All things considered, Tom is a really cheerful guy. Sure, Clementine just dumped him for another guy, his mum had just been hospitalized and his brother was drinking even more than usual.
But when you are Tom, you have to be cheerful, otherwise, you might find yourself losing your sanity.
And Tom does not want to lose his sanity, so he smiles when he calls his dying mother, smiles when he bails his brother out of jail for the numerous fights he starts, smiles when his ex-girlfriend posts a pic of her and her new boo.
Tom smiles so much he sometimes thinks if he were to die, he would die smiling.
Death. That’s one thing he thinks about a lot.
What is it like to die? He often wonders.
Don’t be mistaken. Tom is not suicidal, or at least he does not consider himself so. He loves life, cherishes it, marvels in its wonderment, its’ beginning and its end.
That’s not suicidal, is it? To think about the end of life? Or one’s own life?
Tom does not think so, even though he has a book in which he writes all the possible ways he could die. So far, he has written about five possible ways and they go like this :
- Hit by a car while crossing the road.
- Jump off the building when I am drunk or high.
- Poisoned by Clementine.
- Hit by a truck when crossing the road
- Hit by a motorcycle when crossing the road.
At least now he could cancel number 3 out. How foolish for him to think Clementine ever loved him enough to consider poisoning him.
About numbers 1, 4, and 5, Tom could easily explain that away. He hates crossing the road. Completely loathes it. If it was up to him, there would be no crossing of roads in the world. In fact, there would be no cars, no trucks, no motorcycles, basically no automobiles.
If he had to choose, he would prefer to go back in time before all that existed. But, he exists here now, so, he just has to deal with all the possible ways to die while crossing the road.
What about number 2, someone might ask. What about it? There are plenty of normal people who think about jumping off their building when they are drunk or high, aren’t there?
Anyway, Tom keeps this list in his drawer, and whenever he thinks of a new way to die, he quickly adds it on to the list.
He hasn’t been thinking about new ways lately though, and that’s partly because of his dying mother. That’s what he thinks a lot about these days; her death.
Speaking of it, yesterday, he got a call.
It was from the hospital back home where his mother is admitted in. The doctor said she was getting worse, so Tom, less cheerful, called his brother to tell him the news.
His brother was drunk, as expected, and said something along the lines of Mum atakuwa poa tu, acha kuworry then proceeded to borrow 100 shillings from Tom.
“Ya nini?” Tom asked because he felt he had to.
The money was not for supper, Tom knew that. Unless supper was a cup of Keg. But he sent the money anyway because this was his brother, his family.
His mother did not pass yesterday unlike what the doctor suggested. She is still breathing.
Tom however wishes she had passed. Just one less thing to worry about, you know, something less to be cheerful about.
Because that’s who Tom really is. A cheerful guy.