Graveside

She stood alone at the freshly dug grave.  Cold winter winds whipped snow in her face as tears streamed down her cheeks.  The memories flooded in. The cry of a newborn after a long labor, the nurse placing him in her arms, how warm and alive. His first day of school, with a fresh hair cut and a brand new Pac-Man backpack.  Report cards with comments about unrealized potential. His first guitar which he taught himself to play.  All the arguments about applying himself.  Yelling turning to silence. The distance between them growing exponentially. Middle school giving way to high school. More arguments about grades and applying himself. Hours spent shut up in his room playing his guitar. Teaching himself to read music. Fantasizing about a recording studio and a band. Calls from the high school. The truant officer, firm but unyielding. More arguments. His screaming that she didn’t understand him. Her screaming that she wanted more for him than she had had. His tears. Her tears. As her body was wracked with sobs, she thought of all his dreams which she had just found too unrealistic, too impractical.  She crushed those dreams just as she now crushed the flowers on his grave when she fell to her knees. The memories poured out of her. His first band and his first gig. How proud and excited he was. She went but didn’t understand. The way he’d looked, hurt, crying, lost, tormented when she took away his guitar as punishment for bad grades. The notebooks filled with his songs. All she could see was no homework. And then the final day, when she found him hanging in the garage, his boom box blaring, his own songs on the tape, the songs which finally took flight at his funeral.

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