The sound the soil makes as it falls on the coffin makes my skin crawl. The thought that within minutes they will fill the hole and the coffin will disappear into the ground forever fills me with dread.
The singing and the pastor’s voice brings me back from my wandering thoughts. It’s over; the small hill of sand stands pronounced in front of me. A tear falls from my eyes. It’s my first time crying since it happened. I can still hear his voice. I stop. This is not the time or place to think about this.
It makes me uncomfortable sitting here, wearing black with my big hat and crying fake tears for my dead husband. Even seeing his lifeless body last night seemed unreal. I wish I could forget how he looked. It was as if the life had been sucked right out of him, literally. I couldn’t look for longer than a minute.
I know it was a peaceful transition. I know he fell asleep and floated away as life simply walked out of his being. I can’t stand the thought that he may have suffered or struggled to breathe in the end. Had there been a fight between life and death? Had there been a competition of who could reign over him? Death or life?
What was it like to die?
I often wondered, sometimes the strong desire to find out seemed to overtake me. What is it like to not wake up? To not do the things you had planned to do the following day or week or month?
I remember that day as if it was yesterday. Malusi had come into the house and asked for me to sit down. What was so important that it couldn’t wait?
“Nandi. I am leaving,” he had said, looking down.
“I want a divorce. I have met someone else,”
He stood up, not caring to explain further or wipe my tears away. So, I did what any woman would; I gave him a proper eternal getaway. He wanted to leave me, right? A day later I made his last cup of coffee before he went to sleep in the spare room. He mumbled something about wanting an early night.
“I came in to say goodnight, rest peacefully my love,” I said and closed the door behind me. The poison wasn’t going to take long to kick in. I counted the hours.
Now I walk slowly back to the car with his family behind me. I had made sure his heart stopped beating for another woman just like it had stopped beating for me. My job here is done. Everyone just thought his heart gave up on him in the middle of the night and just like that, he died. I turn around to look at him for the last time and lock the room inside of me that holds the truth as I get into the car.
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