The Mourner

By Osi Ann Ogechi

She sits by her window everyday, forlorn and pitiable. Her lover is gone and she is left alone and purposeless. Her cries, though long gone, have scarred her face into a permanent frown. She is a big, burly sack of sorrow cast aside in a heap of misery, pining for a lover who is buried deep under the earth.

It is Easter. The children are dressed in colourful garbs and dancing to tambourines right outside her window. The church bells are ringing, there is noise and fanfare, Christ has risen. This used to be a pleasurable activity for her. She loved throwing down coins and sweets as the kids played happily. She used to dance and laugh and feel at ease. But these days all she felt was a sharp stabbing of pain at her heart. And on this day, she was angry at it.

Her lover used to say that a life lived without pleasures was like a party where none of the guests arrived. He wanted her to always admire the beauty around her and forget the ills, for noticing ills kills youth quick. He would not be happy if he knew she was sitting by her window at Easter.

And so she was angry at all the beauty abound that she couldn’t see. She wanted to dance and make merry, but not without him. His absence was like a bolted door, outside of which lay happiness and gaiety. She didn’t want to unlock the bolt, it meant ignoring his absence, it meant leaving him behind. How could she laugh in this world where he was no more?

I wish she knew that only a fool lived by the graveside when there were gardens and groves abound. I wish she realized that a person did not have to die in order to mourn. Perhaps then she’d climb out of that window and realize that the world remained unchanged, full of beauty and ugliness and things to do. And in keeping busy, she’d find that a dead lover is never forgotten, his memories would always linger. Perhaps her anger is her first step towards healing.

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