Night Under A Willow Tree

A couple of friends drove to the
cemetery with dented shovels
and some beer. They used tiny flashlights
to scan the headstones in the areas where
the moon wasn’t bright enough. Moths would
scatter from the grave flowers when they
felt the vibrations of their footsteps. The
nectar in their stomachs bubbled and sloshed
as they flew away.

She was buried at the North end of the
hollow ground, and when they found her
they worked their shovels through the earth.
The dirt was wet and heavy from the constant
rain that persisted for almost an entire month.
There was no rain that night though, it stopped
a few hours before they left, and it gave them
hope that they were doing the right thing.
The coffin was a dark gray and had a black
floral design around its edges. The designs were
taken from the sketches she used to do in her notebook.

They carried the box back to their truck and drove
down the cracked back roads of their town. The old
train could be heard howling in the distance and beyond
that the neighborhood dogs were calling back in response.
She never wanted to be buried in that cemetery. She told
them once that if she died before them they had to take
her out of that sad place and plant her again out at her
favorite spot. Her family would have refused to do this,
so the job fell to them as her old friends.

There was a willow tree in the woods where she
liked to run around as a kid. It was still there when
they pulled up that night, and it twisted like a dancer
does to music. They got to work digging again and
after a couple grueling hours the hole was deep enough
for them to finally say goodbye. After a long debate they
decided to open the casket one last time so she could
see that she got what she wanted. They knew of course
she couldn’t actually see and that this was a silly idea,
but when they opened the coffin she looked the same
as the day she was buried. After a few moments of standing
in her presence they closed the lid for the final time, and
returned her to whatever waits for us when we are finally
gone forever.

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