The Other End of the Cemetary

Earlier this month, a childhood friend tragically died. At about the same time, I had an assignment to compose a short scene in present tense. 

Today isn’t as cold as the Ohio Novembers I remember. I’m not even wearing a heavy coat, as I step out of my brother’s truck and onto the grass. My brother walks over to the woman getting out of the truck next to us and apologizes for honking at her on the way in. He hadn’t realized she was part of the procession, too. 

Most people have already arrived, but everyone is taking their time walking to the other end of the cemetery. Some walk among the grave stones to pay homage to departed family members. Most people are wearing dark colors, as expected. Many are wearing heavy coats. I start to wish I would have worn mine.

No one here is quite as somber as people are in the movies. Friends and relatives who haven’t seen each other in years greet each other. I even see people smiling and shaking hands. “It’s good to see you,” we say to each other, and everyone means it.

The pastor begins his sermon, but we can barely hear him from the back of the crowd. As I look behind me, across the cemetery, I can see the grave stones of relatives passed on, and I notice many other stones with common surnames of Holland, Ohio. Over a century’s worth of Springfield Township’s deceased citizens are buried underneath the half mile of land behind us. Now another is laid to rest, years before he should be, at the other end of the cemetery.

Funeral at Bettws Church, David Cox (1852)


Author: Bradley Bethel

Educator, writer, & filmmaker. Proud Ohio native, happy to live in North Carolina.

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