August 18th, 2019 by Patrick Starks
On that day rain poured punishingly, and as usual, people fled like rats into their homes as if they were sewers, but obviously better than a sewer need I add. However, there was no other place that I needed to go, not in specific anyways. As cold as it was believe it or not, the sound of the rain and the freshness it brought to the air calmed me.
Next to me stood my mom. Her hair was that of crows, dark and slicked back as if she’d thrown a whole bottle of grease into it. Her eyes were sharp and golden like a crispy crème doughnut and her scent would be just as sweet as it too. She held my hand softly yet sternly as any mother would do their little tater tot, she liked to call me. But never did she ever look down to verify if I was okay. I guess I couldn’t blame her; to lose a man she’d known her whole life, who she had a kid with, there was no doubt in my mind that that was easier said than done to swallow. It was basically written all over her, no matter how well she thought she was hiding it from me.
“Always remember this moment Oracle,” said Mom, with a tear shedding down the side of her face. “Do all that you want in this life before this day. Leave not one regret behind.”
During that time, I didn’t quite understand what she meant by it all, of course, what child would. But now years later I stand on that same rainy day like before, discouraged by the world I no longer wanted anymore.
What was I supposed to do? I hadn’t found my purpose in life, and to be honest, I really didn’t care, I think. I mean, did you really need to have one? I just wanted to live my life and be free from all the judgment and titles, but how could anyone escape such a plastic life as this. You had to blend in, and that was exactly what I did, or at least what was expected of me; being different was usually frowned upon. And I’m not talking about the kind of difference where people purposely do it for attention or money. No, I mean difference as in that is who you truly are, and unfortunately dealing with the ignorance of others who do not understand or even give a damn to try to understand why you are who you are. Arguably as bad as it sounds, being different does have its perks… when done involuntarily.
It had been years since I stepped into the graveyard, the Seacrest Graveyard. For the time that I stood there I couldn’t help but feel paranoid and miserable all in one. Lights flickered all around and what I assumed to be just the fog as well I felt somewhat confined by; like anywhere I turned it would always be there, hiding the path back to my car, back to home. Despite it all, I was too caught up in my past emotions. What my mom told me before her passing had never left my mind. And sometimes I would wonder if she had had the chance to do all that she wanted, or if she wasn’t able to because she was to busy taking care of me. I stood in front of her grave, with a bouquet of her favorite roses, shoes engraved in the wet soil that was now mud, tears running down my face like rain to window glass. Although, I’d convinced myself that it was just the rain and not my emotions that were stirring.
“Wipe those tears boy,” said a man.
The voice was raspy, a little creepy if you ask me, like a Camel smoking pedophile. Hesitantly, I’d ask who it was.
“I used to be something you know. Everyone had high hopes for me,” said the man.
I looked around, to my left, to my right, even behind and still, not a soul was there.
“Who’s there?” I asked. “What do you want?”
The wind then howled, and the rain picked up a little, no, a lot, just enough to almost cause a flood.
“You mean you don’t remember who I am,” said the man. “You don’t remember how I use to do that little airplane thing with you. How I used to lift you up in the air and make you feel like you were flying.”
“What are you talking about! Where are you? Come out so I can see you!” I yelled.
From behind me dirt lifted from the ground, right next to mom’s stone. I think sharted myself just a little, but shut up, no one was around to tell about it. I was expecting a damn body to come out from underneath the ground, but inch by inch there a book emerged from it. It was larger than a dictionary. And it had vines that coiled around it like barbwire tattoos.
“Oracle… It’s me, your father,” said the man.
“Then if you’re my father, prove it. Show yourself,” I’d demanded.
“I can’t… It’s kind of the laws of the dead you see. If I show myself to you then you will become dead to, and both of us will be bound to this graveyard for eternity. And I just can’t risk that seeing how I have just a year before I go up to the heavens.”
“Wait… So, does that mean?”
“No… I’m sorry but your mother isn’t here. Let’s just say she’s always been an angel even when alive. She literally went up their as soon as she died. But she did come to visit me once. Said she’d be waiting for me, and that while I’m down here to watch after you.”
