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       Gravedancer, p.1

           Gabriela Azevedo

  Copyright @ 2013 Gabriela Azevedo

  Edition License Notes:

  This ebook is free and can be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration. Readers are not charged to access it.

  I have always considered cemeteries as outdoor museums. I used to like those that give an impression of being in a garden as well, but I still preferred to walk and admire the artworks. Blessed are those who lived an intense life and now rest forever beneath a Brecheret.

  Many people used to ask me the reason of my cemeteries visits. They were not regular; normally I used to go when I had some free time to spend. They are oasis of tranquility in the middle of this chaotic modern life.

  The truth is, not even I know the real reason of my visits. Maybe is because of the statuary, or the trees and the birds singing, or even for the peace that I used to feel in those places. But I think the main reason is actually the fact that I often prefer the company of the dead instead of the living. But although I loved this hobby, I stopped strolling through the graveyards after an episode that marked me.

  In a calm afternoon, as soon as I got some free time I went to my favorite one. The place’s atmosphere is different, either because of the nature surrounding the site, as the energy that the place exiles. Like it were the gathering point between the living and the dead. Such as if the visitors were able to turn to them when life weighs, seeking advice. It almost seems that we are in fact heard. This, coming from me that always was a little bit skeptical. Imagine the mystical ones.

  So there was me as usual, wondering around adrift among the graves, with my hands on my pockets, staring at the motionless and lachrymose angels, kicking little stones I found in my way. Until in the distance, I saw a young woman.

  She was all dressed in white, with a long skirt, a lace blouse with long sleeves and a scarf. And she was dancing. Dancing in the middle of the cemetery! She had such gracious and light moves that seemed like she was floating. Before I could note she whirled and went to another street. Without thinking, I followed her. I wanted to see her closely.

  I ran to the corner of the street and hid behind a woman in marble, dressed in a cape, covering her face with both hands. I stared at the path ahead, and there was the young woman again. I had to approach. I walked slowly to where she was.

  How beautiful was she. Owner of a shiny hair, long and brunette, she had an angel face and a very elegant appearance. I wasn’t able to interrupt her. Her moves were so gorgeous that hypnotized me. Even at that distance I could notice a ring in her finger. It was golden and a ruby glistened at the Sun when she lifted her arm to enrich even more her dance steps.

  She didn’t see me, or at least, pretended that not. She seemed so concentrated in her dance that she probably didn’t notice what was happening around her. She seemed unreachable. I even felt intimidated by that pretty and mysterious figure.

  I kept watching her until in a new spin, she went to another street. Worried about the possibility of losing sight of the dancer, I went after her, but not fast enough. When I reached the street she was not there anymore. Agile girl.

  I went back home a little disappointed, I wanted to keep watching that ballet, either beautiful as unusual. I couldn’t stop thinking about the dancer. Even in my dreams she showed up without asking. And she danced the same gracious way she did at the cemetery. She seemed so happy. I don’t even need to tell that I woke up in the next morning determined to go back there at the same time to see her again. I knew it was insane. That the probability of her being the again was minimum, and as much as I liked, I couldn’t lose all my afternoons wandering around the cemetery. But I couldn’t stop my will. And at the same time as the day before, there was me again, waiting for the mysterious dancer.

  And for my surprise and joy, there was she, as the day before! Beautiful, dressed in white, dancing with the same lightness. The ruby in her ring was glinting in the Sun, such as her hair. And I, that always got irritated with questions like: ''Why do you like to visit cemeteries? How macabre!'', started to ask myself the reason why a girl like her, able to fascinate all the living decided to spent her days dancing in such an atypical place. To me, her dance was a sweet celebration of life in the middle of remains.

  I went back there every day, and every day she was there, to my happiness. I had to speak to her soon, after all, I didn’t know for how long my luck would last.

  It was me that always left the cemetery first, irritated with the fascination I felt for a stranger that I met in such an unusual place or for my despair when I lost sight of her.

  In an afternoon as usual, I was hidden behind a tomb watching her. She approached a simple grave and stopped dancing. And then she kneeled down in front of it, and started to chat with whoever was buried there. After that, she remained silent for a long time, gazing upon the tomb.

  I thought that was my chance to come close to her. I couldn’t, but I had to know who she was. I needed to join courage before she vanished again. There were no guarantees that she would be back in the next afternoon, and the next, and further, but I felt paralyzed, like a supernatural strength gluing me to the ground. I stood there, once again, watching her from afar. I could not take my eyes off of her. Everything in that girl was fascinating. Partly I feared frustration by the moment I heard her speak – what exactly happened to me before many girls I’ve met. The magic would fade away. Or worst: she was so divine I feared that she could dissipate with my approach.

  I shook my head, misbelieving myself. I was always so down to earth. I couldn’t be so fascinated with a mad grave dancer.

  In a burst of lucidity I quickly left and went home. It was a pleasant Friday. The afternoon was nice. There were few clouds in the sky. It was chilly, but under the Sun it was possible to get warm fast.

  By the evening, I went out with some friends. I wanted to laugh, drink and forget the girl I was chasing. I felt stupid. But it was impossible to forget her. I didn’t say a word, just remained seated, looking at the pint of beer.

  ''What's wrong? Asked one of my friends.''

  ''Nothing. – I replied giving that stupid answer of someone who is sure that is not convincing anyone.''

