The cemetery

When I was young and jobless and it was their world, I used to run through the old unkempt cemetery, weaving between the crooked tombstones and jumping over the thicket. People sometimes shouted at me for not running on the path, but I always ran on as though I hadn’t heard. I was just passing through. It seemed important to run every day, sometimes twice a day, and always along the same route. It gave my life structure. I’d run home and stand at my window while I waited for the doddery shower to warm up. The window gave on a slant of the river that wound through the town. I often stood watching it carry its grimy load seaward. Sometimes a kind of mental mist would steal over me like a shiver and make me feel like a stranger in my own body. As evening fell, my reflection would appear in the window, slowly replacing the river. The more I examined my face — those empty unblinking eyes and straight lips — the harder it was to feel it was mine. It was a thing among things, untenanted. At times I was afraid my soul would detach itself altogether from my body and float away. This feeling came mostly at dusk. Then I’d put on my windbreaker and run through the cemetery again. It was always empty at dusk.


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