Just a normal day for many, but not for me.
Wisps, wisps, whispers of mist crawled on the ground.
Above, trees bare to the bone looked the same as the bodies below.
The first day, they came in their hordes, all dressed in black, with pallid white faces and red-rimmed eyes.
They cried, not for her, but for themselves.
Guilt over things that could have been said.
Misery about not seeing her again.
Sorrow for a life not long lived.
“Rest,” they said.
“In peace,” they said.
When they left, their footprints turned the soggy ground around the grave to pulp, but these lingered only for a while.
“She was always so afraid of the dark,” they said.
“We’ll leave a lantern for her,” they said.
Then they came in smaller groups, and held on to each other as they wept.
They did not stay long.
Things to do.
Places to go.
When strangers wandered past, they read the epitaph, again and again.
Counting on their fingers the years she had lived.
“Not long,” they said.
“So sad,” they said.
The sun shone and green leaves sprouted.
The wind blew and leaves turned to brown.
Snow covered the ground until only the lantern atop the gravestone was visible.
When the snow melted, water seeped through the wood of her coffin.
Then there was only one who still came to visit.
At first, he was tall and proud.
Then slowly, he started stooping, as if gravity had a pull on his forehead.
Lines edged their way across his face, every year a little more.
Until he stopped coming as well.
It was quiet then.
“Never forgotten,” they said.
© Lynette Ferreira