My father and I visited my mother’s grave. Nothing about it felt profound or moving. It felt like a prescribed exercise in courtesy, a bland ritual.
One thing that gave it a dramatic feel: it was raining.
There we were, a father and son, standing in front of the grave of the father’s wife, the son’s mother, the rain giving the scene a cinematic underscore, the father holding a large black umbrella, telling the son—Get under the umbrella, you’re getting soaked—the son responding—I don’t mind I like the rain—the father grunting, shaking his head, trying to light a cigarette beneath the umbrella, failing to light it, cursing, trying again, successfully lighting it, the son surveying the landscape of headstones, the smallest ones signifying buried children, and I, the son, wondering about Anya’s grave, where was she buried, I had never thought to ask, turning to ask his father if he knew where Anya was buried and the son seeing that the father had a strange look on his face, a sort of grimace, it could have been sorrow could have been gas, and I, the son, asking my father if he’s alright, and my father responding—Yea Yea I’m fine—taking one last prolonged drag, then flicking the cigarette away, blowing smoke out into the rain, my father saying again—Daniel come under the umbrella with me you’re getting soaked—and this time I join my father under the umbrella.