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Victri had moved from Nigeria to Canada before her eighteenth birthday, the first time leaving her parents. To pay her rent, she passionately babysits TITi, every other week.
The months flew as the summer dust scurried from May to August. June 23rd was Victri’s birthday. That year it was also the date she had her first concussion. The celebration constituted doctors and nurses perspiring in relief when Victri finally opened her eyes. This was the beginning of depression fueled by after-effects of the concussion. There is a saying that 'depressed patients are always in denial.' And this patient was no exception.
Every other week at 7:30 AM, TITi and Victri waited for the school bus together, practicing some dance moves.
“In the future, I will be a superstar,” TITi would say.
4 PM, the school bus returned. TITi and Victri would go to the studio room and create new music, in hopes of publishing them some day.
Dinner time, TITi usually spent coaching Victri to adjust to Canadian poutine. At bedtime, 9 PM, Victri read TITi stories. The routine was simple: Change into a nightie. Put off the light. Put on the magic torch under the blanket. Then, pretend there is a group of girls listening with you.
TITi’s favorite story was Joseph, from the Bible. The relaxing part was right before bed. Long back rubs, lullabies and peace.
At 3 AM, Victri would wake to study all night. And to cry and cry and cry. Victri was not a description of "society’s perfect depressed suspect" at least, not by sight. In fact, she was a bewildering contrast.
She laughed in her pain, sang in her sorrows, entertained people by dancing in long camouflage dresses to hide cutting marks. Instead of getting drunk, she ran into playgrounds blending with toddlers in a frustrated effort to curb the mental demons.
In school, she ran for the presidency of the biggest school union, giving the best speeches and flocked with previous presidents. The doctors seemed pleased.
Visually, she was soaring the clouds. Psychologically, she drowned deeper than the oceans. Effortlessly mastering the art of expressing her sadness in a language glazed in ‘John Cena coated acting’ and drenched with the fakeness of reality shows.
October 4th—Victri's mothers’ birthday. She lay on her room floor. TITi was asleep on the bed. Piled on top of Victri were loads of clothes. In her hand was a bottle of butane. “Would my mother miss me?” “Would she simply miss the degree I never achieved?” “Okay—like anesthesia, just count backward from 10”. She quickly picked a handful of shirts to drain the bottle into before suffocating herself into them.
Ten, nine, eight...
"But TITi", she breathed, "well TITi just has to be a superstar and she will be fine. It’s 3am anyway too late to think of TITi."
"I never had a boyfriend." The familiar surge of low-self-esteem thoughts drained her.
"We gonna end all of this in…"
Seven, six, five.
“Victory relax.” She opened the bottle and turned it all into the pile of shirts.
"I wonder if My lab instructor will notice the missing bottle and come for me," she giggled wickedly in between her tears. “Too late. I’ll be long gone.”
Four, three, two.
"I want to know the time I left the world. 3:14 AM. Happy birthday, Mummy."
"Victory sniff. Bye."
TITi snoring softly.
First sniff. “Wait, I promised TITi I’ll go biking with her tomorrow. I can’t disappoint her. She loves me unconditionally. I guess this will wait... after tomorrow."