A Widow's Tale

In my dreams, I replay the moment I was called to identify your body. We met –me peering in disbelief, you I imagined, staring motionlessly at me behind heavy lids- like tourists in a strange land. I studied the expression on your face as one would a foreign map: lost, trying not to look desperate yet feeling mostly defeated in an attempt to reach the intended destination.

In my dreams the gap between my reality and yours is bridged by an active force which would have us reinstate a home, seek out unity and echo it through the hollow fields of what now rests in nomad state. This force, strong in optimism reaches out to us with outstretched hands. It gathers us from opposing sides, asking that we seek not the truth that we shall not find, nor hunt for answers to questions that settle no dispute, but to instead make good the promise we started when we embarked on this. I once woke up to words on my lips, asking why, if death did us part am I to carry on through a mission I did not know I signed up for?

At times, I find myself hoping for a voice I did not know I lost. I feel myself yearning for a confidence I did not think I was without. My very stance is like that of a lady-in-waiting, waiting. And you, the Father Abraham of out time, have left me without a forwarding address or manual on how to raise your children.

I remember the day the news first broke out. How on the television, they showed riots in the streets. The once silent mobs raising their ever ready arms. They gaud and awaken the other with war cries. Arising their compatriots to defend something: a name? an idea? Honour? No, not Honour, at least, not yours. Not theirs either, unless the price for one’s honour can be as cheaply bought as a few slices of bread.

They are closing all the schools down now for fear of more violence. The ever hungry towns people find an opportune moment to raid stores. The prophets use your name to create more evil. With each report, I feel even more sullied to bear your name.

With mothers, I mourn you. I mourn too their missing children and the others that died for the cause. Your cause. I shudder at the thought that this too will be forgotten for the people of your nation are a fickle one.

At dusk, I watch the dust settle around the neighbourhood as the driver takes us round a detour so that I may see the destruction your passing has left behind. Dressed in a guise, I step out from the comfort of the bullet proof car and stem out for what became a ritual walk through the community, side by side a strange woman, walking in the streets, our shadows become one. I feel the weight of her burden as her feet touch the ground, never leaving a mark once raised.
I move through starry eyed flock who mindlessly persevere through their daily toil. Never questioning, just hoping and yearning in silent suffering.

Trust, I hear is like that, from the hope of a blind man crossing the street to the knees of a first time mother pushing her future into seasoned hands. Even the local drunks have been known to rise through the limbo of restlessness and attempt to push through bounds like haggard patriots fighting through the times – in the hope that the tears that fall through the night will give rise to joy in the morning.

Part envious that your romance with your people -like the whirlwind that was our turbulent relationship- leaves more visible cracks than society would allow me show. How the families openly mourn you, people throwing themselves hysterically to the floor, snot nosed babies crying with their mothers in confusion, tyres burning up an effigy for hero worship, children with painted faces barely old enough to know what they bear alms for look across the street with solemn faces. Self made warriors. Behind them stand their fathers who almost remember tales of better days. Tales which press more like a cruel old wives tale than any reality we may ever know.

With death comes the arduous task of opening up cupboard long forgotten, airing skeletons which can scarcely be contained without baby kittens that also inhabit the space leaping free, bound toward the light and twine of rumour which they so eagerly play with. Between revelations of new mistresses found and illegitimate children in tow, between fights with ex-wives and less than discreet thieving advisors, I mourn you.

In the weeks that pass by, accusations chase hot on heels of the wagon that is to dethrone you from the peoples pedestal. Money laundering, talk of profiteering from human aid, the people begin to question the hard graft you portrayed. I dare not look successful in my waking moments lest new sanctions are added to my house arrest. Within weeks of your laying to rest, I am called in for more questioning. I know not how the other wives profited from bearing your name but everything I gained during the time preceding and even during our union, I received from the toil of my own hands.

The media madness rolls forward at steady pace. They point and poke and leer. Your children feel the brunt of their words. Their friends tease, their country people hate, they sit at cross roads between the disappointment of being a citizen of your nation and sheer ridicule of being your sibling. Your children suffer as the nation tries to heal.

It is hard to remind them of love and sacrifice when the words you preached then fall deaf on the ears of followers who once adored you enough to rest the fate of their future on your feet. The betrayal they feel compare to nothing you ever could have tried to teach. Silently, the sycophants of the lot gather their possessions and look to the earth beyond their heels as they slap their feet towards a new idol. How powerfully you have fallen from grace.

It is now 3.47 am on a Friday. I would say I was battling sleep if it had come at all and I had punched it away. Several flicks through TV shows later and I resolve to shut my eyes to the world. The house around me is filthy with political dirt but rests now, lulled to sleep by what comfort one can draw from London air. It is almost quiet. A car zooms by every once and again. My mind drifts to words I pray I wont forget in waking. Morning comes and I remember not what I should. I instead worry over the split hairs in the wash bowl, the hair on the floor in the bathroom, the hair on my bed sheets. I’m all splits and breaks and no regain.

For now, I mostly sit and wait for the angel I should have listened to. I rejoice with the best of them and grieve with the lost of them. Since you departed, you, the ever adventurous Kiwi at heart, have left me motionless on a crowded yet lonely widows path. Me, the never-left-my-village-for-fear-of-beasts-that-travel-near-the-gods, am now to fend for myself in a distant land. As with the dreams, memories of my time with your country people come and go now though I am presumably not as immediately affected by the whims of each, the sentiment still lingers on with a tapered bitter taste. So, this is my resting place and I leave the actions that proceeded my relocation to act as measuring points for the distance between hope and peace time continuum.