Posted by: nastypen | May 21, 2007

Love in Necropolis

I don’t think a cemetery is a “date place.”

But Addie and I went there nonetheless. Thankfully, the Cebuano weather was cool with these thick clouds rolling about rumbling of rain but no downpour came. Addie and i went to Cempark (Cebu Memorial Park) to visit my dad.

I point to that one coconut tree and told him my dad is buried near there.

It was Sunday and there are families having picnic on a grave. One really old woman sat on a monoblock chair. Her brown dress clung to her like a soiled tissue paper. But she had a beatific smile and she was talking to a tombstone. She was smiling as she pointed at the man beside her that he has come to take her to visit. A few steps away, a little girl is flying a kite. She was running over broken tombstones and laughing with a big plastic kite with an owl looking malevolent. I said, “At least there is still some joy in this place.”

I took Addie to Daddy’s grave. My sisters took their boyfriends to dad’s grave. I was the last one. However, Addie is fortunate enough to have met my dad when he was still alive. I had one of those hissyfits and refused to go down from my room and asked Addie to bring my stuff to my dad who was waiting at the dormitory’s reception area. It was my brattiness that led Addie to meet my dad. How……. interesting?

I looked down at Dad’s grave and said “Dad, you remember Addie, I hope? He was the one who brought me those fruits when I had chicken pox back in 1996. You were there adn you said to him, ‘That’s very sweet of you.’ Do you remember that, daddy? Well, that chicken pox was my first and hopefully last sexually transmitted disease. And Addie gave me more than fruits, daddy. teeheeeheee.” How’s that for telling your dead dad on you having a relationship?

Addie decided to leave me alone with dad as he walked around taking pictures of swollen fruit dangling from the trees. I guess nobody dares to pick these fruits considering the “ferilizer” of the cemetery. Yes, Addie had a camera with him. Yes, he took my pictures. Yes, I told him stuff like, “Not that angle, my tummy is bulging.” These are things you never hear in a cemetery.

I walked around with Addie a little bit later. I pointed to him a grotto with this huge statue of Jesus Christ in agony praying at the garden. I mentioned that that particular spot was a playground. It was a treat for me when I was young to visit the cemetery because I could rush to the swings which I truly enjoyed. It was the only time I ever sat on a swing before we had a makeshift one dangling from a giant tree at our backyard. So, I was swinging and swinging when we visited the grave of my uncle. I enjoyed it because there were no other children around. Just me, my sisters, my cousins and a sea of tombstones. I preferred this than playing with other children from my village.

So, now that playground is sacred ground thanks to Jesus, Addie and I ventured into the necropolis. I never really walked further than 20 feet from the graves of my uncle and dad. So, it was a first time.

I know that my dad is buried in the “middle class” section. Down the street, the simple slabs with names on it were gradually overshadowed by mausoleums, some plots with gates, and the statues of the risen Christ, grieving angels, ornate wrought-iron grills, marble domes. I laughed that even in death there is social stratification. There is just no escaping that.

Addie was very silent. He said this is a “dating first for us” and he is not really comfy. I just smiled and asked him about OUR graves. Will we have simple burial plots? Addie said he is just happy with a simple marble slab. No photos. No cherubs. No intricate typography. I told him I just want my ashes scatterd in two places that I love.

Addie seemed hurt by the idea that I will have no resting place. I told him I’d be too dead to care. He said “What about your loved ones?” I thought of necessity of graves and the actual teethering but sustained connection between the living and the memory of the dead. I thought I am no ancient Egyptian in need of a fabulous tomb with matching curses and traps and with my story drawn on the walls. What is very important to me when it is my time to go is how i lived and not how am I to be buried. Maybe, if pressed for a grave, I could suggest that I be wrapped in a simple white shawl (with my girth, about 40 yards of it ahahaha) and bury me underneath a tree. At least I could still be of use rotting, right? But I still want my ashes scattered.

As Addie and I walked back to my dad’s relatively monastic grave, I had to chuckle about the situation. Normally, a couple would discuss about their futures, plans and aspirations. there we were talking about prices for couples’ burial plots. I thought it was incredibly romantic. I’m serious. It just shows the gravity of our relationship. Some couples prefer matching outfits. Addie and I are still discussing our matching exits.

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Responses

  1. You always write good stuff, dear. Like how you end it… hehehe! Matching exits… romantic din for me 😉

  2. Its always interesting when couples talk about death. Let me know your matching exit plan. Maybe we can compare notes 🙂


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