As a young man, he had wanted to fly. He was the youngest of five children, two brothers and two sisters before him. Because he was always neglected, he wanted to show them. He wanted to prove to them that he was the best. It was easy to do that. He was arguably the most intelligent of the lot; his head was always buried in books while his eldest brother played the leader and the second brother simply became the follower.
His hard work paid off when he managed to get himself into flying school. But on the last day of his flying exam, his examiner failed him for one careless mistake. He asked for leniency. Once. Upon that rejection he fell into an abyss of depression. Refusing to start over, obstinate, angry, crushed, ashamed, and not wanting to settle for anything less, he job-hopped, waiting aimlessly for his courage to overcome him again.
It never did.
He became a private tutor, aiding students to distinctions, I heard. Because he had a family—two handsome boys and a reticent wife, whom he forced to stay at home—he went into debt. Years after years went by before he finally sought financial help from his eldest brother and psychiatric help from a family friend, albeit very reluctantly. They got by. A few months after that, one bright Sunday morning, he woke up as usual and went downstairs to buy breakfast for the family. But instead of heading towards the market, he took the lift in the apartment block opposite his to the highest level. It was the 15th floor, I believe.
He was my grandmother’s favourite nephew. To her, he had died of a heart attack.
To me, he had died a selfish man.
I pondered over the point of his suicide: as he took the first and last flight of his life, as his life and family flashed past his eyes on his way down to concrete, what exactly was he thinking? Was it about how devastated his loved ones would be? Was it about how his wife, helpless while he was alive, would survive stoically when he was dead? Was it about how his two sons, both barely 18 years of age, would come out of this situation unharmed?
No. It was all about him, wasn’t it?