Every day at 1 o’clock sharp, she closes down her computer, pushes away from her desk, gets up from her
seat, walks out of her office, takes the elevator down to the ground floor, trudges out of the building, and crosses the street to the building where her sorrows lie.
She approaches the manicured lawn in front of the main building. Today, her favorite seat is taken—the metal seat that heats up in the noon day sun and burns her cheeks, reminding her that she’s still breathing. She opts to sit on a wooden bench facing the tall jacaranda trees that line the borders of the lawn.
And then she takes in her surroundings.
Several women are lying on the grass. She can’t make out any of their features, but one woman stands out. The woman is dressed in a green tailored suit, with a white kitamba wrapped around her head. She’s laid her head on a brown kiondo, the kind that are sold on your way to Nakuru. From the way her back is arched, you can tell that she’s weary. Perhaps she’s waiting to see a sick relative, perhaps she’s just said good bye to her love, and can’t summon the strength to get back up.
Then a gangly warrior in a purple shirt and grey trousers walks into the lawn. He strides towards one of the jacaranda trees, and begins praying. He crosses his arms, closes his eyes, mutters quietly, and reaches to the ground, his mechanical movements reminiscent of a man in a deep search for his Maker. He gets up, mutters a few words, and repeats his movements. Perhaps he’s praying for his ailing friend, drawing on supernatural powers to deliver healing; perhaps he’s just fulfilling his religious duties, and can’t wait to get back to his friend’s side.
But she soon stops looking at all the people. She’s observed enough. Even the model, who crosses the lawn in her red micro mini and killer heels, can’t avert her gaze. She arches her eyes to the place where her sorrows lie. She imagines how it must have been, the pain, the madness, the uncertainty.
She relives that time that she never lived. She can hear the cries, and the voices that call to the departed. She feels the knife that sears the heart, the blood that drips uncontrollably, and the adrenalin that rushes through the body to sustain the vital organs. But she can’t take the pain. Her heart rate increases, and she’s back to the time when she first heard that...
“He’s gone…and he’s not coming back.”
A tear drops down her face. Then two. Then rivulets. And soon, she sobs, she weeps, she can’t control the overwhelming pain. The immense sadness envelops her, and all the people on the lawn disappear from her view. She calls into the vast unknown, holding her breath, longing for a reply from the one who left first. But she feels nothing, hears nothing, except the wind that blows into her face, and the sun that cracks her skin and dries her tears. Then she looks at her watch. It’s almost 2 o’clock, and she needs to get back to work. She wipes away the remaining tears, for now. She gets up, walks off, crosses the street, gets into the building, takes the elevator back to her office, walks to her desk, and sits down. She’s back to her life.
But she’s hurting. She’s still hurting.