Ain’t no grave


I sat down on the grass, and watched in silence as a couple walked up the river road. If I closed my eyes then I could almost imagine that they were the figures of my long dead parents. They did not turn towards me, but continued to walk with great confidence on that uneven path. The once busy road had not been used in a very long time, and had fallen into disrepair as a result. It was unusual to see anybody out there anymore, and that fact only helped my imagination grow when it came to the couple walking along that path.

The grass underneath my fingers ended up bunched into my hands as I unconsciously closed my fist. There was a certain amount of willpower, as I wished for those strangers to actually be my parents. Could it be that my brother’s wish had actually come true? Well, not wish, as it was certainly a lot more of a demand. He had told them, repeatedly, that when he died he was going to meet them on that river road.

The sudden burst of birdsong from the overhanging tree startled me to the point that I very nearly knocked over the urn that had been sharing the ground. I reached out with trembling fingers to steady it. “Not yet.”

I turned my attention back to the couple, and realised that they had stopped and were looking towards me. I blinked slowly, and turned to look around the small clearing that I was in. From the position that I was in it seemed to be impossible for the couple to actually see me, but I could almost feel the gaze penetrating me. It did not feel unwelcome in any way, and it seemed somehow to be inviting.

Out of nowhere tears began to fall from my eyes, and I nodded my head. It was time to let everything go, and that included my brother.

I stood up while I had the courage, snatched up the urn, and took off the lid. The light grey contents spread around in the sudden breeze and almost seemed to fly towards the river road. “Go home,” I called out into the swirl of ashes. “You always told me that no grave would hold you down, and so I gave you none. Go home down that river road.”

Despite my tears, I knew that I had done the right thing, and I felt a peace settle around me. The couple had disappeared, but that really did not surprise me. I hope that somebody would do the same for me when I died. Not yet though, because my time was not done.

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