Filed under: Main Artery.
[Montparnasse Cemetery by Paul Oilzum, 2010]
The seat was uncomfortable: rigid at the back and lumpy underneath. It pained her to sit there, bruised her bottom and put her legs to sleep. It also made her think of him. So she sat there as often as the groundskeepers would let her.
“Are you looking for something?” he had asked her that first night. It was the dead of morning, two hours since she’d snuck in through a crack in the fence. She was just a co-ed then, a philosophy major susceptible to the odd sorority prank.
He offered his hand and helped her off the ground. “You don’t belong here.” She wasn’t foolish enough to argue. The morning broke as he ushered her through the heavy iron gates. When she turned around he was gone.
She came the next night and he found her again. This time they talked. A lot had changed since he’d been a student at the college. He spoke of regattas and winter formals; there was a whimsy to his voice. She told him she liked his smile. He stopped showing his teeth after that.
The last midnight they met she admitted she was looking for something. In fact, she thought she had found it. He didn’t reply, but they held each other under the blanket. She tried her best to warm him. His body was still cold when the sun came up over the wall. The blanket went empty beside her. She never saw him again.
She was too old to fit in through the crack in the fence anymore. Now, when she came, it had to be during the day. The groundskeepers knew her. They would take pity and look the other way as she creaked up the grassy rise and found her seat. Back against the stone, resting on the cold ground, she would wait for the sun to set, and wonder why he had hid his smile.