Ted and I

10 Jun

I rode my new red bike with Ted, my best friend, through the cemetery today. It was the perfect kind of day: warm, but not too warm, with winds threatening to bring rain; it sent a shiver up our spines, making us hurry our play time in case the sky split with a storm. We zigzagged around the roads and flew down hills and splashed through puddles (except, of course, when we saw people who had gone to visit graves). It wasn’t at all rambuncious or irreverent. If it was, we wouldn’t have done it. Momma always taught me never to cross certain lines, and being irreverent in a cemetery is certainly one of them.

This is not uncommon for me, cemetery going that is, – I’ve always felt a gravitational pull toward them (I learned the word “gravitation” in science class last week). Anyways, If I take a walk, I end up somewhere in a cemetery, meandering through crooked rows of tombstones, trailing my fingers across their granite sufaces, imagining lives the buried once lived.

Sheila, my next-door neighbor, crosses her ugly arms, sticks her skinny toungue out and calls me morbid, a word I’ve heard her mother say a thousand times. She says I’ll stink if I go there. I’m not sure what morbid means, but I think Sheila is the stinkier one.

Anyways, in boarding school there was this little cemetery connected through a church to the school, and I’d often find myself in it after a long walk for no real reason. I’d drop my rusted out old bike to the ground and sit with my back against the bark of the biggest old oak tree, under the shade. It scratched my back nicely, and I’d think about all the things I’d make sure to do before I became a name on a rock, plunked into the ground.

Likewise, when I ride my bike, it’s usually to the cemetery. It has smooth rodes and bumps up against a little patch of forest, something that makes me feel I could be home in the country rather than stuck here in the city, where I go to school at St. Joseph’s School for Boys, a perfect prison of academia. Anyways, I peddle as fast as I can along that stretch of country lining the cemetery  just to feel the wind in my face and see nothing but bark and branches and leaves. If I could bottle up what that wind smells like, I would; and I’d stick it right in my pocket for later smelling.

Mrs. Gibbins doesn’t approve of  Ted and I going to the cemetery, and she scolds us for it, me especially for splattering my new bike, which was a gift from my grandparents, with mud today. But she doesn’t hardly aprove of anything, and the way I figure, we ain’t done nothin bad there, and today, I even think we helped an old lady out…

She was crying all by herself, which is the very worst way to be crying, and so we stopped our zooming and asked her what was wrong. The old lady told us what was wrong for two whole hours. The story of her whole life. It ended with the death of her husband named Richard. We sat on the grass in front of Richard Samuel Kerplunks tombstone and learned all about him and his wife. When she finished, she wiped her eyes and told us we had helped her very much. Personally, I don’t think we had to do a whole to help her except listen, but maybe sometimes that’s all people need is an ear or  two. She left in her shiny red car and Ted and I on our two bikes. Soon after, the wind picked up, and it started thundering. We peddled home as fast as we could.

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