William raked the leaves and dry pine needles in silence, a reverence that, to him, seemed simple and appropriate in the cemetery. Mother was close by arranging silk flowers to place on his grandparents' graves, a festive red splash of color in celebration of the Christmas season despite the unseasonal warmth and humidity in the air.
"Can you believe the weather," he calls out to his mother. "Grandma and Papa would have loved this."
"Yes, they would have," she replied. "I'm ready if you are. We still have some errands to run before it gets too much later."
William bent down and scooped the loose pile of nature's molt off the graves and placed it in an old plastic shopping bag. "I'll go throw this in the trash while you set up the flowers, that way we can get moving with the day."
Mother set to work on the bronze vase as William walked away to the trash can ten yards distant. He was grateful for her presence, not just for the help in maintaining the graves, but also because it reinforced to him that she was the best mom he could have ever asked for. The graves were not those of her parents, but belonged to his father's parents. William thought it was a great show of respect for her to help him. Father had passed a year before either of his parents. Not that it much mattered; William's father had seemingly forgotten both William and his own parents somewhere along the way. Father had given all his attention to his new wife for the last few years of his life.
"All done! Just let me pull these last few weeds before we go," Mother said. William nodded acknowledgement and absent-mindedly wandered the surrounding grave plots. Unknown faces of unfamiliar names blanketed the grounds nearby. He found himself suddenly wondering if he had even visited his father's grave. Feeling ashamed, he began searching in earnest for the site of his father's final resting place. He thought it was close at hand, perhaps in the vicinity of the small copse of trees a few dozen yards east of his grandparents.
After a ten minute search, William realized he could not find it on his own. Mom will know, I will ask her, he thought. "Hey Mom, I know this sounds weird, but I can't find Dad's grave...where is it?"
Mother cocked her head slightly, and after a brief pause says, "Will, your father was cremated, and your stepmother told us that she spread the ashes at sea, but we can't be sure that she really did."
"Oh. I forgot."
my first stab at flash fiction...
let me know what ya'll think...i am not sure if i want to keep this the way it is, or convert it to a poem...suggestions, comments, constructive vitriol --as always-- are welcome.
lately, flash fiction has caught my eye...i guess because it retains that "get to the point" element of poetry with the added ability to expand on the thought and include dialogue.
However, that doesn't mean I am any good at it. So, please tell me if I should stick to what I know...