Status: i accidentally deleted this so yay for having to repost it, am i right? +always looking for constructive criticism, so don't be afraid to comment! pls try not to be a silent reader ♡+

Where Poppies Grow

Red Convertibles and Saint Eugene

Rainy weather was my favorite but that day was inarguably perfect. There wasn’t a cloud in the blue sky above as I walked down my street and over people’s lawns. I kept my hands in my pocket and my head held down. Stepping stones led away from an empty plot of land. I hopped on them, marveling at the blue and purple speckles reflecting off the rocks.

I saw the tires before I heard them squeal. They seemingly came out of nowhere. My head shot up as I lurched backwards, three inches away from being run down by the red convertible in plain daylight. It took a harsh left and tore off down the street. I was left behind shaking my fist at it.

“If I want to die, let me do it on my own damn time! Asshole!” I yelled after them, long after the car had vanished from view.

Under the solace of the willow tree and shade, I waited for my heart rate to slow. When it did, I walked onto the street, ready to resume my temporary escape. Here, where the convertible had come racing out of, was the entrance to the cemetery, metal archway and all.

Saint Eugene’s, it read.

Patron Saint of dysfunctional families. I only knew because my father told drunken stories of saints all the time. I often wondered why Eugene failed to help us, being only six houses down the street from my own. It was unrealistic, equally as ironic, but that didn’t stop me from being bitter.

The car left a wake of uneasy silence. Regardless, I welcomed it; considered it a respite from the verbal gore I was accustomed to. I turned and started down the winding road leading into the wide, green cemetery. The stillness grew as I marched on.

The graves in front were well attended to. Polished. They could be seen from the road. Names and dates were etched masterfully, legibly onto the uniform shapes of black slate to white marble headstones. Bunches of fake flowers and American flags were placed on top of them. Their families must have been well alive; they were still being grieved. Recent. All of the little flags waved erratically in the absence of wind on that mid autumn afternoon. I paid them no mind and continued along where the road led me; around to the back of the main mausoleum.

It was a grand building, constructed of bricks and gold panels. Every single one had a name on it. Just more of the deceased. I wondered if they were stored inside of those walls instead of the ground, and shivered. Within just five minutes of being here, inside I felt unsettled at the fact I had walked by the memories of at least a thousand people. And strangers now would only ever know them for their names.

Did that count for anything at all?

Where the road ended, a trail of repeated tire tracks were imprinted into the earth. Away from the public’s view, the old section of the cemetery began. The ground was formed by hills and slopes, with plenty of places to break your ankles. Large oak trees lay on their sides, victims of storms from past years. Others stand strong, forming walkways and canopies scattered throughout the area.

The graves here were elaborate yet rotten. Children with no respect and weather damage had left their marks in chipped stone, graffiti, and decayed names. There were no flowers, real or fake, nor flags; only dry, overgrown grass, monuments and statues still glorious despite caked on dust and dirt.

The perimeter of this portion was lined by fences. On the other side, peoples homes. Life and death had a thin line between them apparently. The houses were pristine but those graves, completely unkempt. I preferred to think their families were long dead instead of blatantly negligent. As I read the text on passing headstones, my hopes rang true - most of the netizens had birthdates and death dates in the early 1800s.

I wondered if dead people could feel, would they be jealous, resting right next to loving homes like these? Jealous like I was about my neighbors who I didn’t hear having screaming matches at midnight?

But that was dark, and the day was bright, so I shook my head free of those thoughts. The laughter I heard next was even brighter.

I stopped in my tracks and scanned the hills, where they dipped and would rise, slanting my eyes for better vision. Far off, I could see a statue of Mother Mary with steps leading up to her. On them was a figure, almost curling in on itself in hysterics. Why did I feel they were laughing at me? I mindlessly took off running towards the black shape.

“Didn’t anybody ever teach you not to walk with your head down?” It asked as I approached, my legs jerking to an abrupt halt.

“Excuse me?” I huffed, bent over with my hands on my knees to catch my breath. I glared at the boy, who had been rolling around on the cement stairs in amusement. His brown, yet blonde, almost dull pink hair haloed around his head. He lay on his back with his arms spread, chest heaving from his laughing fit. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched me. I stood up straight.

We met under Mother Mary, in an open valley, under the open sky. A strong wind rustled the grass against my legs. Across the field thousands of blades swayed together, rippling like a tide. He shut his eyes and enjoyed the breeze for a split second. I thought he looked as though he had been thrown down to earth from heaven, and that just happened to be where he landed.