Grave conversations

©2023 michael raven

“Whatcha doin’?”

“What’s it look like I’m doin’? I’m sitting.”

“With your hood over your head and on someone’s grave, using the stone as a backrest.”

He flicked the cigarette into the dirt by his feet. Char opened her mouth to add an observation that it was a freshly filled grave Tom was sitting on, but closed it. It seemed highly likely that Tom was aware of this bit of trivia.

“Yeah, so what’s it to ya?”

She crouched in front of him, making sure that Tom could feel her presence and see the toes of her off-brand Doc Martens, no matter how hard he tried to pretend he was alone.

“There’s the small matter that you’re my boyfriend.” She reaching into the small plaid purse she carried and dug out her own smokes. She paused, considered offering him one of hers, but fuck it… she wasn’t about to let him off easy. What he had just done was a shitty thing to do, throwing a tantrum like that in front of everyone. And he almost hit Jen in the face with his half-bottle of Dew in the process of throwing it in the direction of the knotty pine paneling of Jen’s basement wall. “What the fuck?” Jen had asked as he slammed the patio door after exiting the basement family room and Jen’s father yelled down the stairs to ask what the hell was going on down there and reminding them all that no one better be smoking any of that ditchweed.

“Pfft. Whatever.”

“Well, if that’s how you–“

“Fucking phonies.” He picked up a clump of dirt and tossed it into the darkness. “Poseurs.”

“You know just what to say to turn me on. I mean, wow, Tom. First you storm out of a place without explanation after throwing things at my–“

“Wouldn’t have hit her. My aim isn’t that crappy.”

Char picked at the mesh of her fishnets between drags with her fingers while holding her cigarette, the cherry’s glow just enough to see by.

“Listen,” she told him in the same voice her mother would use when she was being particularly dimwitted. “We’ve been dating, what, six weeks now?”


“Fine, seven. We’ve been dating for seven weeks and these… spells… you are having, are increasing in frequency. And, honestly, you’re becoming what the boys like to say about the ladies — you’re getting to be high maintenance, y’know.”

Another disgusted sound came from under the hood.

“It was kinda cute the first time or two, but it is starting to wear a girl down, right?”

“So dump me.”

She snuffed the cigarette out in the dirt and ground it in with the toe of her boot to be certain if a fire started, it wouldn’t be her carelessness that caused it.

“Is that what you want?” she asked. “I mean, it seems to me that you’re trying to do the whole ‘suicide by cop’ style of breakup with me.”

“You do what you need to do.”

Char crouched there in the dark graveyard, staring her boyfriend’s hoodie in silence. It was the hoot of an owl that broke the pattern of meandering thoughts.

“You know,” she said standing up, “I think that’s exactly what I need to do.”

She walked back towards the dim backyard light that marked the house Jen lived. The girl was lucky living so close to a graveyard, Char thought. That’d be about the coolest place ever to live.

Char looked back at Tom. For all she could tell, he was dead. He hadn’t moved a muscle in the moments since she had walked away from their graveside conference. That’s when she felt the weight she had been carrying these past few weeks evaporate, leaving her light on her feet. She fought the urge to skip back to Jen’s, but she sure as hell was going to enjoy the movie they had been watching. The one Tom had sneered as someone slipped the VHS cassette into the player.

And that, she decided, was when it had finally ended in her mind. He couldn’t have known, but it was one of her favorites.

From the bare autumn trees, the owl hooted again as she slid open the door and stepped back into the warm world of her “phony, poseur” friends.

It’s Friday night. I had a busy, stressful week with work and topped it off with a visit to yet another new doctor (the last clinic I had liked so well lost investor funding and had to close) who turned out to be “not terrible”, but his clinic staff were fun as hell to be around, so I’ll be going back. He made points with me by giving me an Rx for a 3 month supply of my meds, and then another 3 refills, didn’t mention anything about my weight, and listened to me when I said I wasn’t interested in a drug he thought I should consider taking for my T2D. Then dinner, then hauling my eldest to her robotics team meet, sticking around for someone else to show up for safety reasons (more than one adult mentor), came home and finally got to sit down.

I felt an urge to write in the manner of improv, had a few false starts and came up with this piece I pushed out in about 30 minutes. I am pretty certain I hadn’t planned on poor Tom getting dumped in the end when I started. But, as I got to writing, I realized that I didn’t think he deserved a happy ending, but that Char did. She is one of those no-nonsense gals I used pine over as a teen, someone who would give the Toms of the world a chance, but probably didn’t notice that kooky-spook in the courtyard, stealing glances at her as he smoked (yep, kiddies, you used to be able to smoke on school campus grounds while underage).

Anyways, I thought I mention the total improv nature of this piece, so that you forgive all the flaws that I’m sure are buried within. If you happen to have enjoyed it, please let me know in the comments below. If not… watch for flying half-bottles of Mountain Dew.

11 thoughts on “Grave conversations

  1. I’m very intrigued by Tom as he reminds me of a few boys I dated in high school. I was always trying to save them from themselves, so I was thrilled when Char wasn’t having it. I wonder if Tom knew who had just been buried or if maybe he simply is one of those “I’m so deep” people who want everyone to ask them how they are all the time. Great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom struck me as one of those guys that never really looked to do offensive things, but ended up doing it all the same — and refusing to accept responsibility for any of his actions. It is always someone else’s fault when things go bottoms up.

      Liked by 1 person

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