It Happened To Me

The Chair Is Empty


The chair is empty of course. The big chair in the corner, directly opposite the vent of the air conditioning unit. I never sit there. I drop my purse on it on my way through the sitting room, grab it hurriedly back, then slowly let it go again. I will not need the chair and perhaps leaving my purse in it would hide that, for a minute or two…

I survived the drive to church today, entirely on my own. I always had company before today- friends and in- laws, some family members, like shadows at dusk. They were everywhere then, at the endless wakes and the lying- in state ceremony where they handed out little bean and wheat cakes and sang beautiful songs so mournfully they set me off on another round of tears. I wept for the songs, the careless murder of such beautiful words.

I wept for you, lying so still in a wooden box, all dressed in a fancy suit you hated (I never understood why, they always looked so good on you). I wept for the scars beneath the suit, where they tore up your body looking in your belly for more answers during your brief illness. I wept for your pain, at seeing my pain.

I still hate the condolence register with it’s pages of platitudes, and explanations, and words of comfort.

I went mute as stone at the interment, and had to be helped to lift the tea- spoon of sand I sprinkled on your grave. I hid behind the dark shades and watched people cry . I thought only how you would lie alone in the cold, soft loamy earth, that night. And i would lie in your bed, alone, without you.

I went through your tidy desk- that was easy, thank you. I went through your will with the lawyers, that bit was easy too- we had been sharing everything all our lives. But I have been circling the wardrobe for weeks- what will I do with your books? Today, illumination comes- I will do with them what you did with your life- give them out  in ones and twos to the young people you taught to love with a little note in each- on the beauty of life, of pain, of hope…signed in my name.

Writer – K emi Lawani blogs at

Photocredit – Botanica

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