He sits on the corner of his bedroom, sweating as if he’d run a mile or two, yet he’d done nothing for the past two hours but sit on the floor in this dark corner of his room, with his left leg straight forward, and the right knee bent a little to the right. His breathing is not normal. His heartbeat is the same as of somebody who’d run a mile or two. Hence, the sweat.
More sweat finally reaches his eyelids. Using the back of his right hand and wrist, he wipes more sweat from his forehead, and wipes it dry on his gray shorts. He squeezes his left hand a little, where he holds a small plastic bag. He looks at it, then he starts to cry more tears. With the amount of combined sweat and tears surrounding his eyes, it’s hard to tell which is which.
He then raises both his knees and wrapped his arms around them, changing himself to a fetal position. He starts to cry more. “Why did things have to end up like this?” He whispers to himself and starts to sob, which turns into a loud cry shortly after. Same thing for the past two hours, everything on repeat.
A series of mistakes is what brought him to this situation. Failures, rejections, silly mistakes, and more failures, everything just seems to go against him. The harder he tries, the worse things get. “Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something. There’s probably nothing left for me here after I’ve turned my back on every opportunity that came my way.” Regret is the only thing that’s in his heart right now. He always let fear get in the way, and now it’s fear, too, that he’s trying to deal with as he attempts the last and biggest mistake he could ever do.
For another time, he frees himself from fetal position. He leans back against the wall, a bit crouched down, with his head looking up at the ceiling of the dark room. His legs are both stretched forward. He holds that plastic filled with mothballs with his two hands and places on the top of his pants, just over his crotch. He finally opens the plastic bag. The nauseating smell of mothballs spreads in the air but he could care less.
Before he forgets, he pulled the bottled water on his right closer to him, turned the lid open and tossed it across the room. He wants to tell himself that there’s no turning back. His body had become so weak that an 8-ounce bottled water feels like a 10-pound dumbbell in his right hand as he tries to lift it and holds it on top of his stomach, over his shirt that’s already drenched in sweat.
The smell of mothballs had already filled the whole room, but it didn’t bother him at all. After all, it’s not just his nose that is about to have a feel of these chemicals. He thinks just a handful of these tiny white balls would quickly end everything after they run down his throat and into his stomach, or he hopes so, at least.
He unclenches his left hand and opens the plastic bag. Using the same hand, he reaches down the plastic bag and grabs a handful of mothballs. The smell becomes stronger as he pulls out his hand. The white chemicals feel a little sticky in his hand has he draws them close to his face to take a look. His breathing becomes heavier for two reasons — the strong smell of chemicals and him becoming more nervous, thinking about what he’s about to do.
He stops for a second to think, wondering how much he might regret this action once he’s done it. But then on second thought, what else would he regret if he knows that it’s the last big mistake he’s ever gonna make, as well as the last moment he’ll ever breathe this heavy because of his anxiety? He closed his eyes, his breathing getting heavier and faster. He slowly moves his left hand closer to his mouth, uncontrollably shaking and sobbing once again. His mouth seems to refuse to open, but slowly it does.
His mouth finally opens wide enough so he can put the handful of mothballs. This time, it’s his eyes that are shut tight. Just an inch closer now and he’d gotten a lot more nervous that his right hand clenches involuntarily, squeezing the bottle that spilled about a quarter of water in it over his sweat-drenched black shirt. He was just about a second away from forcing the white chemicals into his mouth when…
A notification sound rings his phone. He didn’t care at first. “What else is so important right now?” He thinks to himself. There’s not point in looking what’s on his phone, it wouldn’t matter anyway once he’s done his final mistake. Yet, he slowly opens his tightly shut eyes and looks at the direction of his phone and sees the light emanating from it. The mothballs are still close to his mouth, just waiting to be taken in, but his mouth closes slowly, and his breathing starts to slow down.
“There’s no point looking at it,” he repeatedly thinks to himself, until his curiosity finally got the better of him. “It wouldn’t hurt to look, I guess. Let’s see what’s the last stupid thing I’d see before I go.” His left hand hangs on, still holding the tiny white chemicals. Then he puts down the water bottle from his right hand onto the floor. He crawls slowly to his bedside using only his feet and his right hand, still carefully holding on to his final mistake.
He slides his arm on the bedsheet and reaches for his phone, quickly sliding his finger on the touchscreen to keep it on. It was a push notification from one of his favorite blog sites. He sees the tiny message from the notification — “Black Panther actor, Chadwick Boseman dies…” is all it says. It took him a few seconds to get the words into his head. Perhaps the smell of mothballs started to slow down his brain a little, or he just couldn’t fully grasp what he was reading.
At this point, he’s just confused more than surprised. Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther, dies. “My mind must be playing tricks on me. Must be those mothballs. Guess they work that fast, huh?” He believes that more than what he just read. The light on his phone starts to dim as he was taking a second look at the push notification to get a clarification of what he’s reading.
