We were driving home at around midnight, having just left a performance. After dropping off a friend, he suggested that we take a stroll through the nearby graveyard. I agreed, having always been partial to nighttime strolls. We parked the car in the mortuary parking lot, and he pulled out and lit a cigarette. I remember being surprised at this, as he had never alluded to a smoking habit before. However, it didn’t bother me. Indeed, I found the glowing end of his cigarette comforting as we walked through the night. We made our way to the gates of the graveyard, which were locked. He attempted to climb over, but found himself ankle-deep in a large puddle of muddy water. Shedding his loafers, he made it to the other side, and I followed. As I hopped down, I was confronted by a sea of moonlit gravestones. We walked through the stones, admiring the lavishly decorated tombs and monuments, as we talked about everything under the sun, or as it happened in this case, the moon. That was the nice thing about our friendship. Nothing was off limits, and nothing ever got heated. We were there in each other’s presence purely for the benefit of intellectual stimulation and discussion, with a little adventure thrown in. That night, we debated the merits of parenthood, the existence of destiny and fate, the human need for companionship and how in so many cases it leads not to love, but to settling for a companion with whom one can adequately share the trials and joys of existence. It was the first time in months that I had been able to come up for air, psychologically speaking, and the fact that he was there in that moment solidified our connection. We had rarely spent time together outside of school and theatre-related activities, but as we attempted to decipher the cracked surfaces of the tombstones, I realized that here in front of me, perhaps the for the first time, I had found someone who was, in some indescribable way, the same as me. We came across a copse of trees, and having determined that the cracking noises in the bushes were not the footsteps of some aged graveyard caretaker, come to have us arrested for trespassing, my heartbeat slowed, and we sat down. He noted the beauty of the stars, and I was struck by the perfection of the moment. Never before and never again would a moment be so supremely perfect as this one, this moment in which I was leaning up against a tree in a graveyard at midnight with this boy who was so similar to me, looking up at the stars. However, it was short lived, for a light came on in a small shack in the distance, and we fled. In the darkness, we became turned around and ended up in the Jewish portion of the cemetery, on the far side from where we had left the car. We climbed the fence once more, this time avoiding all perilous water plashes, and walked the perimeter of the graveyard until we found the mortuary once more. As we pulled out of the lot, I was transfixed by the red and green of the traffic lights on his face, and his complete attention on the task of driving. It was such a small and silly thing, but it was beautiful. I watched this human being focus their mind on pulling out of a parking space, and it meant something. He drove me home, and we conversed all the way to my front door. As I fell into bed that night, I was aware, just as I am now, of having experienced a sort of transcendence. The night, the death, the moon, the stars, the boy, the conversation, and the pure and utter lifeforce that existed in us both had created a moment that, though it’s in the past, will remain in my memory forever.
A Moment in Time
June 18, 2017