A Writer's Journey

October 27, 2014

The Cemetery

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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Most people are scared of cemeteries. Probably because most people are scared of death. Cemeteries are a big reminder of death.

People are also scared of silence. Cemeteries are silent. Which is why Julie liked to go to them. Every Saturday, without fail. Like this Saturday.

She walks along the black iron fence, clutching a book in her arms. There is no one inside. She doesn’t even see the caretaker. Probably taking a long lunch. Good. She likes being alone.

Inside, she keeps to the path as it feels wrong to walk over graves. The gravel crunches under her sneakers as she heads toward the back. Her favorite spot is there, beneath a large oak tree. Its leaves are starting to change, reds and golds mixed amongst the green.

Fall is so beautiful.

Julie sits down under the tree and opens her book. Time to get engrossed in the story again. She slips into the world of the hero and his heroine.

The wind picked up. Pages fluttered over her thumb. She frowns, looking at the sky. It is still blue. No storms coming through. Where did the wind come from?

Julie closes the book and stands. The hair stands up on the back of her neck. She gets the feeling she is not alone. Things are getting weird. She decides to leave.

Returning to the road, she hurries toward the gate. But as she reaches the iron structure, she stops. Something tells her to stay. Tells her to turn around.

She does so and spots a figure in the back of the cemetery. How did she miss them? They had to pass each other, right? There was only the one path. And only one way in and one way out.

Common sense tells Julie to leave. She ignores it, walking toward the figure. As she gets closer, the person becomes more defined. She realizes it is a man. He is tall and young, close to her age. He wears a dark black suit and his light blond hair is neatly combed. The man is hunched over a tombstone, head bowed. It is an interesting picture.

Julie tries not to disturb him. She remains quiet. Tries not to step on anything that would make noise. But she steps on leaves, which crunch under her sneakers. She freezes, waiting.

He looks up. She grimaces. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you,” she says.

“It’s okay,” he replies. “I’m sorry if I startled you.”

She shakes her head. “You didn’t.”

“Are you visiting someone too?”

Julie hesitates before shaking her head again. “I know it’s odd, but I like to come here.”

“I don’t think it’s odd.” He smiles.

She smiles back. “Really? You might be the only one.”

“Too bad. There’s a beauty here in cemeteries.”

Her mouth falls open and she closes it. “I thought I was the only person who saw it.”

He shakes his head. “You’re not. Everyone else is missing out.”

“Agreed.” She holds out her hand. “My name is Julie.”

“Malachi.” He shakes her hand.

She tilts her head. “That’s a name you don’t hear very often.”

He laughs. “I know.”

“I like it.”

Malachi smiles. “Me too.”

The absurdity of the situation hit her. She is flirting in the middle of a cemetery. It seems a bit inappropriate.

But she doesn’t move. They don’t release hands, just standing there surrounded by tombstones. It’s as if she’s under a spell.

She never wants it to break.

But it does when he lets go of her hand. Malachi turns back to the tombstone. An air of sadness overtakes him.

Julie gathers up her courage to ask: “Who is it?”

“Someone I knew a long time ago who was taken far too young,” he answers. His voice sounds distant.

“I’m sorry,” Julie says. “You must miss…her?”

He nods. “Her. She was my best friend growing up. We were always there for each other. Except that night when some guy decided driving drunk would be a good idea.”

“How awful. Was the driver ever caught?”

“No. He fled the scene and no one was able to get his plates. Who knows what he’s doing now.” There is bitterness in Malachi’s voice.

Julie grabs his hand, spontaneously. “Don’t focus on him. He’s not worth it.”

“That sounds like something she would’ve said.” Malachi smiles.

Julie blushes. She feels bolder. “Would you like to go get a coffee with me? When you’re finished, of course.”

He smiles. “I’d love to. Just a few more minutes, please?”

She nods and he walks back to the grave. He bows his head and she looks away, giving him his moment.

After a few minutes, he approaches her. “Are you ready?” he asks.

“Yes. Are you?”

With a nod, they walk out of the cemetery. She never takes note of the name on the grave he visited:

Julie.

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