Maria placed the bouquet of lilies by the corner of the bridge that she had turned into a little memorial. Opening the small forget-me-not box she added another note to the growing pile of notes tied in little ribbons.
Each year she did the same thing, but each year neither made the pain easier nor took her guilt away. No day passed without her thought racing a thousand times to Lily.
Today is Lily’s birthday. She would have been 24 but she remains forever 16. Today is the 8th year that her daughter had drowned in the cold river.
Leaning on the brown cobbled wall of the old bridge, Maria allowed her salty tears to flow freely like the breeze that fluttered her hair.
She never ceased to wonder why; why she hadn’t noted that her daughter had needed help; why Lily had chosen to jump into the river.
The guilt that she had failed as a mother sat like an unwieldy boulder in her soul.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
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