Little white pill(s)



Jenny held the pill in her hand. It seemed so small. She wasn’t sure whether she should take it but her friends advised her that it worked. She wasn’t that type of girl but then again she had changed so much in the last year she didn’t know who she was anymore. It wouldn’t hurt after all it would only be this one time. It was too risky to take these tablets. So only this once. She took the pill and downed it with water. Then she went back to studying.

3 years later.

It was time for graduation. She was so tired. She hadn’t slept much the last 3 weeks. She had been trying to get her project completed and marked before the deadline so that her name would be on the graduation list. She was done. It was going to be great. Her parents were so proud. They had promised her a car if she graduated top of her year and she had.  Everybody said they don’t know how she did it. She would party a lot but she would make up for it. She always had so much energy.

Her parents had bought her a car. It was a bright red Vitz. It was small but it would get her around for her job which was starting on Monday. She was so excited. She was finally going to live the kind of life she wanted. It was all going according to plan.

Nobody knew her dirty little secret. Ok only her friends knew but they were in it as deep as she was. After all she wasn’t harming anybody. Her dirty little secret had started as one small pill but it worked so well that she had taken another. It made her so alert and she was able to accomplish so much. It made it easy for her to party then go to class the next day. Her dirty little secret was harmless. It wasn’t like she was addicted or anything, she just used them to stay alert and to be able to do a lot.

Jenny looked for her water bottle in her bag. She took out the plastic medical bottle as well. She opened it and tapped one pill into her hand. No, no, one won’t do. She needed more to get through this day. She was really exhausted and she needed to stay awake, not to miss any moment. She took 5 pills. She had progressively been taking more pills but she usually stopped at three at one time. It’s only today after all. Then I can sleep for the next three days after the graduation.

She went downstairs and got into the car. She drove to her university and changed into her gown. She looked so beautiful. It was a hot day, but the sky was so blue and bright. She went and hugged her parents then went to her seat at the graduation square. She was so excited when her name was called under the school of medicine and she stood up. She was finally a doctor, a psychiatrist.

After the family gathered to take pictures before they left the university. Jenny was feeling abit unwell, feeling abit dizzy. She didn’t let it worry her. She chalked it up to the fact that she hadn’t eaten this morning. She had been partying last night with her friends and she still had abit of a hangover so the thought of eating had not appealed to her. Now as her family and friends congratulated her and covered her with the glittering decorations that usually accompany graduations she was very happy.

She was smiling, grinning actually when she felt the pain. She felt a sharp pain in her brain and the next minute she was falling. Just before she fell unconscious she realized what had happened. She screamed as if she could stop what would happen but it didn’t.  She fell down, her graduation gown soiled by the red clay soil, her hand outstretched with her graduation pamphlet in it.

One week later they buried her. It was such a solemn occasion not like a week earlier when the very same people had gathered together to celebrate her becoming a doctor. It was still hard to understand her death. People whispered about what could have caused her to have a brain aneurism. She was so young only 27 when she graduated. The doctor said a blood vessel had bust and leaked. She was dead in a matter of minutes.

Only her parents and close friends knew the truth. The doctor said that Jenny was exhausted from not getting enough sleep. The drug, an upper she had been taking had caused a blood clot in her brain because of extensive misuse. It happened sometimes he explained. Not everybody reacted to drugs in the same way. That little harmless pill was her downfall. All that she had done was so that she could stay awake and alert so that she could have it all. She wanted to have fun and study. But her savior turned out to be her downfall. She got what she wanted, and dreamed about.  Her university degree.

It was such a hollow victory. Her dream caused her to sacrifice everything to get what she wanted. She started taking the pill to stay awake but soon she couldn’t stop taking the drug. It made her perform better because she could sleep for fewer hours. She knew the side effects and the risks. At first it mattered, but later it was too late. She was addicted.

The little pill killed her. It was an upper, something harmless so they said. It was “harmless” but it killed her.

Little harmless pill I love you,
You make things ok,
You give me that high,
So that I can do anything I want.
Who needs sleep when I got you?
I can do anything for that little pill,
Red, green, yellow, blue,
All of the colors of the rainbow,
Happiness I named you.
We danced a merry dance,
And it was beautiful,
But you led me to death’s door,
And ushered me in,
I, a fool did not suspect,
That you would be so cruel.
So it goes the little pill,
Triumphs in the end,
And now I remain,
Forever cold in the grave.

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]