Every winter, you see the family arrive at the graveyard. They drive slowly, stopping at the paternal plots first. There are multiple aunts, uncles and grandparents to pay tribute to on the coldest day.
The oldest daughter likes to be useful. She ties the wreaths on to the graves, her fingers like thin blocks of ice against the stones. The brother stands quietly in a long black trench coat, looking very at home in the cemetery. The other daughter is dressed to the nines, as if the dead will appreciate fashion as they did when they were alive.
The parents busy themselves with lifting the wreaths out of the trunk of the car, neither of us stopping to think about what they're doing there in the dead of winter, the wind softly rustling the Christmas decorations on the remembered graves.
The family ends the journey at the maternal plot, singular. Everyone is respectable and silent, waiting for the matriarch to finish praying and cross herself. The children wonder what's in her mind at these moments. No one ever discusses this set of grandparents; they're an eternal mystery, the gray cloud floating above their mother at all times.
You watch the family drive at a moderate pace on the winding roads of the graveyard till they reach the street, not to return again till the following winter. You'll see them again; you always do.
Liz DeGregorio's writing has appeared in Ruminate Magazine, BUST Magazine, Gravitas, The Tulane Review, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, *82 Review, The Ocotillo Review, Ponder Review, From Whispers to Roars, Crack the Spine's anthology "Neighbors," Riva Collective's Chunk Lit, Two Sisters, Indie Blu(e) Publishing's anthologies "SMITTEN" and "As the World Burns," In Parentheses and "The Heartbreak Project" anthology. She's also performed at Providence's Dorry Award-winning storytelling series Stranger Stories.
Bienvenue au Danse, Liz.