I have an old friend who lives across the street from a historic cemetery, one that is often used in movies. On Saturday there were film crews there for hours, but no one cared enough to ask the name of the movie or what it is about. I can’t pretend to be so jaded. I would have walked up to the barriers and asked questions.
We stopped by on Sunday, not to visit the cemetery or even visit friends. We drove over to buy from them a tandem attachment for our bike, but as we crested the hill above the cemetery, I asked the Mister if we could stop and take pictures on our way home.
I’ve always given cemeteries wide birth. I’m superstitious, prone to anxiety and guilty of overactive imagination. I’ve never understood those who wandered the grounds or laid on the grass next to headstones of people they’ve never met. It seemed ridiculous, like instead of tempting fate they decided to run up to it and crush it in a passionate embrace.
Also, I’m empathic. I always assumed I would look upon a stone engraved MOTHER and worry about the son, even if the dates make it likely that he stopped feeling grief for anyone (mother included) sometime during the turn of the last century.
I did a little of that, especially when I stumbled upon headstones for two toddlers only two years apart (1925-1927 was cruel to the Hernandez family), but for the most part I found the cemetery peaceful and quiet. Like the Mister said at one point, it was quiet enough to think.
I was sitting here, on a memorial bench for soldiers that overlooked the front of the cemetery, when Mikey received on my cell phone his first phone call from a school friend. A girl. She had questions about the Great Illustrated Classic Book Club Mikey and two other friends from school formed. Mikey mentioned the club on Friday at the bookstore (she was there with her mother and brother) while they sat on a weathered sofa and thumbed through a Great Illustrated Classic Frankenstein. He looked at a few pictures and decided it was too scary. She looked at the same pictures and decided it was right up her alley.
By Sunday she was hooked and called Mikey (with permission from the moms) to discuss the particulars. Frankenstein was turning out to be a great book, and she wanted more of the same. Mikey was impressed.
“I’m talking to you in a graveyard.” Good grief. I think he wanted to impress her, too.
I watched him walk in and out of Hughes and Lowery, back around Younglove and Covey, all the while talking about book club rules, ghosts, and zombies. I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and remind him he couldn’t possibly be old enough to be talking on the phone with someone other than a grandparent. Impossible.
At Coleman he stopped briefly to think, and then again started moving.
“That’s a very good question, Laney,” he said into my phone. “Well, I guess if we finish all the great illustrated classics we’ll have to look at everything we read, pick our favorites, and then read them again.”
If only we could use that same logic with everything we love. I would do it all again, too.