“Are you ready Lata?”
The Indian widow hunched over and nuzzled her husband’s body. How she longed for his warmth, to feel a pulse behind that thick dark beard. It had been a difficult night of mourning and Lata was weary. Poor Nanda was lost at such a young age. He had amazed her with his resilience, but the downslide was inevitable. Nanda’s strength depleted and he became ever frail with malaria’s growing hunger. Out of respect, the bald attendant avoided eye contact until Lata modified her veil. He commenced soaking Nanda’s corpse with caustic fluids. Lata bravely stared into the pyre. The flames filled her eyes with a bright brazen aura. Sati was a sacred ritual in India for an obedient widow to sacrifice herself into the flames alongside the body of her late husband. Many widows fought or fled; to Lata this was an honorable display of love’s tightest bonds.
“I am ready,” she spoke with deep conviction.
The last shards of her essence were forever united with Nanda, given to her love.