Gravestone Garden

October 4, 2011
Well into fall, I've been able to hold on to these passed summer's succulently decadent memories in the way Asia was able to clamp a cigarette between her full and pale chapped mouth and still tell me stories about all the secret hideaways in our city.

The way I recall the moist, foggy nights spent with her produces the most delicate aching nostalgia. It's as if my heart is reaching out to the past, barely grasping it before it slides through my heart's fingers like beads of mercury.

Still, my favorite memories are the ones where Asia would pelt the window touching my bed's headboard with pebbles from the shores of the pond in her backyard. I would wake up and we would take 5 AM walks down to the cemetery, gravestones eventually leading into a thickness of trees and roots, the land there forth unmarred by indications that people do die.

We would choose a new stone to sit by each time, neither of us remembering the name from last morning and with each stone Asia never failed to solemnly remind me her favorite idiom.

"Gravestone gardens are for the living, not for the dead."

Afterwards, we would chant the Lotus Sutra as the sun began to replace the stars. Our voices were what made the rising sun's colors freshly vibrant, though I'd done this more times than I could count. Its rays reached up through the trees and blossomed as would a lotus' petals push through the mud of its pond.

And while the sun's tendrils were still struggling through the trees' branches to reach 7 AM, Asia and I would each pull out a single joint and toast to the sort of life which changes with each day that passes.

Asia would smile the smile she reserved for me and for our excursions, and whisper into the flesh of my right collarbone, "Jamie, let's never become part of a gravestone garden. Someday, we won't be this alive."





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