A couple of crows flew by, landing next to a large mausoleum, belonging to a general who had died long ago, in a battle no one remembered, in a country no one cared about anymore. The crows turned around on their dark feet and gazed at what appeared to be a shadow slowly walking up the hill. But the shadows was not such, she was a beautiful woman all dressed in black, walking slowly, trying not to make a strong effort climbing the hill that served as a cemetery in this region. The place was beautiful but grim and grey because of the many storm clouds travelling through the sky. Rain had already fallen and it would possibly fall again soon.
The woman passed the general’s mausoleum and also a small patch of grass where several small crosses indicated the presence of bones belonging to several unidentified soldiers. But they were not marked as “unknown”, they were just marked with white crosses and some dead flowers. She only glanced at them, putting then her hands inside her pockets. A gust of wind had swept through the hill and she had received it full on her face. She was trembling and apparently had the urge to go back, because she stopped and turned around and looked at the town, which could be seen perfectly from there. She had been born in that place long ago and had left soon after. She didn’t know the place like her father and her grandfather before him. She was just there to see them.
Finally, she took a left on a row of tombstones and knelt at the end of that path, were flowers and grass grew large and beautiful because of the soil that was so rich in nutrients. She caressed the tombstone, cleaned it with her hands covered in gloves and read the name of her father, slowly, as if she had no idea who he was. Almost instantly, a big lonely tear ran down one of her cheeks. And then, another one. Finally, she really cried, she allowed herself to do what she hadn’t done in all these years. She cried because she hadn’t been there when he had died and she cried because she had left home so young and had put them all at bay, fearing they might convince her to make the same mistakes they did.
She wasn’t scared when a voice, a very cold and raspy voice, asked her not to cry anymore. She said, out loud, that she couldn’t bring herself to stop, because she felt guilty and needed to get it all out of her system.
- So it’s all about you?
The voice was right. She was crying just to cry, just to make herself feel better and free of any guilt from having been responsible for her father’s death. She knew she hadn’t been there, that she had been missed and they had asked her to return so many times. But, to her, that town was death itself and tried not to go back for many years.
The woman had finally decided to do it, to confront her life and just do what she had to do. But apparently it hadn’t been enough. Because now she saw him, her dad, standing in front of her, judging her choices and thoughts and actions. He was silent and wouldn’t say a single word about anything. He had always been like that, even when she was a kid, he would just look at her and she could know what he thought of her just by paying attention at his expressions.
It was his fault too and that had to be proof. He had always been so far, so private and cold. How could have he asked for more from her when she never saw anything more at home. Her mother was not much different. She would always get busy doing something, just in order not to be depressed. She had some sever episodes when she couldn’t even see other people but she couldn’t be alone either. Besides, she suffered from migraines, so things where always charged with a level of tension no kid should ever have to bear.
So the daughter stood up and followed the image of her father, that had stopped looking at her and was now just walking through the graves as if he had know the place like the palm of his hand. They didn’t have to walk much to find the grave of the mother, where the woman pour some more tear and realized how unfair she had been with all of them. She sat down on the damp grass and just touched the stone, the letters of her mother’s name and asked her why she had been so distant, why they had been so judgmental when they had raised her to be exactly who she had grown up to be.
The woman had a nice boyfriend, a good job and a home, where she was happy most of the time. She had come to this town to be miserable, as miserable as she had ever been in all her life away from them. And now they looked at her as if she was the one who had been wrong, as if she had been the one that had caused the rupture between all of them, causing her to flee that life that was unbearable to any living person.
And then she remembered little Roby. His death had occurred six months after she had left to the city. Of course, she heard they had blame it all on her. They said he had been heartbroken that she had left because he had lost his big sister but that was just another lie, another attempt to make her feel worthless. The kid was too young to even notice he had a sister. And he had been born with so many problems. She cried for him to but they were tears of anger that she shed all over the graves of small boys and girls that had died long ago, Roby among them. She dedicated all those tears to damn, as they needed to know how wrong their parents were.
Her parents, on the other hands, started talking and talking, and she was not interested in hearing anything they had to say. She stood up and ran up the hill, as fast as she could until she fell to the ground, having stepped on a large rock covered in moss. The fall had hurt but not as much as it hurt to hear them accusing her for so many things that she hadn’t even been there for and for other things that she didn’t even remembered. Her mother’s voice was especially annoying, very loud sometimes, the voice of someone who doesn’t speak too much.
The woman slowly stood up and cursed her parents, told them to burn in hell or in heaven or wherever their real souls were. She yelled at them, saying that she was tired of having to carry the weight of a family that had been crumbling own for so long. Her father was a worthless maggot and her mother a crazy bitch.
- There you have it! Now leave me alone!
They did stop talking but they didn’t leave, their images still standing by, waiting for her to say something more. And she did. She told them it had been their fault that Roby died and it also had been their fault hat he existed, that he lived for such a short period of time suffering every single day. It was because of their sick minds and bodies that he had been born with so many problems and it was that that killed him, not her or anyone else for that matter.
She walked the remainder of the hill and when she was at the top. She noticed the son was filtering through the clouds of rain. She felt its rays touching her skin, making her feel like she had finally done what she had to do, what she hadn’t been able to do when they were all alive. But then, they reappeared and several other figures like them. Their faces accused them of being of the same family, generations and generations of unstable people that had been raising awful families for children to turn into maniacs themselves. She had seen the light beforehand and she had been so grateful for it.
They grew closer and closer and she just felt her body give in, kneeling there, being caressed by the cold wind of a region filled with people that were more dead than alive. She raised her hands to the sun and begged for peace and calm in her life. All the images of relatives looked at her and only one came closer and touched her head softly. She looked at the ghost and realized it was her grandmother, the only one that she had talked to during her exile in the city. She understood why she had fled and she didn’t judge. And now, even dead, she was on her side.
That same night, the woman drove back to the city and she never heard or saw anyone again. Her prayers had been answered and she would never have to be a victim of her family anymore.