It’s just a few minutes past midnight, dead quiet in the house. Sbongile’s sister has taken the kids to spend the weekend with her at her house in Pinetown. Sbongile has locked the kids’ bedroom and locked herself in the master bedroom. She hasn’t said a word to Bhekani and is crying her eyes out on the bed.

Bhekani is sitting on the kitchen floor in the dark. He has a dead stare as thoughts run amok in his mind. He feels like a failure as a man. He feels useless.

His mind is overcome by a thought he has never had before: he just wants to end it all. He sees death as the only solution to his problems.

He opens the cabinet where Sbongile keeps disinfectants and soaps and rat poison. He finds the rat poison and grinds it into a powder. He pours the powder into a cup and adds water. He stirs the mixture, his thoughts running wild.

He thinks of his children who will grow up without a father. He thinks of Sbongile who will have to live her life as a widow. He thinks of his mother and the rest of his family who will live a life of poverty after he has commited suicide. He stops stirring the rat poison mixture.

But then the overwhelming grief he feels every time he gets his salary overtakes everything else in his mind.

“I hate you, money. You have stolen all joy from my life. You have stolen my freedom. You have turned my family into vultures who dig my soul for money,” Bhekani whispers.

He drinks the rat poison mixture in quick gulps. Thirty minutes later he is bleeding from the mouth and convulsing on the kitchen floor. The doors of the kitchen cabinet by his kicking feet bang loudly.

Sbongile hears the banging sounds coming from the kitchen and comes to check what is going on. She finds Bhekani convulsing on the kitchen floor. She switches on the light.

“Bhekani!” Sbongile kneels next to him. She holds him, trying to steady his convulsing body. “Bhekani wake up! Bhekani please don’t do this! Don’t leave me, I still need you! Our children still need you!”

Her heart nearly stops when Bhekani stops convulsing. “No! No!”

She checks for a pulse. She runs out screaming for help when she finds that Bhekani still has a pulse. Neighbours have heard Sbongile screaming, and they come out to help. They carry Bhekani to the car. One of them, Nathi, drives the car to the hospital in Mariannhill.

“I forgive you my love! Just please live so we can fix our marriage! Live for me and the kids and your mom! We’d all be lost without you!” Sbongile screams as Nathi speeds to the hospital.

Sbongile waits in the reception while doctors attend to Bhekani. His mom and sister soon arrive at the hospital. Their eyes are red with tears and worry.

“How is Bhekani?” his mom asks.

“I’m still waiting for the doctor to give me an update,” says Sbongile.

“My dear boy!” she wails.

“Calm down, Ma. Everything will be alright. Bhekani is strong. He will get through this,” says Bhekani’s sister, Khethiwe.

Tell us: What do you think of Bhekani attempting suicide?