The story.
The letter I wrote.

Friend, I have been scared to come back here for so long, scared of seeing other people mourning you and realizing how painful life is sometimes. I have to do this alone, as I always will, as I always have learned to face life.

So, the story. Yes, I suppose there is a story. I had dated boys since I was in 7th grade, making a steady pace of about one boy per year. I was not exactly arrogant, but I thought I was too smart for them. Rural Mississippi, I thought, was not a place that could spawn my "one and only". Nor was I really certain there was such a thing as "one and only". I had moments, I had proposals, but I was not interested. So, I delved myself within books, and devoured them as they devoured me and at least when I end a book there is a strange emptiness with a sense of accomplishment. I couldn't really say that much for my relationships at the time.

I have changed since you left, I'm sure you know this, so has everyone, it is the way of the world, yet I like to think i'm better because of you. I know my memories serve me only a few of the last times we spoke, but oh so many fond memories of when we were together still linger. I miss you and I know the world would hopefully be less lonely for both of us if you were still around, but such things, wishing for the impossible, is only a waste of time and take away from living.

Anyway, back to boys. A new exotically dark-minded boy shared my art class. Bobby. All he ever wore was black: not the high-glossy black of the goths, but the worn and comfortable black of future bikers. How could I pass this up? I had visions of sleeping in tents next to a motorcycle. We were both infected with the melancholy of those mid-teen years that threaten to eat your soul at the time, but make you roll your eyes afterwards. I'm never quite sure what we were mourning.

I am striving, as we both strived, to find a meaning behind life, to discover if there is a moral code, or does anarchy and chaos shift us from one day to the next? I also continually try to be an artist, to create outside of my own body, make people really feel. This is a goal full achieved usually by the insane, yet I do tread that narrow line at points, crossing my fingers.

Later. We had been broken up for a short while, and he was very angry at me. What hurt the worst was spoken while returning a necklace, "Maybe you can use those beads for your next boyfriend. They're useless to me." Weeks later, he called, we acquiesced and agreed to attempt to be friends of some sort. That week I received my proofs of a few pictures of us together, made by the photographer while I was getting my senior portrait done. I decided to keep them, he was beautiful and I'm sentimental.

I am sorry. I do feel I could have helped, could somehow have prevented this from happening - this had driven me to a very strange darkness for awhile now. I'm sorry I didn't . . . wasn't able to change, support you, show more compassion. You were always strange to others, yet you seemed so fully known to me, the quiet sadness, the hope, the strange humor, things I remember fondly.

So, graduation came. Graduation rehearsal early in the morning, ceremony later that evening. I hear my name and am curious and ask why I keep hearing whispers in the line. Finally, a boy turned and told me that Bobby had been in a drunk driving wreck the night before. All four people in the car died.

I didn't believe him.

I didn't believe him at all. I reverted to assuming it was a joke, something else. Anything else. Finally, the serious look on his face cut through my nervous attempts at repeated denial and questionings. I numbly went through the idiot-proof graduation rehearsal and drove home shaky.

But I do remember when we fought, when I gave up, my tears and yours, the fear, the sadness pervading us. I so wanted to take you and just make you happy. Give you anything, my sad-faced angel, just stop being sad. It never seemed to work and we were locked together in tedious days and weeks of monotonous talks and gestures. Love is such a fleeting passion for me. I can never control the longevity, there's just that point where I give up, quit trying so damn hard and let go, when things always fall apart. I hate myself for this, and I hate others for this, blaming those who I loved and the world at large.

It made me angry. I'm not sure why, I'm not proud of it. I didn't lash out at anyone, but I know I was angry, and I didn't want to be, couldn't control it. I threw myself into the preparations. I did all the right things, I managed to smile for the pictures and get through graduation without giving in to emotional buildup. Three days later, I cried more, I think, than I've ever cried. Then, the funeral. I couldn't go into the room with the coffin, if I went near the coffin I was accepting it. I would be acknowledging that this was real. If I went in that room and really honestly KNEW that he was gone, I couldn't go on believing that he drove off down I-10 on a Harley like he had always wanted to.

As I said, I miss you, we all miss you. Maybe one day I will see you again, in some afterlife, re-incarnated in some sad young soul here? But I will always try to regain what we held so dear between us.

Small crowd in the rain at graveside. My family, his family. It was short, and the hardest part was watching his mother's face as they lowered her son into the ground. I've never seen anything so haunted.

Afterwards, I walked up to her, and I gave her the pictures of us. I stood there crying as she looked through them.
She looked down at me and said, "He looks so happy".

  |"So we might |
  | be stuck in |
  | here (again)|
  | but at least|
  |  the hounds |
  |can't get us"|
There was something wrong with my head, but I couldn't figure out what.

.---------. / \ |"I tried to | | warn them, | | but nobody | | listens to | | the | | maid." | _\/_______\/__|_

Soft voices whispered in the breeze, almost lost in the rustling of dead, dying, and drying leaves.

The leaves were everywhere. I was covered in them. When I sat up, they fell away and I found I had been laying under a pile of them.

