Unrequited love in Teleleli

Among many of the inhabitants of Teleleli, there is a set of practices for responding to being spurned in love. Although these practices are formalised, they are generally heartfelt.

The entire process may take only a few days, or as long as several weeks. It is not believed that a longer period indicates a greater amount of unhappiness.

The unhappy lover will first take themselves to a graveyard. Members of those sects who believe graveyards to be part of the world of the dead will stay just outside the graveyard. Their friends (and perhaps relatives) will arrive and ask them to come home, to which they will announce “I do not wish to live.”

Friends will bring food to the lover daily, at roughly the same time. No one speaks during these visits, including the lover themselves. The lover may leave notes indicating their needs, which are written on scented paper as if they were love letters. During this period the lover often weeps silently.

Eventually the lover will meet their friends and relatives outside the graveyard, and announce “I do not wish to eat.” They will now dwell near their own home, but outside. For example they may stay on the roof, or in the courtyard if one exists. During this period the lover fasts, and often groans with hunger and sadness. Their friends and relatives will visit them daily, and speak ill of the beloved. The lover does not respond.

After a time the lover will greet their friends inside their home, and say “I do not wish to sleep.” The friends now arrange a sort of celebration. All who attend, especially the lover themselves, will eat and drink to excess. It is usual to swear, fight and vomit during these events. No one will speak of the beloved.

Eventually the lover (and likely many others) will fall asleep or pass out. When the lover awakens, they are assumed to have been cured of their grief.

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