Thursday, 18 April 2013

Cemetery Gates

25 December 2012 , Wednesday 13:40

Dear Diary ,
The gates creaked as I pushed them open. It had snowed heavily the previous night. Trying to go unnoticed , I made my way to the very end of the cemetery. I was the only person there anyway – everyone was spending their Christmas morning opening presents. The leaves did a poirette as the wind lifted them up. It was cold. I pulled my coat closer. I reached the graves at the very end and stared down at what I'd been staring at for the past eleven years.

There was nothing very elaborate about them , just a grave saying : “Shannon Wilson , Died : 25 December 2000 Aged 20 Years 3 Months” , But the one next to it , the one on which my eyes were fixated was a smaller one - “Robert Jr. Wilson , Died : 25 December 2000 Aged : 2 Months 5 Days”

I still remember it as if it was yesterday.
I was doing everything right that day...saying all the right things, making all the right decisions, doing everything on time...I'd just gotten a call from the University saying that I'd been promoted as Head of the Department for Metallurgy.
Excited, I hopped into my car, coffee in hand, after having informed them that I was on my way immediately.
They appeared as if out of nowhere. The brakes screeched as I slammed them on but the frosty road did little to help. I saw the look of terror in her eyes as she tried to save her baby... I swerved violently to the left , but with a dull crunch my car hit them . I rolled over three times before finally coming to a stop. What followed was one of the most excruciating minutes of my entire life...I passed out into oblivion...

I woke up to the unmistakable stench of hospitals. I looked over at the clock on the wall, it was 2:03 AM. For such a bad accident, I had managed to get away with just some scratches , stitches and a cracked arm. But,I felt hollow within..even if I wasn't hurt physically, every part of my emotional being was wailing... For the first time in years , I cried....

The next day , I checked out A.M.A. and headed straight over to the local cemetery. It was drizzling slightly and to my surprise the cemetery was absolutely deserted save for the priest and a boy in his mid-twenties bawling over a coffin. I made my way over to him and my worst fears were confirmed...there were not one but two coffins and he was clutching on to both of them, unable to let go of either.
The priest held his shoulder , both of them as if unaware of my presence , and whispered , “Its time, Son.”
The boy just sobbed more , his words nearly undecipherable , “They b-both were m-my family...w-what will I do now?”
I stared down at the two coffins. I stood there for a long time, long after his sobbing had ceased and the priest had left. The rain had stopped. As dusk neared, giving the snow a light shade of orange, the boy turned to me quietly and said in a voice that suddenly seemed far beyond his years, “It was you wasn't it?”
Taken aback . I mumbled, trying to find the right words when he cut me off with a short humorless laugh, “Don't lie by saying anything else. Who else would stay that long here? You’re not a relative, we've got no relatives here...you ruined a family, you know that right?...”
He kept on speaking but more than his words, it was the expression in his eyes that scared me...
I hurried out of the lone graveyard..his voice following me even when I had reached home....

I stared at the chandelier as it threw out a long spectrum of light. The Victorian house seemed even more lonesome at night..if that was possible. I reflected on what the man had said , about how I , a person with no mortal ties whatsoever had ruined his family. It seemed funny to me that I, just a regular teacher had had the right to take away two lives and destroy a family and that too in just a second...I drifted off into an uncomfortable sleep on the couch, the image of that woman shielding her baby as if branded in my mind's eye.

Today, I still get those dreams...about the woman,the terror in her eyes, her shielding the child, but most of all...of her baby , an innocent and pure life that I had mercilessly taken away. Eleven years of medication still hasn't cured my insomnia...and my house remains as lonely as ever...

Maybe, just maybe...everything has been compensated for...maybe the reason that I had destroyed a family was the very reason I have failed at every attempt of starting one...

The days still pass by...the flowers still bloom in spring and the trees still blaze red in the fall...but I wait with baited breath for the snow..for Christmas...when I can finally creak the cemetery gates open to visit their graves so that, for that one day , I feel more alive than I usually do...
Yours forever,
R.Studgemore

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