How can you know you are happy if you don’t know misery of others? All things exist as comparisons.
A man finds himself a funeral. His wife isn’t with him, and, despite the impossibility of the situation, he feels a sharp stab of guilt as he imagines her weeping unceasingly into the folds of the beige bed sheets. Weeping in spite of the medication, in spite of the endless consolation of friends and family. The weeping frightens him, not because he hasn’t wept himself, but because he senses it ripping aside the veiled entrance of a threshold never meant to bear crossing. Her tears solidify in the stale wind from beyond; her sobs shatter helpless and silent before the whims of the moaning gale against the hollow of an unending shaft. No, there was no choice; one of them had to attend. It would’ve been unforgivable to decline. Yet something worse is happening inside his wife, something also unforgivable.
Someone squeezes his shoulder. He doesn’t look up. The sounds they utter are without meaning, the disembodied babbles and coos of animals. Somewhere in the crowd, a woman breaks into sobs. Hers are fresh; he can tell by their vigor. They are far from the black silk of the veil. Veil. Pale. Sail. Would he have wanted to sail, perhaps? It had never been brought up. Surely, he would’ve. He was ever the little outdoorsman.
The man glimpses the small coffin by accident. He turns away. It is too much, really. Too much for them both. Perhaps, on the outside, he is handling it better than her, but this is merely appearance. He tastes it too, the endlessness beyond, an expanse of listless eternities. “Grief is a process,” one of her more presumptuous friends had said. “Since it is a process, it does end.” Perhaps. Maybe it even ends for most. But somewhere along the way, he knows, a pit is hidden from which there is no emergence.
By C. M. Bartolomeo
© 2018 Silent Motorist Media