I catch a glimpse of the woman in the corner of my eye. Truth is, I was waiting for her. She has been visiting the grave every month on the full moon for years now.
The first time I saw her, I thought she was one of the spirits that drift along the grounds here from time to time. Seeing the undead is part of the job as a groundskeeper at a cemetery. And I’ve been doing this job for many years.
I call her The Black Sun Lady. I wish I could tell you she is a spirit, but sadly she is not. She’s a living woman. Just another heartbroken family member that visits someone who died before her. She visits her child. A daughter named Sarah, whose gravestone simply reads:
Sarah, Infant Daughter
The woman always wears big, round black sunglasses. Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen her eyes. But she’s striking none-the-less. She appears to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders, but with a slow, purposeful yet tender stride. Never looking up from her own shadow, her hair blowing around the face with those sunglasses, concealing the woman even more from a good look at her.
When she reaches the small grave marker of her daughter, she begins to fuss at leaves or grass that have littered it. Then she places the bundle of sunflowers she’s brought this month. I have a kindred respect for the woman for having an eye for the flowers and keepsakes she regularly brings. She has a good eye for style I’ve concluded over time.
After placing the flowers, she sits on the ground with her feet under her. I remember thinking the first time I saw her sit, that she didn’t look like the kind of lady who would sit on the ground, but she always does, even when the ground is wet from rain or snow-covered.
The Black Sun Lady then begins speaking in a hushed voice. She tells the same story every time she visits. It’s sadly heartfelt and such an unfortunate tale.
“My darling daughter, Mommy is here. I’m sorry your father couldn’t make it this time. We will pray for him and ask God to give him the courage he needs to face you. He is a busy man, my sweet, but I know he loves you as much as I do.”
“I don’t want you to think that the way he treats me is a reflection of his feelings for you. He just has a hard time facing his emotions. And he’s so young, Sarah.”
“I’m much older than him and neither of us was expecting a child. He sometimes likes to believe that you aren’t even a reality, but a lie I told him to be deceitful and trap him. But, don’t worry. I think one day very soon he will admit it to be true.”
“After all, he has been spending time with your brother. Your father didn’t acknowledge him at first either. So, you can see, it’s not you that makes him behave this way. He will come around one day, I think. We will just pray and stay hopeful.”
“I am sorry for not being strong enough to change his mind. It’s difficult because he only speaks to me once a year or so. And when he does decide to talk to me, he doesn’t like me to talk about you.”
The woman hugs her legs into her chest like a child hugging itself. I swear you can see that being touched isn’t something that happens for her very often.
She continues, “I’m sorry I loved him. It was wrong from the start. He is young. It was only fun for him, not something serious. He tells me how irrational, assuming and annoying I am. I know he’s right. I do try to be enough of what he wants but I fail. I overreact and am too sensitive. Plus, I did lie to him once a long time ago so I deserve to be lied to. I deserve to be alone. But, I promise, one day I will be good enough for him.”