Red, white, and yellow peered out from the covers of foggy drizzle and gray sky, an aberration among the bare trees and stolid grave markers, calling to him out of their difference. Swinging that way, he strode past the long dead, eyes mostly on the colors, finding a small, cheery snowman in the decorations of poinsettias, daisies and lilies, along with a petite bluebird of happiness.

Reaching the stones, he stared down at them for a few seconds. He’d expected recent deaths, but none of those were recent. Grandfather and father, side-by-side, born seventeen years apart, had died in the early nineties. Grandmother – “I’m just taking a little nap” – was born in 1929 and passed in 2006. She was the most recent.

Son and brother, never forgotten, had been born the same year as him, 1956, but the dead man had preceded him by a few months. Son and brother had passed in 1974, the same year he’d graduated high school, the same year that he’d joined the military. He noticed son and brother was exactly eighteen years old when he died.

Nothing told him about their lives and deaths, nor why the graves had been visited, or who visited them. A recent windstorm had knocked some of the flowers over. Water filled the fake plants’ pots. He emptied the water, set everything upright, and arranged the flowers.

His journey was resumed, nothing learned. It was just a little color on a dreary winter day, a short break in the accumulation of miles.


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