Martha felt intense loneliness and coldness in her heart that day. It was a weekend and there was no work she could bury herself in to make her forget that this was the second anniversary of her son Leon’s death by the hand of a drunk driver. A death that had made her get a new job and move out of town because she felt smothered by glances and whispers.
She sat on the couch and stared at a copy of the card she had placed at Leon’s grave at his funeral. It had a photo of Leon riding his bicycle, and in the back a verse she had written herself:
My lost wanderer
Floating away forever
In the hereafter
The TV volume set to maximum, she buried her face in a pillow and cried for a very long time.
She almost didn’t hear the doorbell. When she answered, a young boy gave her a small envelope and then turned and vanished. Going back inside, she opened it and found a card. The picture at the front had her, Leon and Hiro and his wife Sara, an elderly couple who had been their neighbours. Sara had died of cancer just two months before Leon died. On the back of the card, there was a little verse:
Our will to stay
Despite their being far away
Has brought us today
The sun was setting when she pulled over at the cemetery. She hadn’t been here since the funeral. Hiro was standing at Leon’s grave.
They stood side by side for a long moment at Leon’s grave. The grass had grown over him, oblivious of how the ground had snatched him from her and swallowed him up. The blossoming cherry tree growing a few feet away had laid a carpet of pink petals over the grass. They stood quietly under the pink cherry blossoms, remembering. And Leon lay quietly under the soil and grass and pink cherry petals, remembering. His twelfth birthday would have been a few days from today.
As Martha’s tears flowed freely, Hiro held her hand.