The words I have just heard felt like bullets being shot in my left ear, through my brain and into the right one. The words were so harsh that pain could be felt starting in the centre of my chest, spreading through my ribcage and finishing in the head. I walked faster.
It was raining heavily and the endings of my trousers were soaked in dirty rainwater. Petrichor filled the air and with it, my nostrils. The words echoed in my mind: “I’m sorry ma’am, but your husband is dead,” the letters raced around my mind like tiny dragonflies.
Soon, the road beneath my shoes started to fade and earth appeared. I was walking through mud as trees started to almost grow out of the ground on either side of me. I was in the forest. It was not a beautiful forest. Not even halfway decent. Some of the trees were on the forest floor and everything looked filthy. Dry, but wet from the rain, branches were scattered around. I sat down on a log. It was wet, too.
Tears poured down my face. A shower of sadness and devastation. “I’m sorry ma’am,” I started crying harder and harder, until tears were no longer produced by my eyes, but my body was still weeping. “Your husband is dead,” my vision was blurry. Crying is much like vomiting: at first, there is a lot of matter ejected from your body, but even when the fluids stop flowing, your body still continues to think that there is more. Crying is the effect of an abundance of emotions, but real sorrow begins when you think that the world is going to collapse, when you stop caring, whether you will be safe in the woods, alone. It deepens with every minute and hardens with every second.
After the deep sorrow fades, it is replaced by anger. Strong anger. Towards the person that made you sad, but you feel an even stronger anger towards yourself. How could you have let this happen? “I’m sure there was something I could do,” I thought to myself. In reality, there wasn’t.
The stage of resentment comes next. It feels like the tears turned into scabs and the emotion levels decreased. In this scenario, you start to feel bad for yourself and feel as if a higher power has treated you unfairly. It fades quickly, and regret takes its place.
You start to regret that you were born and that you now, have to get through this and somehow cope with all of it. In reality, you don’t have to.
I stood up and walked towards a tree opposite of the log, that I was previously sitting on. I turned around, so now, my back was pinned against damp bark. With shaky hands, I slowly put my left hand on my nose and closed it. The other hand I held against my mouth.
The petrichor could no longer be smelled,
But at least it won’t hurt so badly.