This is always the longest walk of my life. The narrow dirt trail is becoming as common as my bedroom. With the sun hanging low in the sky and the cool air chilling the tops of my cheeks, it seems as though winter is coming.
I’ve reached the fence and the last small hill comes into sight. I glance through the chain links of the fence to the glass scattered with headstones. Soon it will all be covered in snow. Usually, the cemetery was magnificent in the winter. All of the snow covering the rolling hills with very few trees to block the view. Not anymore.
As I reach the peak of the last hill, the wrought iron Oakwood Cemetery sign greets me at the bottom. It’s quiet. It’s always quiet on Thursday afternoons, but today, it seems almost eerie. I pick up my space, so I can be out of here by the time it gets dark.
After what feels like an eternity, I reach the end of the road and see the stone at the top of the hill. This is becoming too ordinary. I think my dad calls it “autopilot.” I pat my coat pocket to be sure that I brought the hockey puck.
Loving Son and Brother
It doesn’t seem like anyone has been here to visit. I wonder if I’m the only one that visits Casey. I have so much to tell him this week. I wish you were here, Casey. I need your help. I need advice.
The shadows seem to be getting longer. I need to get back to the path. I need to get home. I pull the puck out of my pocket and lay it on the top of the gravestone. I kneel down on one leg to say goodbye.
I jump about a mile. With heart pounding fast, I turn around to find the familiar voice. Patty is standing there.
*This excerpt is from this morning’s writing. This is chapter four (possibly five) in a middle-grade story I’m writing. All morning, I’ve been battling with the idea of reworking it (as I write – so annoying:) and placing it at the start of the story. Wondering if questions starting at a cemetery would appeal or not to a middle school reader? Maybe I’ll ask my students today.