Written for OLWG# 238
It was late, or more accurately, it was early when Elspeth Muir and I approached the churchyard. We were coming up from the river where we had spent half the night drinking cheap wine, smoking skinny cigars, and telling lies about when we were young. Elspeth leaned against the gate to push it open. I stopped.
“What are you doing El?”
“Taking a shortcut,” she replied. Cutting through the churchyard will save us at least fifteen minutes.
“I don’t want to go through there,” I said, my feet frozen in place.
“Come on, TN. You scared?”
“No, I’m not scared. I don’t like graveyards, is all.”
“There are no ghosts here. It’s just a place of bones. The spirits are long gone.”
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“Because I’m not in there, am I? Well, my bones are, but my essence is here with you. How long have we known each other?”
I thought about what she had just said. I couldn’t remember not knowing Elspeth. She was the one constant in my life.
“We’ve known each other forever,” I answered, but my intonation made the statement sound like a question.
“Exactly,” she said. “I’ve always been with you. Why do you think that is?”
“You’re my charge.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Means that I’ve always been with you, and I always will be.”
“Are you asking me to marry you, El?”
“Oh, God-No! I was married once. I’m never going to do that again.”
“What do you mean, ‘you were married once’?” I asked. “I think I’d remember that.”
“No, you wouldn’t that was…” she drew a deep breath between her teeth, making a kind of hissing noise. “Jeeze, that must’ve been a couple hundred years ago. Come on now, I want to show you my grave. It’s just over there.” She pointed to a large oak about a hundred yards away. She took my hand and led me in the direction of the ancient tree.
We stopped in front of a 1200 pound carved marble slab that read:
Beloved wife of John
Born: July 23, 1782 – Died: September 16, 1805
Drown’d in Lake Champlain
by a sudden gust of wind
This week’s prompts were:
- a place of bones
- the broken, the beaten, and the damned
- stronger than gratitude