Memories of Love on a Hot Summer Day

She comes to grieve. Sh comes to remember. Photo: Mike Belleme

She lingers there with her thoughts, feelings, memories an delays her departure a little longer.

Noon approaches.

The heat of the day bakes.

Soon, it will sizzle, challenging the best of intentions, the firmest of commitments.

The woman parks her car at the curb, gets out, walks across the cemetery grass, toward a specific tombstone.

She knows which one, an indication she has been here before.

Probably many times.

Her walk is slow, as if her legs are weary of life’s journey.

Too many steps.

Steps that have taken their toll.

Made their claim.

Her gray hair seems to confirm some of her story.

But she persists, step after step.

She gets there.

She gets down, pulls weeds.

Weed after weed after weed.

She works around the grave marker.

This weed pulled.

That weed pulled.

Three times around the marker.

She stands.

Wipes sweat from her forehead with her left forearm.

She gathers bits of paper, cardboard, aluminum and such there about the marker – materials that might have been used to bring flowers, plants to this marker, maybe other markers nearby.

She stands, arms folded, looking at the marker.

Perhaps, in the mind’s eye, seeing beyond it.

Beyond it, to the one who is here at rest.

The one whose place she has come to see after, tend to.

Maybe she whispers a little prayer.

Maybe she whispers some words of endearment, comfort – words of endearment, comfort intended for the one at rest.

Words, to be sure, that simultaneously surely comfort, bless her, too

She stays a little while longer.

Gives the marker site – the one she has just so laboriously, so lovingly tended to – a satisfied look.

An expression that maybe conveys the message:

There. Good. That’s better. That’s more like it. That is as it should be. That should do it.

It is hotter than when she came.

Much hotter.

Stiflingly hot.

She seems to be of a mind to leave.

But really doesn’t want to.

She lingers.

Lingers there in the quietude.

There is that place in these moments that seem to cool the soul, calm the heart, despite the heat.

Lingers there with her thoughts, feelings, memories.

Delays her departure a little longer.

Finally, it is time.

Yes, it is time.

She walks back to her car, more slowly than when she came.

Again, she wipes her brow.

Gets into her car, sits for a while, then drives away.

Until the next time.

It is a common scene here at this cemetery, at any cemetery.

Yet, each time, it is so, so special.

Her time here says someone has been respected.

Someone has been appreciated.

Someone has been honored.

Someone has been loved.

Someone has been remembered.

Roger Summers is the author of Heart Songs from a Washboard Road. Please click HERE to find the short story collection on Amazon.

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