You may note the link here. Depeche Mode! Correct. My protagonists love their music and the titles are very apt. This is an extract from the final part of the trilogy.
I had been going to QMC for almost two years and passed by the cemetery on and off for four years, yet never been in. Why not I thought, I was waiting for Poppy who was seeing Mr Rankin about some Physics related stuff and it was only a step across the road and next to the bus stop. I loved Pere Lachaise in Paris and was going to go to the Montparnasse cemetery in the summer so thought why not Leicester. It’s not that I have a thing about death or am morbid; I just loved the peace and tranquillity of a graveyard. The thought of death really scared me and I shivered. I didn’t fancy it just ending in eternal sleep. I wanted to live forever. Losing loved ones would be horrible; I had been luck so far, not one funeral attended yet. Mammas parents had both died whilst she was my age. She had had to grow up quickly, she had Dadda of course and that must have helped, but to lose them so young must have been awful. She never spoke about it, ever. I pulled my scarf tighter and sat down on a bench. I could see right over Leicester from here. Do all cemetery’s lie on hills? Did the dead want to regard their towns as they lay at peace?
“All right love? Visiting?” an old lady had sat next to me.
“No, just sitting.”
“I’ve come to see my husband…” she motioned to an old looking grave, which was neat and had some fresh flowers on it. I didn’t really know what to say.
“Lost him in 1950.”
“That’s a long time ago,” I said lamely.
“A long time indeed love, he were just thirty.”
“I know we had only been wed five years, love of my life.”
“No, how can you replace that one love?”
“You can’t.” I had to agree.
“Today would have been sixty eight years.”
“Since you married?”
“Yes, just after the war, our anniversary today, not sure which one.”
“I can see for you…” I got my phone out and googled it “…there isn’t a specific one, but they suggest anything after sixty is a diamond…”
“Really? What could I have got him?”
She laughed, “I come here every anniversary and birthday with flowers.”
“Where do you live?”
“Same house in Highfield’s, it gets harder as you get older.”
“But you don’t want to forget.”
“I’ll never forget him. You got a young man?”
“Not really, I have a girlfriend.”
“Good for you love, you love her?”
“That’s nice you look after her.”
“We have to cherish love when we find it, even when we lose it like I did. I still feel him, here.” She pressed against her chest, “He’ll always be in my heart and then when my time comes I will be laid to rest alongside him.”
I wanted to cry. “That’s nice,” was all I could say.
“I can’t wait love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy enough, but I do miss him so much. Oh well, must get going you take care sweetheart.” And she was off.
I swallowed hard, that was so sad. Maybe this was why I didn’t come here, I must have known id see this. I got up and shoved my hands into my pockets and started to walk along the path.
There were gravestones tipped over and expanses of grass which hadn’t really been tended too well. There was lots of space it was quite open compared to the claustrophobic little avenues of Pere Lachaise. There they had tombs and crypts with their amazing carvings seemed a real celebration of the dead and carried a real reverence, here it was just a bit stark. I passed the Winifred’s and the Florence’s and a couple of weeping angels. I looked out over the city at the massive structure of the Tigers stand. I hadn’t been there for months; it seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. To my right a university building towered over the cemetery blotting out the light. This was Leicester, old and new, side by side. Some of it beautiful, some of it really ugly, but all cities were like that, except Paris I thought. That was a beautiful city.
I sat down again on another bench and wrote down what the old lady had said in my moleskin. I had to record things like this. It was so sad, yet so beautiful. I looked up to see Poppy come running over and she jumped into my arms.
“Don’t really know…”
“What have you been doing?”
“Looking and walking and I met an old lady who upset me.”
“Because she was in love.”
“But that’s not sad.”
“She has been in love for seventy odd years, with her husband who died in 1950…”
“That is sad.”
“Will you still love me when I’m old and grey?”
“We’ve had all that before, you know I always will.”
“Forever, now stop crying, you are such a softie”
“You never spoke to her; it was really upsetting loving someone who had been dead for so long, not wanting to marry again. Never wanting anyone else, that’s true love.”
“We have that.”
“I hope we do.”
“Hope? I know we do.”
“Come on, let’s get home I need to carbo load before basketball.”