There is a cemetery at the end of my street.
Day after day I walk by this cemetery and almost always there is someone else there. Usually they are men, and they are always alone. Watching, waiting, resting their arms on the stone wall, I stare at these men. They don't go inside, they just stand there.
What are they watching for? In my mind I see hundreds of skeletons rumbling in their stomachs, invading their veins. They look beyond the grass, into the dirt, past the concrete vaults and the easy wooden boxes and into the endless eyes of the dead.
Sometimes I wait for these men to look my way, but they never do, so I keep walking.
Sometimes I bring my daughter inside and watch her play in the grass beside the gravestones. There is a candle at the very back of the cemetery that we placed there months ago, resting thoughtfully at the feet of a statue of Jesus. Cast in bronze, forever suffering, a never-ending, undying death. Flowers are everywhere.
"Sometimes people think cemeteries are sad," I say to Sasha as we are leaving through the iron gates. "But I don't." I'm not thinking about what I am saying.
She looks at me. "They are if you or someone you know is in them." And I laugh. She's right.
Children trip through a maze of truth, the graveyards of their own minds full of things they thought they knew.. things they really did know, but were lied to and they disappeared. I'm grateful to be in this space of truth, try not to fill up her graveyard with too many fake flowers. I want her to grieve every moment, everything that is lost, because I never did. There were too many things and I stopped even knowing where truth ended and lies began.
We walked home mostly in silence, Sasha's pants dripping wet from falling in a puddle. My daughter, I think when I look at her and I feel like laughing and crying at the same time. I cannot believe this gift.