Harry liked going to the local graveyard because it was quiet and away from the craziness of the town. He always sat under the same tree; a massive yew that stood in the middle and who’s branches seemed to go on forever whilst reaching over the top of the headstones as if trying to protect them.
Today, as Harry settled down, he looked up through the leafy branches and watched the sun shinning through. The short grass around him was dappled with light and shadows. Harry looked at the nearest headstones, noticing how they were effected too. The contrasted of light and dark over the grey and white stones drew his eyes.
From somewhere, he recalled the names on the nearest headstones and not for the first time started wondering about their lives. To his left were Mr. and Mrs. Dorson, now together forever. After, he quickly read and worked out, twenty-eight years a part. On the right was the sad, lonely headstone of a child. Alex Bay aged 6, the little brown stone said.
How had he died? Harry wondered, and why no dates?
Harry looked further down, trying to remember if the next headstone on, which was topped by a curling scroll, was for Dawkin or Wookin. He knew the next one was Hardwick though because that was his surname. Though his efforts to see if teenager Ben, his parents, two younger sisters and three babies were actually related to him were unfounded. He couldn’t remember next along, so turned back to the Dorsons again.
Next to them, Harry remembered that there was a Mr. Chadwell, his three wives and five daughters, though the three square stacked headstone claimed he had ten daughters all together. Next was a black smith, his black stone marked with a carved horse then another child’s grave. Sadly, this was marked only by a white child angel statue, standing on a small white plinth.
Harry thought about that, surely they had money to buy that statue? Why not get the name put on it?
Casting his eyes about, he looked across. There were two large joined white headstones for the Ross family. Which also had gravestones marking relatives on either side of it. Seems they had been rich and were still remembered now. Harry could not remember a time he’d visited the graveyard and not seen flowers at the base of that headstone.
Putting his head back against the trunk of the tree, he shut his eyes and let his thoughts drift. He heard the sound of birds singing, bees humming and somewhere in the distance a car engine or two. He breathed deep the summer air, smelling flowers, grass and earth.
He thought about how happy he was to be on this side of the soil.