He quickly taps his phone in a hurry so it won’t turn of, touching the notification which prompted the phone to lead him to the site. He didn’t intend to, but he unlocks it anyway, and his browser takes him to his favorite website, leading to the full article. This time, he knew that is mind wasn’t messing up. He reads the headline several times before reading the whole story.
As a huge MCU fan, he also admired Black Panther so much that he went to see it twice in theaters when it was released. And just like most MCU fans, he didn’t know much about the actor, specifically his battle with colon cancer. It shocked him so much that he dropped the mothballs and held his phone with both hands, and he continued to read.
He was so engrossed in the article that he instantly forgot whatever he was feeling for the past two hours in the corner of his room. He sat back down to the floor as he continues to read the story, and then went to to see more posts about the now trending topic of the day. He reassures himself for the second time that he wasn’t hallucinating from the smell of mothballs.
As he remembered that, he looks at his left hand and takes the bottled water and rinses his hand with it to remove the stickiness and the smell of mothballs. It didn’t bother him a bit that his clothes were soaked in sweat and water. After rinsing his hand, he drank the remaining water from the bottle, tossed it to his side and continued to look at his phone to read more stories about the actor who had just left a lot of people devastated with his passing.
The man who was recently feeling sad for himself, is now feeling a different kind of sadness. He still feels despair, but this time he no longer feels it for himself. After spending the last hour on his phone reading stories about Boseman and his life, he was in shock after finding out that this actor had been battling cancer since 2016, and continued to make movies, including Black Panther while going through all this ordeal.
He’s an MCU fan, but not much of a fan of Chadwick Boseman so he didn’t know about this side of actor’s story. The late actor used to visit cancer-stricken kids in hospitals, while he himself was suffering the same illness. He built his body to take the role of the Black Panther despite being in stage-3 colon cancer. The dedication that this man had put in his career is definitely beyond compare. This actor, despite probably knowing at the back of his head that his final days were not too far away, didn’t let it keep him from doing what he loved. That’s why it left the world in shock, because many people didn’t even know about it, because he never showed it.
After an hour and a half of reading posts and articles, he puts the phone down, and spends the next thirty minutes contemplating. He looks down the floor and sees the scattered mothballs. All of a sudden, he felt clueless. “What the fuck?” This time, he’s questioning both himself and what he just discovered, but his attention has been diverted to the latter. He now thinks about it more than he thinks about what he was going through, about what he was doing for the past two hours before getting that push notification. He feels as if what happened to Chadwick Boseman was more important that him right now. Not only because the guy was an actor, but because his story is definitely more important.
This man, who was just at the verge of committing the final and biggest mistake of his life, had suddenly turned his emotions around. He no longer feels anything for himself. In an instant, he’s no longer worried about the things he was going through. His attention was grabbed by the biggest headline to ever hit the world today. A man who, despite his illness, pushed himself to give his best in his craft. All his movies, especially the ones from 2016 onward, he made them with full dedication even when something inside him was slowly destroying his body and his health.
It was like a kick in the nuts for the suicidal man. He was never diagnosed with any deadly disease, yet he chose to destroy his body and force his life to end, while there was someone out there who was fighting for his life and refused to give up until the final battle. The actor may have lost the battle, but he had won the hearts of many.
The sadness of this suicidal man was quickly replaced with anger. He’s now mad at himself for almost doing the biggest mistake. He clenched his left hand again, but this time there’s nothing in it. He’s just pissed off at himself. He then slaps his own face five times with his right hand. He suddenly starts to notice the nauseating smell of mothballs and, unlike earlier when he was holding them close to his mouth, he finally feels irritated by the smell of it.
Suddenly, he starts to feel cold. He looks at himself and he finally notices his wet shirt and shorts. He looks around his room and starts to notice the darkness, so he stood up to turn the light on. He looks around his room again and things just felt different all of a sudden. He continues to think what he’d been doing in the corner of his room for two hours, he couldn’t even understand why he’s seeing a plastic filled with mothballs, and the others scattered around the floor.
He didn’t die, but he feels like he just came back to life. Finally, he starts to notice his breathing. His fast beating heart had finally slowed down, and he’s breathing normally. He removes his shirt so he wouldn’t feel cold, then he takes a used cloth from the laundry basket and wipes it all over his body, and his face. Finally, he got his attention back to himself. He may have not died, but he knows that the dead man in him had come back to life.
Another notification rings his phone. This time, he quickly checks it like a normal person would. It was from a group chat on Facebook. His friends have also started talking about the same news he just read.
He’s still devastated by it. He’s sad that he will no longer see more of Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and as himself, especially after he just found out about his story — the brave and compassionate person that he was. But at the same time, he’s thankful because he knows that he owes his new life to this hero.
This story is pure fiction and was written as a tribute to Mr. Chadwick Boseman. May you rest in peace.