Catalina

By
In books and movies when important people die the weather is awful. It is cold, wet and rainy. The sky is usually an icy grey as hundreds of sobbing people make there way to pay their respects. The weather’s cold and dreary appearance is nature’s way of mourning that influential man or woman.

I had expected Sunday to be that way, but I found a very different scene when I arrived at the Stret Cemetery. The sky was a pale blue sprinkled with clouds, and the sun shined brightly upon the changing earth. It was the 10th of October, and the leaves had shades of brilliant reds and oranges. I expected a mass amount of people to gather, however only small group of mourners stood outside the cemetery gates. I will admit I was disappointed in the weather. I stood beside the group of people, whom were chatting quietly. I waited silently beside them, even though I knew every individual there.

I stood silently beside the iron gates looking at the other mourners talking softly. I was dressed in black, as were the others. I knew I was not dressed up as nice in comparison, but I knew that it did not matter any more either. I waited and silently hoped that more people would arrive. I recognized the man coming up to the large gates. Ray. Dressed in Sunday best, tie and all, Ray stood beside the gate waiting for the whole group to arrive. He nodded to me and I nodded back slightly. I did not like Ray, but now was not the time to think about such childish quarrels and jealousy.

Once all ten of us had arrived, Ray opened those large gates and led the group up the path.
I was not at the back, nor was I at the front. I was somewhere in the middle. I was the only one who stepped in silence; the others had found a partner and were whispering softly. We began to walk the length of the hill. The path was paved neatly and miles of headstones surrounded us on both sides. I could feel tears and sobs threaten to spill loose, and I quietly choked them back down. My hands were cold, even in morning sun.

I blinked back tears of anger as we walked farther. The headstones at this point were crumbling, and the names unreadable. How could I resign her to this fate? How could I make my beloved nameless and her passion forgotten?
Walking up the hill was mildly difficult, but our pace didn’t slow. I looked out among the headstones and trees. The colors were truly spectacular. As I surveyed the land I couldn’t help but think of her. The brilliant red leaves reminded me of her cascading locks, and the lush green grass brought back the memories of her sparkling eyes.

At this point, the ground leveled out and we had reached the top of this minor hill. Some of the others passed me. My step slowed, I was in no hurry to reach the final destination.

A dazzling sparkle caught my eye. The headstones now were massive and thick. They also appeared to be much more recent. The stone sparkled like new ice under the winter sun. I knew a look of disgust covered my face, and my eyes held a sadness I could not put in words. I didn’t want her to be remembered like this either. It didn’t seem right. The headstones were too gaudy and flamboyant. She enjoyed and cherished the simple things, like walks in autumn. The names though were clearly readable, if you could get close enough with out being blinded.
Ray led us off the path and we carefully walked between the headstones, being respectful to the others who had perished. There on the side of this hill, was a firm headstone, plain grey stone, and readable. I knew immediately it was hers. The group, and myself, gathered around the relatively plain black coffin that was waiting to be lowered into the deep chasm of the earth.

The almost naked trees swayed gently around us; the leaves fell softly into the lake below, creating small ripples on the waters surface. For that solitary moment it was peaceful, not a single person spoke.

We all would have remained so quiet, and for a stubborn amount of time, if someone had not spoken. Erica was the first to speak “I guess I will start, somebody aught to.” She sighed and stepped forward placing and hand on the headstone. “Catalina Lont was a great friend, and a brave woman. She had a passion and spirit I believe none of us could understand. She took care of me when I became ill last year” Erica gave a weak laugh “She couldn’t cook well, I think her stew might have made me more ill.” My lips turned upward slightly in a small smile. “You will forever be missed my friend” Erica kissed her hand and place it on the coffin, and took a step back, her head bowed.

Ray took the next step up. “Catalina was a wonderful woman. She had more care and love in her heart, than I could muster in a life time. Who honestly among us, has never gotten help from Catalina?” I looked around. Every face was long, and every mouth was silent. “She made our world a better place, for the short time she was with us.” He stepped back head held high. We waited; Ray and Erica were the bravest after our departed Catalina.
Jill shyly took that large step forward. She began quietly eyes down, “Catalina was will be missed, but not forgotten. She helped me grow into a better person. When she died, a part of me died too.”

Jill’s words were brief but touching. I nodded slightly and noticed the others nodded too. I swallowed and took that important last step. “I feared the end of this journey. I walked slowly here, hoping that maybe God would see how much Catalina will be missed and loved, and when we all arrived here, it would be she waiting smiling for us, laughing as if this was a joke or lesson we all had to learn.” I placed my hand on the coffin. “Catalina did something none of us could do she had such bravery and passion, she was such a lively person. I think we all agree that Catalina made us feel like people again. I don’t think anybody could make me feel so alive.” Hot wet tears threatened to cascade down my cheeks, I blinked them back fiercely. “Catalina was more than a friend, she was the very reason I awoke each morning and the very thing I dreamed about each night. Catalina gave me the strength and bravery to dream in a time when dreaming seemed like a lost cause. Catalina, my darling. Catalina you will be loved.” I too placed a kiss on the coffin.

I saw the others nodding. Jill gently placed the flowers down beside the headstone and she linked arms with Ray. Erica finally let her tears run freely from her eyes as she gave one desperate look at the coffin. I watched them walk away. Once or twice somebody looked back. I stayed and watched silently as the coffin was lowered into the ground. I too let my tears run hot and free down my cheeks. I smile slightly remembering her laugh and her heart warming smile. I remembered how brilliant and beautiful her skin and hair looked glimmering in the sun. It was then did I realize I was happy it was sunny.

I made my way down the street, hands in my pockets. Children played baseball in a near by park, their shouts I could easily hear. At the bus stop two men argued over whom was going to be elected as the new leader and neither seemed to be winning the fight. I smiled, even though my eyes were still shrouded with sadness. All of this was possible because of my Catalina. It was true, what we all said was true. She had the courage and bravery to wield the pen. She armed us all with knowledge and these people took the knowledge she gave and brought down and evil tyrant. I looked in the store window as I passed, a large sign hung proudly. “The Perfect Place” By Catalina Lont, The first book in 100 years.





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