Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Graveyard This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Headstones in a graveyard are more than mere markers. They speak to each other as if they’re part of a secret, exclusive club. The trees make ghost sounds in the wind as if the dead are not really dead, as if they’re floating among the stones, daring you to speak to them, to feel them. The grass is always crunchy as you step on it, as if groaning, telling you to go away, take your weight, the burden, the grief you are carrying and walk somewhere else. The graves are set up in plots like a grid, all evenly spaced, as if the dead are claustrophobic, as if they need their space. The moon casts an eerie glow, placing the seemingly endless field of graves in spectral shadow. The graveyard has only two colors, that of the living and that of the dead, graves and grass. One vibrant, one mute. The stars don’t shine above as if afraid they will lose their light by hanging over the dead. Or maybe the dead already stole their light, using it as energy to fuel the ghost song of the trees.

I walked down the main path, numb, taking it all in. The broken, rusted fence I passed at the entrance seemed like an omen. Some of the headstones I passed had wreaths or bouquets of flowers adorning them. I felt a stab of guilt, momentarily sad that I hadn’t brought flowers of my own. Then I kicked myself internally. Did I think Carla’s grave needed my flowers? She was dead. She couldn’t possibly care if I put flowers on her grave. H***, she couldn’t care at all. So why bother?

I found her headstone more easily than I thought I would. And when I got there, I didn’t know what to do. Talking seemed pointless. I mean she was dead. I started to wonder why I came. I hadn’t really put much thought into it. I was feeling a peculiar brand of lonely and like a magnetic pull, I was drawn here and before thought could get in the way, here I was.

I turned away from her grave, looking at some other headstones surrounding it. The one across from hers read:
Ella Stein
Beloved mother, grandmother
Aunt and wife
1929-2003
Reading this, I was overcome by a wave of fury. This woman lived past 50. She’s lived past 70. I looked at Carla’s stone. It read simply:
Carla Stell
Beloved daughter and friend
1993-2010
The anger festered. I turned and kicked Ella Stein’s stone. She got to see her grandchildren. Carla didn’t even make it to senior prom. I was glad it was dark. I didn’t think I would be able to handle the daylight. Everything seemed more intense at night, a little surreal even. The anger that had flare inside me like a living being had flared inside me only seconds ago suddenly subsided and I was overcome with intense sadness and loneliness. I sank down against Ella Stein’s stone and hugged my knees to my chest, facing Carla. Her headstone anyway. And as if something invaded me and took control of my brain, I started talking. I closed my eyes and tried to find a memory of Carla alive. I couldn’t. The picture of her charred, unmoving body was all I could see. I started to cry. Unlike the quiet, controlled crying with Mandy, this was wild and unrestrained. Sobs wracked my body. My shoulders shook violently as I allowed the pain and grief I was feeling take over my senses, consume me.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback