Friday, July 26, 2013

The Darkest Hour - Chapter 3

Ivy Mae Carter
“Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door.” – Kyle Chandler

I'm sitting out front of the school reading the obituaries Maggie comes rushing over. She seems more excited than normal that the school day has ended. I'm guessing this means she finished the mission I gave her this morning.

"What did you find out?" I ask without looking up from my newspaper.

"Why are you so fascinated with the - " She stops as she looks over my shoulder. "Obituaries?"

"Just getting ideas for a project I'm working on," I say with a small smile. It's a lie - a well concealed lie if you ask me.

"You're back to your writing?" She seems interested in this small detail. "It's great to see you moving on."

"I guess," I reply quietly before deciding to steer the conversation away from me. "What did you find out about this new boy at our school?"

"Oh right! I found out his name - Nathaniel Grave. He's come here from another state and little is known about why. I'm going to have to find better sources to get more information."

"All I asked you to get was his name. I'm not really interested in any more details about him." I could care less about the details of a new boy at school. I don't foresee a boy being part of my future for quite some time. The pain of losing Benjamin is still too real.

"Maybe I'm interested in knowing more about him," Maggie says with a sideways smile. "Maybe it's my turn to have some fun."

"I agree - it's your turn for the adventure. I'm done with excitement for now." I'm able to say this with full honesty. Adventure definitely makes life more interesting, but sometimes simplicity and routine is more comforting. "Mags, can we make a stop on the way home?"

"Sure thing. Where'd you have in mind?" I'm sure she's debating the various fun places that we could stop when I've got something less fun in mind. Something that I know will be met with protests.

"The graveyard."

"Why the graveyard?" She asks carefully. She is one of the people who knows I've been avoiding the graveyard. It used to be a place of solace - a place to visit my father. Now, it's just a place of memories - a reminder of what (or who) I've lost.

"I want to stop by my father's grave. It's been a while since I've paid him a visit and I really feel that he's due one."

"I guess we'll be making a stop then."

*  *  *  *  *

When we arrive at the graveyard, I send Maggie on her way towards home. She protests and questions how I'll get home. I explain to her that I used to walk home from the graveyard all the time and no one questioned it. After a little convincing, she eventually agrees to go home.  Everyone has been watching me like a hawk since I ended up in the hospital with that coma. I get that my head is a precious commodity, but I doubt I'll end up in a coma a second time. The odds don't seem to favor that option.

I watch as her car pulls away and then I head into the familiar graveyard. I go all the way in towards the familiar tree and headstone where I know Benjamin's grave waits. It is among the oldest of the tombstones and definitely shows its age. As I look at how bare the earth looks, I wish for a moment that I had flowers to put on his grave. Maybe next time.

"Benjamin, how are you?" I ask into the open air. "Are you passing the time in a better place than here?" I have never felt stupid talking to my father's grave. Benjamin's grave is different though. I never knew him in life - only in afterlife. It seems much less normal to be speaking to his grave. I lightly touch his tombstone before moving back to my father's grave.

I take a seat on the bench beside his tombstone and allow my mind to wander. There are so many things that I need to fill him in on but I don't know where to start. I'm wondering where to start when I hear a noise behind me. I turn around and find myself looking at a young boy about my age. I wonder for a moment who he is and why he thinks it's okay to intrude on my private time with my father when I see his eyes. They have a familiarity about them that I can't seem to place. I'm about to introduce myself when he turns away from me and heads deeper into the graveyard. I watch his retreating figure and wonder who he is and what secrets he holds.

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