Magee Lee Meets the Gravediggers

March 5, 2009
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A clap of thunder exploded, giving a sign that the service was over. People in black, moth eaten attire, glided down the gentle slope in silence. Once they crossed through the crumbling cemetery gates however, they broke into a meaningless chatter about jobs, and bills, and school, and relationships, and anything else that was safe. On the top of the hill one girl stood, watching the silent procession become a chattering mob. Magee Lee wasn't quite ready to join the crowd. She looked at the sky to avoid looking at the ground. It was summer, but the sky was an angry purpleish grey. It was noon, but it was dark. Tremendous clouds had cast the world in shadow. Up above lightning flashed and thunder rang, but no rain fell. Fitting weather for a funeral.

Magee began to move farther up the cemetery, leaving the tombstone and the mound of fresh dirt. She'd be back, but not for awhile. It would take time. She meandered through nameless, moss covered tombstones until she came to the top of the hill. She looked out over the town. The crowd was now completely dissolved. They had all gone back to their lives. The town looked was dead as the people buried beneath her feet. The weather was keeping everyone bunkered down in their homes. The town looked timeless and quiet in contrast with temperamental sky. Magee's eyes traveled the length of the town until they reached the cemetery. That's when she saw them.

Two men were standing with shovels, not far from where she was. They were also observing the silent town. She could hear the dull murmur of conversation, drifting up with the swirling breeze. She ducked and weaved between the decaying gravestones, so as not be seen as she silently approached the two men. Magee crouched behind a tombstone a few yards away from where the two men stood, talking. 'Poor stiff', one said in a throaty voice, looking a little farther down the hill, at the newest addition to the cemetery. Both men were nondescript in every sense of the word. They both wore plain clothes on their plain bodies, and when they turned around, would probably have extremely plain faces. 'I'd consider my self lucky to be buried in this weather' the other murmured so quietly it was almost lost to the wind. 'The weather is perfect, not happy or sad, just'' he paused for a moment 'just complicated.' he finished. His friend nodded slowly. 'It's the same with every funeral, no one sticks around, they all leave as quickly as possible so they can 'heal' as quickly as possible', the man said in his hoarse voice. 'You mean forget. So they can forget quickly' the other quietly corrected. Magee could feel herself finding a deep solace in the men's words. Magee didn't ever want to forget. No one had so much as mentioned dying around Magee since the death. All they said were sorries. And here, were these two painfully ordinary men, offering her more comfort then all her friends' insignificant apologies. An immeasurable moment of silence passed between the two men while Magee basked in the slow ebbing of her grief. 'Shall we get back to work?' the quiet one asked. 'Sure. The sooner the next body is in the ground the sooner everyone can forget' the other croaked while picking up his shovel and beginning to dig.

Magee rose from her concealment. She strode by the startled men and down the hill, but before crossing under the gates she looked back up at the two unremarkable strangers. They had begun carving a new hole out of the earth, for the next 'poor stiff'. Magee turned back to the gates and walked though them, with the concrete knowledge she'd return tomorrow.





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