The well-arranged gravestone and the orange sky, surrounded by grey and black clouds, formed a very good snapshot.
She was walking between the broad avenues of the big cemetery, enjoying the sound of her own steps, alternating grass and gravel, in the silence.
There was never anyone there.
And she just couldn’t find a reason for her coming there.
Walking among the tombstones appeased the void that was echoing in her head.
She was now in the old part of the cemetery, where there were graves dating back to two centuries ago. She touched lightly the thick tombstones, reading birth and death dates behind the mold.
She was doing her math; she enjoyed to calculate the age of the dead. Her favorite grave was the one of the Reed family.
It was a large stone monolith , taller and thicker than her. The original color was drowned by erosion and green mold. Over the monolith Towered a decapitated angel with arms outstretched, ready to receive someone’s soul.
Robert Joseph Reed was born in 1788 and died in 1866, a long and accurate life. His wife, Anne, was born in 1812 and died in 1843, while was giving birth to her third son, born dead and buried with her under the decapitated angel. Time had erased his name from the monolith. The first-born daughter was called Elizabeth, born in 1829 and died in 1836. The second son, Francis, born in 1831 and died in 1847. At the foot of the monolith was written large and well readable: GOD GIVES AND GOD TAKES.
It was impossible for her to understand why God had taken everything from Robert. if a man takes the lives of three children and a women, he will find himself facing life in prison , or even worse.
God has far too many liberties. The gravel path took her further.
Here, seven well-placed tombstones had succumbed to the front flattering the ground, and judging by their size they were surely disturbing those who were resting under the soil. Who knows for how many years they were like this. No one, relative or friend, was concerned about their kinsman’s tombstone. Everyone forgot.
There was a bench. She liked to sit there, and imagine the tombstone kneeling before her, a tribute to the dead to a woman still in life. A religious rite upside down
As she was sitting there, a light breeze on her neck was announcing the approach of darkness Darkness reminded her of the danger.
“The war..?” , she asked herself.
She looked in the depths of her mind, going back in time. She came back to the shelter, three night before. Dozens of men and women and children were kneeling in front of the priest who was screaming his sermon toward an humble Cross while the soft candlelight tinged the atmosphere of an orange as the sky above her head in the cemetery.
“…remember..:”, said the priest, but she wasn’t listening anymore. She was talking to a fat woman, almost bald and toothless. They were sharing a homemade cigarette, so strong that it was burning her lungs.
The fat woman was talking about something. She also had three children, all of them died. She was just like Robert. But there weren’t tears in that speech: dead children were a common topic in that times.
The thought of the war exploded in her head. She looked down at her hands, black and (callus). and scars on her legs, through her ruined skirt. She was hungry now.
“..The shop…I don’t have money for the shop.”
She remembered how she used to pay the food in the canteen. She remembered the feeling of nausea and hate. And e remembered that the Lord was always with her, like the priest shouts.
“”How many have you had?” Asked the fat woman.
“Two.” she replied. “But they didn’t took them. It was cholera.”
She suddenly got up, and started walking toward the east wing of the cemetery, were there was a mass grave
The sirens started screaming. long lament flooded the paths of grass and gravel, but she didn’t care, she was going to visit her children.
Under the scarred statue of the Redeemer, the circle of stone delimited the soil.
“And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age”, was inscribed on a plaque at the foot of the Redeemer.
She kneel down and started to talk to her beloved.
Everything was passed.
Edited by Roxana ([email protected])