky, she might even fall in love with the Curtis dude.”
“What makes you say that?” came Diana’s voice.
I decided I had heard enough so I hurriedly wiped my tears and rushed to the living room where I began cleaning up as Baison’s sad life history replayed in my mind. The guy had really led a sad life and now I was contributing to it. But what was I to do about his love for me when there was no way I could love him back? Lead him on and then dump him at the last minute like Doris had done? There was no way I was doing that.
When I was done cleaning, I phoned Helen and informed her Baison was okay. I also asked her to work with Sibajene and cover up for me promising I would work double shifts too. Helen was kind enough to accept.
Drained, I dumped myself on the couch and fell asleep.
“I can guarantee the dude won’t try to end his life again,” said Diana wryly. She and I were on our way to my place and it was already morning. “I’ve talked to him all night long and I’ve gotta say, he’s an easy person to talk to.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” I said. “Might I ask the reason behind his attempted suicide last night?”
Diana ruefully shook her head. “I’m sorry, I can’t tell. It’s not professional for me to disclose information concerning my clients.”
“Jesus, Diana! You’re not even officially a psychiatrist yet.” I was teasing her.
“I’ll be one very soon,” she chuckled. “Trust me. As I speak to you right now, Baison and I have appointments.”
“That’s so thoughtful of you, Dee. I’m really grateful for your help. I don’t know what I would have done had I lost Baison. He’s talkative at times but I like him the way he is.”
“I can relate. And Ali, there’s no need to thank me because I was only doing my job.”
In the two months that followed, life went on just fine with Baison and Diana meeting up for sessions at Baison’s and sometimes at Diana’s. They were really becoming close. Curtis on the other hand was trying his best to make friendship with me but I was giving him a cold shoulder. I honestly wanted nothing to do with him on a personal level. I mean, the first cut is the deepest and the guy had been rude to me the first time I’d seen him so what was the need of getting close to him?
I was coming home from work one evening when I found Curtis’s car parked outside my gate, blocking my way. He got out as soon as he saw me.
I got out too. “Mr. Maliti, how many times I’m I going to ask you never to come to my house? What do you want this time around?”
“How many times do you want me to apologize to you, huh Alicia? For crying out loud, the cocktail incident happened three months ago so why can’t you just bury the hatchet and forge ahead? I just wanna be friends with you, Alicia. Nothing more, nothing less.”
I opened my mouth to retort but Curtis scooped me off the ground and carried me over his shoulder.
“Put me down you a—–e!” I squealed, kicking the air. “Where do you think you’re taking me?”
Curtis dumped me in my own car and he sat behind the wheel, revving the engine and driving off.
In a serious tone that sent chills down my spine, he said, “I’m afraid you’re going to have to listen to what I’ve got to say, Alicia. You are fond of using the saying ‘do not judge a book by it’s cover’ when that’s exactly what you do when it comes to me. That ain’t right, Alicia. It ain’t so you’ll shut up, relax if possible and listen to me as I tell my tale.”