Down in a hole

Down in a hole. The crunching roused me from my daydream. Looking up, squinting my eyes and scratching my hair line after lifting my hat, I was a bit taken aback as a party was arriving. It’s sunset, and cemeteries usually close at sunset; mine is no exception. They made their way across the cemetery and worked and winded away towards a plot. Not any plot, but that plot. THAT plot.

Unassuming and white, the car had but a simple Veteran’s plate. Put down my shovel and pulled myself out of that soft hole.

I give this part of me for you.” She said, and tossed something down. Holding red flowers.

“Down in a hole.” And the next one got out of the car, dressed in black. “I don’t know if I can be saved,” he said, tearfully, as he looked at the older woman.

“You don’t understand who they thought I was supposed to be,” she cried and wiped her eye, turned and hugged the old woman.

“Losing my soul. I’d like to fly, but my wings have been so denied.” He brought out a guitar and small amp, stood up, and walked over the grave. “I’ve eaten the sun so my tongue has been burned of the taste,” he leaned in and whispered to the girl.

“I will breathe no more of my feelings beneath,” she replied, lowering her veil and averting her eyes, kneeling and openly weeping at the grave.

The guitar was a pale butterscotch Telecaster, and the amp was a tweed case with yellow and brown stitching and tan leather adornments, brass corners and hardware. I couldn’t tell where he had run his power from; I glanced at the car and wondered, making my way over, tilting my head and sighing. Never felt good to kick ’em out, ‘specially on days like today. ESPECIALLY from that grave.

“Bury me softly in this tomb,” he sang out to the twang of the ‘Tele. Head down and ball cap brim casting a dark shadow. The only color on the boy was a purple carnation and a longish silver tie pin.

“See my heart? I decorate it like a grave!” His voice was breaking and dusk was settling in heavy, the moist night air giving way to mosquitoes and croaking frogs. As I approached closer, “And they put all the stones in their place.” The women were clearly singing harmonies in the background now, and I could hear the roar of the generator rising from a murmur. I raised a brow and grinned.

The guitar was loud and clear… wonder what sort of amp he’s running that through. Not at THAT grave, and I broke out into a trot.

The ground underneath felt like it was rumbling and I could see them shaking as they stood there, but they didn’t seem to notice, just taking the rocking in stride and continuing on, “I’d like to fly, but my wings have been so denied,” holding the last note for several seconds and starting a brief A Capella, the harmonies breaking apart in my ears as the volume got louder with my approach.

Their lantern glowed brightly as the sun continued its descent, and my trot broke out into a gallop. Perhaps it was too late, because they were already getting back into the car as he loaded his instrument back into the trunk, glancing over his shoulder, now the darkness obscured all but a flicker of light on his beard and nose.

“You DON’T understand who they thought I was supposed to be!” He yelled at me, gloved fists shaking. “Look at me now! I’m a man who WON’T let himself be!” With what I swear was an audible crack!, he turned and got into the back seat and Caddy lurched forward and towards the back exit, kicking up dust into the night and quieting a small batch of frogs and crickets.

I broke my stride and jogged the last few steps to the grave, turning to look at what they had left. Left on THIS grave, of all graves. I squatted and picked up a sheet of paper, tilted it to the dying light. “Sand rains down, and here I sit, holding rare flowers in a tomb,” it said in chicken-scratch, the ink blotted and washed in spots.

A bouquet of strange flowers I’d never seen, the paper, and sealed envelope lay on the grave. The rumbling began again and I looked over. Shit! THIS grave! What the fuck am I doing here, on this day, at THIS grave?! I looked at the name and my eyes widened and I felt the earth give beneath me and a hand grab my ankle.