It had been a while since I’d taken a walk through Ashbury Necropolis, so I rugged up for the cool Autumn wind and headed out, hoping for some story ideas. I figured there must be new tenants since my last visit. There was always a feeling of reverence that came over me and left just as quickly when I walked through the imposing wrought iron gates decorated with angels blowing trumpets, entwined vines and other biblical imagery. The cemetery was laid out in a grid, with ample paths to walk between tombstones without inadvertently stepping on someone’s grave. I walked past the familiar sights- those who’d died old, those who’d died young, those that had left behind a wife, a mother, children, grandchildren, a husband, and those who died with too few words for someone like me to piece together the beginning of a story. The path I took was paved with autumnal beauty- crisp leaves that twisted this way and in their earthy shades. I continued to the largest oak tree, my favoured spot for sitting down with my notepad and pen. The neat lawn beside the tree was now carved up I noticed, and a new plot, a sizeable one at that, lay on what had been my resting spot.
I’m not the sentimental kind, but my first reaction on seeing a new plot is normally a tinge of sadness. In this case though, I couldn’t help but laugh at the comic sans font used for Mr Stanthorpe’s headstone, which seemed to also quote the man himself. Quite the sense of humour. I imagine he probably went by the nickname “Art” and didn’t take life too seriously, but how differently I would have taken it if say he’d gone with Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, or Century Gothic even, considering the circumstances. It could then have spoken of a man so in control that he couldn’t even trust the wording on his tombstone to those he’d left behind. I wondered too what he must have been buried in- perhaps costumes of the good life he’d allegedly lived- a scuba diving wet suit? A tuxedo that had been to a cocktail party or two? Rockclimbing gear complete with harness, rope and belay?
I liked the Art I was beginning to imagine, so I took a seat beside his plot and decided to ask him some questions. Lost in my imagined conversation, I was surprised by a shadow of a lone figure cast across Art’s spot. Turning around, I saw a woman, much shorter than her shadow, wearing a smile and a fuchsia ball gown. “Art used to see you sitting by that tree and said he’d like to be buried right here so he’d have some company.”
You are at a cemetery reading gravestones. Write about one of the people you find (prompt from this site).