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In the Shade

Updated: Jul 9

Water slides down my face, soaking the ground my hands have overturned. For a moment, I am unable to tell which drops are sweat and which are tears.

I will stop planting when I stop hurting.

But I do not stop hurting. Not in the least. On the contrary – the more time passes, the more types of hurt I encounter, as if the wind inside me carries the seeds of suffering until they take root and grow into trees, the boughs of which stoop with overripe wails.

Each day is the same. When I poke the ground with my finger, I think about his smile lines; when I scoop the hole with circular motions, I think about the peals of his laughter; when I drop the seed and tuck it under the earth duvet, I think about his kisses. Rarely will I raise my eyes to the charred clearing, but when I do, I also think about the four other firefighters who died that day.

Although the fire that shocked the entire country burned down five months ago, the fire site still reeks of the end of the world. Officially, the tragedy was caused by a lightning bolt out of the blue, announcing a summer storm that, in the end, quietly rolled away to a nearby town. Off the record, a gang of kids tried their first joints, tripped hard, and threw them away while trying to find a speck of clarity. Allegedly, the joint stubs kindled the dry grass faster than verses in the mind of a poet in love. Allegedly, the ringleader of the gang is a child of the Forest Federation chairman. Allegedly…

My husband’s coffin was lowered into the pit carefully, as if anything could grow from the attentiveness of that maneuver except vast fields of disconsolate grief. Still, by the time the funeral ended, something had stuck out its not fully formed head and occupied me fully.

I will stop planting when I stop hurting.

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