Sussex, 1890

Unnoticed I slipped in among the mourners. My precautions were unnecessary, for they were far too busy with their grief and with each other to be bothered by my presence. A steady cold rain had been falling since yesterday night, and the men and women now gathered at the graveside were huddled into their overcoats or struggling to keep the rain away with sombre black umbrellas. The funeral was delayed. I wondered what people would think if they knew how eagerly I had awaited this day.

Lurking unseen in the densest part of the crowd, I looked around carefully but unobtrusively, hoping to be confronted by a familiar face. But apart from a few elderly local luminaries – he had been successful and well-respected in life– they were all strangers. Relatives, perhaps, of the unfortunate man’s wife, who had been lying peacefully under the green turf for the last five years. They had placed fresh flowers at her headstone in a gesture which brought a wry smile to my face.

The man’s son stood on the edge of the grave, looking through me out of tearless eyes. I considered speaking to him for a moment before deciding it would be quite unwise.

It was very late when the procession finally reached the graveside. The black-robed priest was unfamiliar to me. It must be a new man. They set the coffin down and the priest began to say the customary prayers.

I pushed through the crowd to the front, my skirts checking my speed.  With a quiet sense of dismay – but not surprise – I realized that they were burying him next to his wife.

I sighed and drifted back to my corner of the graveyard unseen. Even in death, it seems, I was to be sundered from him.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Sussex, 1890

  1. Which pati, patni aur woh story is this a reference to?

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