Personal Narratives: Somber and (Occasionally) Sober
The still broke with the sudden motion of playing squirrels, faded words etched into weathered stone, and quiet commemorations to the beautiful brevity of life. The memory of the graveyard I walked to and through at Radford stays the aches of my heart when I feel trapped behind my desk — so far from the pursuits I’d prefer to be engaged in.
We all learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah-really-you-married-Freddie-Prinze-Junior-Michelle-Gellar, that graveyards are the domain of vampires, the drunk and doped, ghosts, lackadaisically supervised teenagers, and other scary shit. Everything TV has taught is a lie. Especially TV’s mythology of the cemetery.
One of my most recent graveyard trip left me watching my grandfather’s formerly flag-covered coffin lowering into a stupid yawning hole in the ground. Behind Thanksgiving Baptist Church I placed a white rose on my great-grandmother’s grave while my youngest cousin placed another on the grave of our great-uncle. Gathered with multiple generations I’d not seen since barefoot childhood, all with the same tear fighting pinched faces, I reflected: this is the closest to a family reunion I’ll ever get. Graying church ladies with soft wrinkled skin complemented my urban homo hair — I smiled tightly thinking how different rural North Carolina graveyards are from those in Southwest Virginia — and how much is unified in the wake of death.
I was excited to explore the graveyards of Rock Creek Park in stark sharp winter tones, perhaps with a discrete flask of something brown to fight the cold. We brought the dogs. I didn’t know how dog friendly most cemeteries are until I asked the internet whether or not it was faux pas. Turns out, no.
I don’t really know what my point is except as we launch into a new year, I hope everyone has a refuge of some sort where they can go to be still away from the currents of longing. Where you can get away from the demands of whether or not you should come out at work, or your mild dread of becoming an old queer, humdrum financial woes, familial obligations, the stomach sick hangover that won’t quit, and all the other junk that twists otherwise sincere smiles cynical.
Back to debauchery in my next post.
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