They get in their car drive past the park, past the brick middle school, past the housing developments, and they break out and there is cornfields. Lucy watches the lines of green on the brown ground tick by and the trees lining the fields are growing buds. The square farmhouses sit behind the bare spotted arms of trees like they are good friends. Abraham does not slow at an intersection because there are no cars around but Lu, she gets nervous and frowns. She says nothing, but has grown to expect it.
Past the cornfields, past the farmhouses, on the outskirts of another town, there is a gate to a cemetery on the top of a hill. The path from the gate goes up to the top of the hill, where there seems to be a small memorial or maybe a boulder. Lu sees it coming towards them, but Abe keeps driving.
“Abe, look; a cemetery.” She grabs his shoulder and points, the tip of her finger touching the windshield.
“I see it, I see it.”
“Don’t you want to stop by it? Walk around? Look at the names? I think it’s very appropriate to be reminded of death on a birthday, especially one so late in the game.”
She does not care about being reminded of death. All she wants is to see the view from the top of the hill out on the rising waves of crops. Lucy always did this to Abraham and that is how they fell in love. She always wanted to see things with him. When they saw the same things without talking about it, that is when she loved him the most.
They pull up to the gate and he turns off the car. Lucy looks up and down the road before opening her car door. There are no cars on the road, not any they saw at all. Abraham is at the gate, seeing if he can unlock it, so that he can drive the car up to the top of the hill.
“It’s locked, dear,” she hears him say when she gets out of the car. He stands at the gate with his hand on the lock and holding his hat. His coat flaps in the tight wind blowing from the shallow fields.
She says nothing, but walks up to him.
“Then we’ll have to go over the stone wall and walk up it.”
“Why not? We have time.”
He takes his hand off the rail and looks at his watch. It is 7:23am. They have time.
“Well, we don’t have much time.”
“How long does it take to get to Elijah and Susan’s?”
“About three hours, but there could always be traffic,” he says.
“I wouldn’t be too worried about traffic on a Wednesday morning, especially if a storm is coming in.”
He shrugs his shoulders and goes to the low stone wall. He puts one leg over it, then both, and from the other side he takes Lucy’s hands. She puts one leg over the wall, then both, and she kisses him.
“What was that one for?” he asks.
“I didn’t tell you happy birthday yet today. Happy birthday.” He kisses her.
“If there’s no traffic, then, do you think we have time for more than kisses?”
“Not in a graveyard, Abraham.”
“Why not?” he asks.
“It would be too cold!” she giggles. They stop talking, because it is getting harder for them both to speak in the wind.
They walk up the path together to the top of hill. She has her arm around him and he has his arm behind her neck. He plays with her ear with his fingers. They walk slowly past rows of stones, and up past them, and their eyes sometimes hold onto names or dates they see.
Hess Lewis, 1912-1973.
Miriam Chalmers 1897-1920.
Michael Cantid Jr. 1989-2014
Samuel Riley Belahaim 1956-1999
Caleb Warner 1996-2014
Doloris Vine 1922-2010
Joshua Williams 1901-1978
Angela Riesznoski 1963-2011
At the top of the hill, they forget about the gravestones and all of their attention is turned to the boulder.
“Is there a plaque on it somewhere?” Lucy asks, working hard to move her lips. Abe takes his arm away from her and he walks around the boulder. He kicks it in some places without any particular reason. He puts both of his feet at the bottom of it and puts his hands in the middle of it. He puts his ear to it.
“What are you doing?” she asks.
“Oh, nothing,” he says and laughs, “No, no plaque.” He comes back to her and puts his arm around her shoulders. They turn from the boulder and look out, between the naked arms of the dead trees, at the distant lines of thin green.
“I bet this is a beautiful spot in summer,” Abe says.
“Isn’t it beautiful now?”
“Yes, but to see all of the corn. Imagine being the farmer of all this corn. So much work. But if you came up here? You could see it all,” he says.
“I would prefer not to have all that work. It would be stressful to be a farmer. Your whole livelihood depends on the weather.”
“That is why farmers have an ancient tradition of praying.”
As they speak, they are working with their lips. They let their lips rest for a moment.
“Abe, I want you to bury me here. With these people.”
“Well, alright. Only if you promise to bury me here, too. With you.”
“We’ll have to ask the kids, then.”
In the distance, past the fields, there is a square farmhouse. It looks at them.