Cemetery Street (Chapter 1, page 1 of 2)


 
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Chapter 1

"Get up!" she cried. "Run!" she smiled over her shoulder. The earth shook beneath our feet. "Faster! Faster!" Her voice swirled in the wind. "Feel it?" she shrieked, her hair dancing behind her. "Feels great. Just great!" Her laugh pierced the freight's roar. Swimming through the train's blast, she reminded me of a salmon - always heading upstream.

Moments earlier, she danced across a warped balance beam forty feet above the river. "If I lose my balance, even for a second - a second - I could die!" Ignoring our pleas, her forehead etched with concentration, she continued. "For what? Like there has to be a what! Would you say I died in vain, died for the thrill?" Her arms flailed. "Yes," she answered. "Died of stupidity! Died for nothing, what a way to die! I like that. There isn't pressure in nothing."

Me, I've always felt pressure - even in nothing, even today. So I watch, I've always watched! Even today - I watch a snowflake slide down the front of her headstone and crash to the ground. I watch countless others stick atop her headstone. When I grow tired of watching, I run my hand over the smooth granite wiping away heaven's frozen tears.

A slight breeze rustled the trees, their bare limbs swaying to the sound of her voice. I turned praying she would be sitting on the sandstone bench like she was thirteen years ago - Indian Style, her wild mane speckled with snow flakes. I imagine her gaze staring across the dozing river, past the distant rushing traffic, into eternity. My gaze was met by a dusting of snow atop the bench. Disappointment consumed me. "People who do nothing but watch, feel nothing but disappointment," she once scolded.

Today would have been her twenty-seventh birthday. Ten days ago was the first anniversary of her death. Two days from now the world will be standing on the cusp of a new millennium - without her. It will be so empty, it will be dawn without the sun.

"Happy Birthday Bug," I whispered. "I have a surprise. It's your favorite." Careful not to spill a drop, I poured the steaming coffee on the ground in front of her stone. "How did you guess?" I watched the snow evaporate. "Yes, you're right. Of course, I remembered. How could I forget? " I tell her.

"If eyes are the gateway to the soul," she wrote prior to her accident. "Our memories are its gatekeepers." Like a dutiful gatekeeper, I guard our memories. "Out of memory comes ritual," she said, hiding in the breeze. "Out of ritual - meaning, out of meaning - warmth, out of warmth - love, out of love..."

 
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