I wanted to bust out in tears. Even when dead mom was still thinking of me. Part of me was beginning to wonder why I was still even here. Why couldn’t I be with her? Why couldn’t I just go to the heavens now? Maybe I could just end it all right here and then; jump off a bridge, get a gun and end it with one shot, slit my wrist… Those thoughts had always come to mind but I never told my wife Lydia a word about it. She probably would’ve freaked knowing how we’d lost out daughter to the kind of thoughts I just described, which gave me even more reason to give in but… I just couldn’t do that to her, let alone to myself.
“So, what did you do?” I’d asked the man, muffled.
“What do you mean?” he replied puzzled.
“Well you said that you had one more year, which means you weren’t all that angelic it seems, so what did you do?”
“Can’t tell you that…” he paused. “But the book by your mothers stone should give you a sense of it. It was selfish of me to take this with me in the first place. I’d always wanted to give it to you, but I guess my time had ran out faster than I thought it would. But maybe with this you’ll know a little of what your old man did in his life, more so, what I learned, as well as others.”
I then walked over and reached down to pick up the book and as I did, immediately I could fell an energy that was so empowering that any thought I had before was beginning to sound insane more than sane. It was as if I’d lived a thousand years just by lifting it, and the funny part was that I hadn’t even opened the fucking thing.
While I was down to one knee holding it in my hand a bony and soggy hand reached up and grabbed me. It was spongy, like a wet loaf of bread. And it smelt horrible, although, part of me wondered if it was myself that I was smelling, but again, this is just between me and you okay?
After the hand had let me go, a laugh echoed all around me.
“Sorry son but that was just priceless. I mean, no one said I couldn’t show my arm,” the man laughed. “My goodness, if I still had my stomach it probably burst full of worms right now.”
“Disgusting… Okay… that’s it, I’m getting the hell out of here, I don’t have time for this shit.”
As I through the book to the ground and turned around to walk away, the book would be resting on the ground right in front of me. I turned around again and still there it would be, in front me.
“Take that with you,” said the man. “I’m sure that you will ﬁnd your purpose through it.”
“What’s in it?” I asked.
“That my son is the graveyards book of knowledge. Everyone in this graveyard has written down one piece of advice for the one who reads it; something that they learned during the time that they were still on this planet, well… alive and breathing that is. When they are done, whoever the reader may be must return it back here to the graveyard so that another deserving of it can take on some of its knowledge.
I then flipped through the pages. They were all blank.
“But there’s nothing in it… Where is mom’s advice?”
“Impatient generation, “said the man.
“Where is it? I don’t have time for riddles old man.”
“Your mother, my wife, has not written in it yet. And the reason those pages are blank is so that little impatient young men like you don’t speed read through it, like a 100-meter dash. Every piece of information in that book you need to embody and learn from. You cannot do so by flying through it.”
After half an hour of bickering with the man for more answers about mom I’d move along. I put the keys in the ignition and started the car, while I left it in park. I was still uncertain if it all was just a dream or a reality. But then the song DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC would play in the background as if someone was trying to tell me something. I then started driving. About halfway home and I kid you not, that same song still played. But the drive was good, and I had the whole road to myself for once. I looked towards the passenger seat where I’d lay the book. The book was so unique that I just couldn’t stop looking at it. It jumped a bit, but I paid it no mind. I was on a bumpy road after all, but then what the book did next was something I couldn’t ignore. The spaghetti straps that wrapped around the book had started to unwind themselves as if someone had stuck a fork into them. The book opened, and now this time it had writing within it that would change my life forever; I was looking at my first lesson.
The Graveyard. The place some say where knowledge is lost, and some gone too soon for those roads they had crossed. Nevertheless, that same knowledge remains embodied in your DNA, coded to your core like the apps in PDA’s. In my day such did not exist, leaving my mind in peace, and never in a twist. My knowledge to you whoever reads this is to live your life full and not allow yourself to drown; to feel the beat of your own heart and recognize all that it has found.”
The book would then close. I tried my best to open it again, but it was as if it was glued shut but at the end of it all I knew it would open again sooner or later. As dad had said before, I just needed to be more patient. As I continued to drive back to a place I would be in peace, everything I knew of life would unravel and release, the answers to the questions I’d pondered. Only time was all that would tell.
Thank you, Dad, hope you and mom are together now. And oh yeah dad, if you could tell our baby girl we love her, and that mommy and daddy will see her again one day it would mean the world to me and Lydia. Especially Lydia… But thanks again for the book, even though I still haven’t found out why you had to wait all those years to be up there.