May 9, 2013

There was a blue haze in the air, from a construction site on the other side of the lake. Bulldozers cleared the forest as the smoke emanated from a mound of some sort. To the right was the only lakeside home, a wide blue structure with a wooden dock. Sunlight glimmered on the water, and the woman six feet below in the soil would have liked the sight, if only it weren’t so humid outside.

The bronze-colored grave marker had sand and loose grass on parts of it before I wiped them away. Every visit to grandmother’s grave had a hint of comedy; the sculptor had placed the seal of the state of West Virginia on the marker, without any instruction to do so. That her name was Virginia would be the only spur for the act, to memorialize her with a place she’d never been to.

After visiting her, I walked through the freshly-cut grass to the very edge of the cemetery. The exact place had the landmark of a marble bench. To the left of the bench was where my brother’s godbrother’s uncle was buried, maybe a year after I was born. He was not a strong swimmer, and he knew when he dove in the ocean to rescue two children that he couldn’t save himself. His plaque had much grass and a vine growing near it, two decades’ worth.

Directly in front of the bench marked an event for which words fail. On top of the grave marker were the most luscious white flowers, a beauty touching the abysmal loss below it. I wiped sticks and sand away from Michael’s name, and picked up the only flower which had fallen. I placed it at the right corner of the plaque and sat on the marble bench, an inscription on it quoting Mike: “… I’ll see you tomorrow.”

As I jogged back home, past the orange trees and coming down a hill of red bricks and orange roofs, my mind felt like a cloud floating away. “Thank you for the sunshine,” I whispered.

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