He got there. He could still remember the house. Chairs were put outside for men to sit by the tent.
He rushed inside.
Everyone stared at him.
And how could they not stare at him. He was a mess. A confused, excruciated, distraught mess.
He hurriedly got in, looking for her sister. And, after wandering for a moment, he spotted her sitting somewhere, alone, dumbstruck, looking into the void, her baby in her arms, but it was as though she couldn’t afford to carry him. She looked up at him; she was awaiting his coming. They locked eyes, and his were swollen; he was almost unrecognizable. But then, everyone was.
He rose his hand, as though leaning on a wall. Then he looked around, then back at her. He was crying now. “Where is–where is she”. It was a muffled whisper; he was sobbing, but she wondered whether he really wanted to see her–whether he could see her.
“Please… just… ” His eyes were pleading. And he spoke in bits. But, somehow, he was frantic; he looked frail–so, so frail.
“I want to see her,” he finally affirmed.
She slowly got up, tears running down her cheeks. And she led the way. Stumbling up, they got to the room. She opened the door, let him in and left. He was bent, and he sought support in the door handle for a moment, then entered.
Her body lay right there, on a mattress, put in the middle of the room. The room was empty; everything echoed.
Her skin was pale, so pale she looked ember. She was covered in white. Her eyes were shut, and they tied her chin with a cloth to keep her mouth closed.
He looked up, and the view of her struck him. He clumsily advanced the body and knelt down.
He cried and cried till he could no longer breathe. He kept looking at her, and, then, squeezing his eyes shut, bit his fist to deaden his loud, uncontainable sobs; they rang like knives through his heart.
He reached out but could not touch her, as if she were carrying an ailment. His hands kept wavering above her face.
“Why,” he said, gasping for air.
I smiled as my pillows dampened underneath my cheek. I put down the phone beside me and turned around. I closed my eyes, staring at my own darkness to sleep.
“It would have been too late,” I whispered to it.
Photo Cred: Wally