A fiction story about love in the afterlife.
I sit and watch the piece of granite that’s supposed to represent her. Somehow it’s supposed to make me believe she’s still around somewhere. Maybe it’s just supposed to remind me of how much I miss her, but I sure as hell don’t need a reminder of that.
The cemetery is connected to the city park; people continue their walks and runs through the maze of headstones. Some people finish their workouts, stretching their hamstrings in the shade next to the bench I always sit on. Some visit their loved ones’ graves and bring them flowers or spend the day with them. This morning, there is a tall, young man lying stretched out in front of a grave. He is talking to the air, hoping his loved one can hear him. I know the feeling.
Even with all the people around me, I sit alone in the corner, at the edge of the trees on this old concrete bench. I watch the leaves fall from the tree in shades of oranges and yellows. I know that means it's autumn, which means another year is coming to a close. For the first time, I wonder if I’m insane for waiting so long. I wonder if I’m wasting my time talking to the air, waiting on a moment that will never come. I wonder if it's worth staying and what I'd even do if I stopped waiting.
A leaf lands next to her gravestone and she is brought back into focus. Somehow, she always comes back into focus. When I miss her the most, I get closer. I’m careful though, I don’t want people to see me — I don’t want to scare them. In moments where I’m desperate, I wrap myself around her headstone and trace her name with my index finger. I think it will connect me with her somehow. Or maybe just give her a sign that I’m here, still waiting.
She died in 2006, and her tombstone confirms I’m correct. I was watching over her the day she passed. After it happened, I went to the cemetery. Then I went to our house. I went to our favorite restaurant, the place we had our first kiss, and every other place I thought she might go. I waited for her to walk up, for her green eyes to make me fall in love all over again.
I am still waiting for that moment. Lately, I’ve just been staying at the cemetery. I sit here and stare at our tombstones sitting together, embedded in the ground forever. I’m reminded of the promises we made each other when we were alive, the vows we made in front of our friends and families. We promised we would be together forever. I don’t know where she is — but I do know she didn’t come looking for me.
I’ve lost count of the years, let alone the days. I could find out what year it is, but I’m too afraid to look. I’m afraid to see how long she has been fine without me.
No matter how long it has been, I’ll stay here. I might wander around to other places she might go, but I’ll always come back to our gravestones. I'll always wait here. I will keep my promise.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.
If you liked this piece, I suggest checking out some of my other work. Some of my favorites right now are Sweet Memories (fiction) and Lights in Seattle (creative nonfiction).
If you'd like to follow along, you can find me at @JaciSchreckengost and @JaciReads, if you only want book content.
About the Creator
Hey there, I'm Jaci Schreckengost.
Here are some pieces of my writing. They're all drafts; some on revision one, some on revision ninety.
You can see more of my work at jacischreckengost.com. I'm also on Instagram @JaciSchreckengost.
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