By Crystal Alford
Copyright ©2013.Crystal Alford
Sarah stood next to an empty rectangle in the earth and attempted to peer beneath the skirt of the casket perched above it and into the dark void. It was an unusually benign spring day. There was nothing in the air to alert Sarah to the significance of the thing before her. The wind did not whistle or rustle leaves. It did not deliver odors or dust. It did not heat or cool the air. Instead it held its breath. A snippet of a childhood song surfaced in her memory, “…and they bury you under six feet deep.” She wondered if the hole was actually a carefully measured six feet deep, and if so, what were its remaining proportions? And why didn't anyone ever refer to a grave in a manner other than its depth? As if that was the only notable thing.
Sarah stood in the still air for propriety’s sake, to partake in an event that would not be repeated. Though she tried to muster an appropriate emotion, so far, her indifference mimicked the day. The weight of the thing that hovered above the nothingness was something enough that she was compelled to witness it before it was lowered into the vacant earth. But she imagined that when the earth was filled it would still hold only emptiness, as dark as the void beneath the casket. As dark as the void inside of her that once contained a family that loved her.