  ''Oh, come on? You want me to believe it?''

  ''I’ve been to the cemetery today.''

  ''Again? You have to stop with this. Or maybe is better for you to get a job as a gravedigger, or a cemetery janitor, this way you can walk around there all day and be paid for it!'' Said him laughing.

  ''Do you want to know what happened or not?''

  ''All right I’m sorry. Shoot.''

  ''There was a girl there.''

  ''Alive ir dead?''

  ''Oh, forget it!''

  But somehow, he was right. I haven’t spoken to that girl, much less touched her. And she really roamed around there like she was a ghost. So, that started to intrigue me.

  I got home at day-break. After all, I got so drunk I took a long time to hit the key in the keyhole. I woke up in the morning with a strong headache. Turned my head and looked at the clock. It was almost the time. I got up so quickly it was like all my hangover was cured in a second. I dressed up fast and left.

  When I realized, I was at the cemetery waiting for the dancer again, thinking I was insane. Until, she showed up. Like the other days.

  This time, no strength could hold me down. I had to speak to her. I walked quickly to her direction and kept looking at her closely. She was really sweet. I got even more hypnotized.

  She was completely absorbed in her dance, but as soon she noticed my presence, she looked at me like she was expecting my visit. I thought she would be scared, or even mad with my presence, but she didn’t get affected. Only turned and
asked me:

  ''You come here often, don’t you?''

  ''Yes.'' It was everything I could say after a few seconds of an awkward silence, only staring at her.

  ''Oh. And why were you watching me?''

  I got completely embarrassed by her question. Never a girl had let me so nervous. She stared at me with those hazel eyes waiting for an answer.

  ''I chase pretty girls in cemeteries.'' I said, making a bad joke to control my uneasiness.

  She burst into laughter. Her laugh was as beautiful as everything in her. I could stay there all day listening to her.

  ''I like it here. I feel free. – Said her, opening her arms.''

  ''It is a good place to escape life.''

  ''There is nobody who understands it, right?''

  ''Now there is.'' I said smiling. She smiled back embarrassed and lowered her head. Then I gathered the courage to ask her:

  ''Would you dance with me?'' I said stretching out my hand. At first she hesitated, but then, smiled and accepted.

  ''Listen, I know that this cemetery is refuge to both of us, but what do you think about going to a less mournful place?''

  ''I, I can’t.'' She said stopping the dance.

  ''I am getting ahead of myself? I’m sorry. I promise we’ll go just as friends.''

  ''No, it is not that. You would never understand.''

  ''Please, I just want to know you better. I think you are fascinating.''

  ''There is nothing fascinating about me. I’d rather be here with the dead. That’s it. Human beings that still breathe scare me and I got more and more disappointed with the world of the living every day.''

  ''Maybe you’re right. But please, give me a chance to prove that not all of us are bad.'' I said stretching my arm to touch hers. I couldn’t believe how much I was contradicting myself.

  She went back, avoiding my touch.

  ''I’m sorry. I can’t go with you.''

  ''I know that you want and need the company of someone that is alive and understands you.''

  ''Who are you to know what I need? Please, leave me alone.''

  I started to speak again, but then I stopped. It was useless. I took a deep breath and disappointed I said to her: ''If you change your mind, I will be back tomorrow. I won’t give up so easily. ''

  When I turned around, she called me and said.

  ''Listen. You didn’t tell me your name.''

  ''You didn’t tell yours either.''

  ''Be here tomorrow and I will.''

  And then she said good-bye. That answer filled me with hope.

  I spend an extremely agitated night. I dreamed of her and when I woke up covered in sweat, I didn’t care about anything, only her. I wanted to see her dancing and speak to her again. I wanted to touch her without her trying to escape.

  Apprehensive, that afternoon I went to the cemetery begging heavens for her to be there. I reached the gates, avid for her dance, her laugh.

  I looked for her in every street, graveyard and mausoleum. But for my complete despair, she wasn’t there. I didn’t know what to do. For me, nothing else mattered, only the dancer.

  Disorientated, I went to the grave she used to kneel in front. Maybe she was there. A new hope grew inside of me and I ran over there. I remembered that I’ve never had the curiosity to know who were buried in that grave.

  That reminded me of those ghost stories were the departed is seen visiting his own grave and I shivered. Would be this the reason why she didn’t want to leave the graveyard?

  Worried about the remote possibility, I approached the grave slowly and read the inscription:

  Patiently, he waits in heaven

  Until his beloved ones have a chance

  To join him and the angels

  In the eternal dance

  Him? I was relieved for a few seconds, after that I got somehow jealous. Then I felt ridiculous. Anyone could be in that tomb. Man, boy, or even a baby. There was no dating on it. Only those verses and some birds carved in the marble. The deceased could be even a stranger to her, capable of captivate her only buy that poem in his tombstone. A posthumous affection.

  I looked down, and there was her ruby ring. I knew she’d left there for me to remind her. At least I wanted it to be the reason. I grabbed the ring and let the stone to shine at the Sun one more time. I started to use it in a chain around my neck. It’s the only thing I have to remember that enchanting and mysterious woman.

  Anyway, I thought it was better to stop with my cemetery tours. And about one thing I am sure: I’ll be back only when my time of dancing with the angels arrives.

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