Did I burrow myself into the pile? Why would I do that?

        <_  _>
     /          \
    / Here lies  \
    | Pastor Red |
    |            |
    | Once alive |
    | and twice  |  @
 @  |    dead    |  |

I looked around and found myself in a cemetery. The sky was the red-purple color that came with a rapidly descending sun. Beside me and my pile was a gnarled old tree completely free of leaves. Ones that weren't in my pile were scattered around the area. About twenty feet away, an old man in a long coat and a puffy cap was raking them.

"Hey," I said, getting shakily to my feet. Leaves crunched underfoot. "Hey! Where are we?"

He looked up at me (he was at least five inches shorter than I), and then looked away, disinterested.

"Cemetery," he said. "Can't you tell?"

.------------. | "I'm sure | |she's around| | somewhere. | |She wouldn't| |go off alone| |I'm sure..."| __|____________|__

"I've gotta get out of here," I said.

"Good luck with that."

The old man kept raking the leaves. He took the little pile he'd gathered up and then started ushering them over to the pile where I had been lying under.

I scowled, though he didn't notice.

I looked out over all of the graves. All of them, I noticed, were old. Some were so weathered that the inscriptions and edges had been worn away.

The cemetery was small. Ridiculously small. I could see the entirety of the fence looping around it. My heart sank.

There was no exit gate.

The wind brushed past, carrying more of the quiet voices.


.-------------. | "I'm not | | leaving. | |No, I don't | |care what he | |says; I'm | |not leaving!"| @ _|_____________|__\|/

"How do I get out of here? Hey, I'm talking to you! How do I get out?"

He shrugged. "There's only one way out."

Coldness spread across my chest. "Yeah? How?"

He turned his back to me and started another patch of leaves.

"Find your own."

After that, he ignored me, no matter what I did. With no other choice, I went picking through the graves.

_____________ \ .---------. / \ #/ /"Life sucks\ |"I knew that | / |Then you die| |coffee tasted| \ | then you | .-------------. __________________________ \/ |funny. Never | \ | become a | |She Just Kept| |"Has anybody seen my baby?| \ | should've | /# | zombie. | | Swimming | | I can't find my baby! | / | trusted the | \/ @ |It's the way| | | | Sophie? | \/ | old harpy." | / | | of things."| @ | <>< <>< <>< | | Honey? Are you here? | / __|_\/__________|__\_ _\|/_|____________|\|/_|_____________|__ \/_|_\/____Please help me!"___|_\ .------------. ____________ .=========. +@@+ _______ |As I am now | ++ | / | |Here Lies| @@++@@ ____/ \____ |so you must | _______||_______ | \ | | John. | +@//@+ / Triplets were we\ |be. Prepare | / To follow you I\ | \ \/ | |He had a | \\ | now roses three | | for death | | am not content.| | / \ /| | good run, | // | here in the | | and follow | | How do I know | |/ / | | Just not | \\ | garden eternity | | me. |@| Which way you | |\ \/ | |fast enough| // | @ @ @ | |_\/_________\|/____ Went?___\/_| __|_\/______\__\/ _|_\/________|__\\____|__\|/__\|/__\|/__|_ # @@@@@ #| .--------. @@@@@@@@ \|# / \ .--------------. @@@@@\@/@ #|/ | Bill | _____________ _||_ ______________ |Here Lies Jack| _______@\\@//@ \|# | Stickers | |Returned | <_ _> |"Sir, I think | |He was a Liar | | Abigail|\// |/ | | |To sender | _||_ |they've got us| | Now he's in | |Willaims|// #| | Was | |Replacement | / \ | surrounded. | |soil, but soon| | Made Me|\\ \| | Innocent! | |delivery date| | I | | Sir? Sir?" | | in the fire. | | Do It. |// _|__|____________|_ _|_____TBA_____| | Am | __|_____\/_______\/___|____________\/|__|________\\\___\/ | Not | | Over | @@@@ |Compen| ____ .------------------------. .------------. .============. @@\/@@ |Sating| __/ \__ | The children of Israel | | Pineapples | | 50 Years A | @@\/@@ | | | | |wanted bread so the Lord| | and | | Loyal Wife | @\/@@ | | |The Doctor| | sent them manna. | | Ham | |She Died In | @@@\/ _________ .--------| @ | | Is Out | |Old Clerk Wallace wanted| | \|/ | | Hope Of A | \/ |It's Dark|| | | | | @ | | a wife | | '<><>' | |Better Life | \ |Down Here||"Mommy?"| | | # | | | | So the Devil sent him | | '<><><>' | __|_\/_______ _|_ /_ _|________\/|________|__\|/_|___\|/_|______\|/_|_ \/_________Anna___________| __|___'<><>'___|__

@@@@ _________ @@@@@@ / \@@@@\\@@ / @@@@ //@ | Welcome @@@@|| | Home |@\\// | | || | | \\ _\/__|____________|____|| /||||||||||||||\ || /||||||||||||||||\


Got any tombstone requests? Feel free to message me and I'll try to put them in.

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