According to the sign, Litten Gardens “used to be a graveyard.” Really, they just squished all the headstones to one side. No record remains of which bone is whose, whose eye socket each flower sprouts from. Are we supposed to ignore the fact that the tree which blossoms so beautifully in spring has its roots curled like tendrils around several of the parts that were once people?
There is a big sandstone memorial in the center for lost soldiers of the Great War. It has some names but none belonging to the bodies there —although even if they were the right names, what would it matter? We each only rent the earth for a hundred years.
To that sign I say: if you didn’t exhume the bodies, sir, it is still a graveyard.
It reminds me of how as a child, I tiptoed carefully in cemeteries as if stomping could wake the dead. They deserve rest; who am I to disturb them?
“Only six feet under?” I had shrieked when I’d found out, thinking, I know people as tall as the space that separates the living from their remains.
Then, sometimes before sleeping, when most people listened to calming music or a guided meditation (“inhale for one, two, three and exhale slowly through your mouth”), I’d let myself go slack like I’d just taken my last breath.
I wonder if the dead envy my moving limbs, my flawless skin, my beating heart.
One day, I will be cold. I will be motionless. I won’t be so enviable.
Are you sure that they’re not sleeping?
Where does all their warmth go?
Does anyone remember them?
Mr. Sign, sir, do you know?
Deborah Rose is the Managing Editor for Hey! Young Writer and assisted in starting this amazing blog but now spends most of her time helping our founder, Alee Anderson, with her ghostwriting business. She is the author of two middle-grade, fantasy novels and a fan of all things history related! You can follow her on Instagram at @deborahroseintheforest or visit her website, deborahrosegreen.co.uk to read more of her writing.
Featured Image by Kalei de Leon.