The Thursday holiday threw me off. I didn’t realize it was Saturday until it was too late to meet up with my running friends at the peninsula.
I went out alone, snow crunching under my feet, wind at my back, Staind blasting in my ears.
I’ll just do three.
Or maybe four.
Screw it, I’m out here and it’s pretty nice. May as well just do five.
I turn into the cemetery. I haven’t run in there in months. It used to be my regular five-mile route, but then the caretaker stopped opening the gate early. I changed my route and started doing six, bypassing the cemetery altogether.
On this late Saturday morning, though, the gate is swung wide open, the winding road inviting me to visit an old friend.
It’s been so long that I can’t remember exactly where she is. There are so many more gravestones now, some obnoxiously large. As if the size of the stone proves how much the person buried below it was loved.
I recognize the big shiny-black round stone that is near hers. I pause my Garmin and walk over.
I brush the snow off her stone with my foot and immediately wonder if that was rude. She wouldn’t care though. She’d just be glad I stopped by.
Her picture is engraved on the stone, and it’s good to see her again. 1954 to 2000. Forty-four. Forty fucking four. So unfair. So entirely unfair. I’m still pissed. We were all robbed.
I tell her for about the millionth time that I miss her. And that her daughter, now 16, is so beautiful and so smart and so kind and so very, very much like her. She doesn’t even know. She was only four and doesn’t remember her mother. But we do and we see it all the time …in her mannerisms, her maturing face, her cautious ways. That girl is her mother’s daughter. And it’s good to see her again.
I tell her that she would absolutely love the woman her son just married. God, how she’d have loved, loved, loved that girl. Couldn’t have picked a better one herself. Who knows, maybe she did. Heaven sent. With love, from mom.
The wind kicks up and I shiver as it chills the sweat on my back. I have to get moving. Head back home. Say goodbye again.
About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”