The Parting of Ways

I stood there, beside the grave, watching the milky white stains in the sky travel gently across the blue, the words turning and twisting in my head, and my hand growing heavier with each uneasy breath. The trees dotted throughout the cemetery stood motionless, as if they were paying their respects for the dead. I could hear the faint sound of solemn, yet enduring singing echoing weakly over the quietness draped across the land. I could see in the distance a small group of people clad in black, the mournful melody trailing from their mouths, and then stopping abruptly. I watched as their teary faces found comfort in others, their bodies constantly surrounded by the simplicity of humanity, their somber dispositions welcoming the sincerity of their families, friends, companions, acquaintances. At my shoulder, closure lingered with an air of annoyance.

I knew this was his grave. I had been there only once, a long time ago, and yet, it is in our nature to remember places of pain. The memory of my singular visit was a haze, consisting of a deep depression and emptiness. Longing clutched my throat as I moved from standing beside the headstone to facing it. The air grew thicker as I was confronted with a piece of my past I had, for ten years, battled with. The fatigue of war overwhelmed me and I fell to my knees. Through the tears, I could see vaguely that the inscription had begun to age. Moss was creeping up from the base and threatened to disguise the engraving I had avoided for so long. The soft grass beneath me was a verdant green, and was tenderly adorned with intricate flowers. It slightly cheered my despondent resolve to know he was decorated with such beauty so long after his death. In the corner of my eyes, I could sense closure dancing happily and determination crept back in.

Yet, I was still broken. What I had planned to say lay in a twisted knot in my stomach. The words I had been preparing for weeks could not leave my lips. My hand, a burden I could not bear. I could only cry. I sat there, my knees leaving imprints in the earth, staring, with salty tears dripping delicately down my cheeks, at his name. Every word, every deliberate pause, the expressions and emotions I had practiced and planned had drifted away like the clouds in the sky. I was alone, bare and stripped of my speech, left with only the memory of a marriage; beautiful and raw and cut short like the song that had whispered throughout the cemetery. And closure still boasted a serenity I had not encountered in an age.

As I wept, I fiddled with the two rings that sat on my hand. One called luck, surprising but exciting, the other, happiness, simple and subtle. Though the weight of the rings were intangible, I could feel it and it was a load only closure could relieve me of. I had once worn similar ornaments such as these ten years ago, given to me by the man whose body lay in the ground below. But fate had granted me joy once again, and I had come to visit my first love as I began a new life with my second.

Eventually, the flow of tears stemmed, and I could see with sure eyes that closure was waiting patiently behind the headstone. My time had come. A sense of finality washed over me as I explained to the attentive grave how the two rings on my finger had replaced the two rings he had once given me. It did not take long. Clarity replaced the words for the first time in weeks and I saw closure disappear towards the group who were again singing the sorrowful tune.

Slowly I got up and walked leisurely towards the gates of the cemetery. The trees waved goodbye, the same breeze painting blue over the taints in sky and the soft melody ringing in my ears. My husband, noticing my arrival, smiled warmly, and opened his arms wide, ready to welcome me back into the world. As we embraced, my body greeted true happiness like an old friend, and I knew, that I had parted ways with closure.


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