• Nicci Coertze

The Great Sadness (TGS)

The problem with "The Great Sadness" (TGS*) is that it unravels all the other sadnesses in your life. So when you cry it is not just about one sadness. You cry for everything you are desperately sad about. Those things that you bury so deep inside yourself that the only thing that can cause these sadnesses to surface is the sudden, uninvited presence of TGS.

It hits you from nowhere. One moment you are talking about rates and taxes, the economy and your ridiculously expensive dentist with your friends - the next moment your throat closes up and you can hardly speak. You catch your breath and try to smile but you don't have any control over the sudden lump in your throat and the tears threatening to jump to your eyes. You give a half-smile, avoid eye contact and quickly excuse yourself, almost running to the bathroom.


You lock the door with a sigh of relief and lean against the cool bathroom wall and then slowly sink to the ground. You say to The Great Sadness: "We don't have a lot of time, make it quick." TGS grabs hold of the opportunity and rips through your body like a hurricane. And you sit on the cold bathroom floor, slowly rocking yourself, fighting the urge to break out in loud, ugly sobs. And the tears flow from your eyes without control and you cry silently but uncontrollably.


For a little while you surrender and give TGS free reign - allowing its quiet, violent sobs to rack through your body. After a while you realize that time's up and you have to go before someone comes looking for you and catches you and TGS together. So you get up, flush a toilet you didn't use, splash cold water on your swollen eyes - trying to wipe the black "waterproof" mascara mingled with salty tears from your cheeks whilst you practice to smile. You purposefully shrug off The Great Sadness who reluctantly steps aside and you leave the bathroom with a fake, yet foolproof smile on your face.


As you walk back to face a world that mistakenly thinks you're ok, you can still feel the lump in your throat - an unseen yet undeniable reminder that you're not...


(C) Nicci Coertze


*The term 'The Great Sadness' was first used by William P. Young in his book 'The Shack'

Drawing by iSAW


Banking details:
Nicci Coertze Inc.
Capitec Savings
Account no: 1358502534
Branch code: 470010
Proof: nicci@vox.co.za.

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