Blog Entries of the Brokenhearted

By Stephanie Van Orman

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29 min.
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Magrath, Alberta, Canada

Begin with a blog.

worldofheartbreak.topblog.com Cemetery Gates

Summer vacation started yesterday. I hate school. I hate summer too, but at least this way there are no early mornings and two whole months without pep-rallies.

It’s also time for summer solstice, so the sun doesn’t dip behind the mountains until after ten. I went to the cemetery and looked at the graves. I’m getting more morbid every day. I picked out my burial plot. It’s the most pathetic patch of grass within the fence. It doesn’t overlook anything but the highway out of town. That’s the way all the graves point. It’s such a small cemetery, so my plot will probably be gone if I don’t buy it. Pity, I have no money.

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Kerry turned over in her bed. It was eleven forty-eight a.m. She should get out of bed, but she refused to stir as she glared at her alarm clock. It wasn’t past noon yet, so she couldn’t get up.

She could hear Aaron in the living room. Her younger brother was watching Saturday morning wrestling. He didn’t even like wrestling. He just couldn’t think of anything else to do besides watch T.V.

Kerry wasn’t like that. She hated T.V. She hated sports. She hated cooking.

Her only interest was delving deeper into the dark waters of her own consciousness. She spent hours reading the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickenson. She liked to examine art that made her feel like the person who painted it felt one-tenth of the depth of emotion that she did. Who knew if anyone had ever felt exactly the way she did?

She didn’t know how to describe it. Life was a wasteland. Grade nine was wretched. Grade ten couldn’t be any better. Her schoolmates were always the same. She’d been with the same fifty kids since grade two and she didn’t know that even one of them was anything akin to her. It wasn’t that they were unkind to her. It was like she was a ghost who moved through their halls. They all knew she was there, but they would rather pretend that she wasn’t.

Now summer had begun and she knew how it would go. Her mother was an LPN in the city and she worked long hours during the school year. Summer affected no change in her schedule. Kerry’s father was an on-again-off-again figure. Sometimes he was around. Sometimes he wasn’t. So, Kerry would cook for her helpless brother and overworked mother. The meals she scrounged up were less than pretty, but at least they would eat. Not that Kerry cared whether the lot of them starved.

That was her life.

She rolled over and pushed herself out of bed. Now it was twelve-o-one, so she could get up. She had some idea of going back to the cemetery that day after she finished her chores.

Besides cooking, Kerry only had one chore. It was her job to go out and pick the litter off their front yard. They lived two doors down from the only convenience store in town, so there were always candy wrappers and empty slushie cups stuck in the grass. If someone didn’t pick it up regularly, it would get to be a mess, like their next-door neighbor’s, and regardless of their continual troubles, Kerry’s mother couldn’t stand the trash.

The sun was bright as Kerry picked up the garbage. She worked all the way to the property line. Even with the gigantic ‘No Trespassing’ sign out front, the house beside theirs was turning into a trash heap. Kerry didn’t know much about the old lady who lived there – only that she was a famous crab. As she stood there, there was a nagging in her heart that she ought to help out and tidy up the lady’s lawn, too, but she wasn’t sure if she would get yelled at for crossing the property line. In the end, Kerry turned away and went back into the house.

By two o’clock, she was ready to head down to the cemetery, but as soon as she’d walked a block, she saw that it wasn’t a good day to go. There was a hearse in the church parking lot.

Two things stopped Kerry from going to the funeral. The first one was that funerals were social occasions in her small town. If she went, she would undoubtedly be spoken to by at least half a dozen people and she didn’t want to talk to anyone. The second reason was that she didn’t know who had died. Likewise, in a small town, she should have heard.

Turning around, she headed back towards home.


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Burial Plot

Yesterday someone was buried in my burial plot. I’m in shock. The person who died was a seventeen year old boy. His name was Tenant Miller and he died a week and a half ago.

The curious thing about it is that he’s not from around here. I didn’t realize that the burial place I picked out for myself was actually part of his family’s plot. All to the right of him are Millers. His grandparents lived here twenty years ago and no one has seen anything of Tenant’s parents in decades. It’s so strange. He wasn’t from here. He didn’t belong here and now he’s going to be here for eternity.

Why?

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Kerry woke up. The moon was a white disc of light and it was aligned perfectly so it could shine through the vertical gap between her window frame and the Venetian blinds. She got up and looked out the window. The night was beautiful.

Then slowly, she heard something. It took her a minute before she realized that someone was in the living room watching T.V. Kerry tiptoed out and found her brother watching a late-night dating show.

“What are you watching?” she asked as a scantily clad woman explained how her boyfriend didn’t satisfy her in bed.

“Nothing,” Aaron answered flicking to another channel that was showing a black and white film. Then he flipped again to a Star Trek episode and then again to late-night news.

She knew better than to imagine that he was really interested in the dating show. Anything he hadn’t seen before was a welcome change.

“Hey,” he suddenly said. “Do you want to watch something with me? I rented some movies tonight.”

“Didn’t you already watch them?” she asked, picking them up and examining the titles.

“Yeah, but I could watch them again.”

Kerry hadn’t heard of any of the movies he rented and from their titles, she didn’t want to watch them.

“Shouldn’t you go to bed?” she asked.

“What for? I don’t sleep anyway.” He flipped again to the dating show.

Kerry sat on the couch in the glow of the T.V. screen. His online gaming had been better than this. At least that way he got into parties and talked to the people he played with. It was because their computer was broken that things had degenerated this far. Even she had to use the library computer to write on her blog, but she didn’t mind because she was going there anyway to pick up her books.

Aaron,” she said, standing up. “Watch one of these movies instead of this dumb show. This can only rot your brain.”

“And what you do is so much better?” he snapped.

Kerry didn’t know how to answer that. She got up and went back to bed, but instead of sleeping, she wrote in her journal. It was like her blog. No one ever read either of them.


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My Tenant

They put up Tenant’s tombstone yesterday. I started by taking a rubbing of it. Then I decided to draw it. After that, I drew a picture of what I thought Tenant himself could look like. I drew six. They’re at the bottom. I like the third one best. I think he was blond with dark tragic eyes.

I think I could be satisfied with the plot next to his. Do you think his family has already bought it? I want to go to the town offices and check, but do you think they’ll take me seriously? I think they’ll tell me to go home and then spread the news around town that I asked. Maybe I can put it in my will.

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Kerry’s interest in Tenant grew and as it grew it became increasingly unhealthy. She wanted to die. She wanted to lie beside him and forget about her whole life. And when she sat next to his tombstone or leaned against the back of it, she felt her loneliness slip away.

She told him how she failed gym class and how she’d been held back a grade in grade two. She would have been in the grade beneath his if she hadn’t flunked.

She read him her favorite poetry and even read him her favorite book cover to cover.

Yet, even though she shared all this with him, she didn’t know anything about him. She didn’t know how he died. After considering all the possibilities, she decided that he had been killed in a car accident. She didn’t know what he looked like, so she picked his looks. Soon she had his personality all mapped out in her head and when she talked to him, she knew what he would say in return.

What if his ghost were with her? She was a ghost anyway. They were the perfect couple. She wanted to fall asleep next to him and dream the dreams of the dead – his dreams. What did he dream of?

And she wasted the hours of her life leaning against the monument of Tenant’s wishing she was dead too.


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Date with the Dead

This Wednesday there is going to be a full moon and I’ve planned a date for Tenant and me. Do you think he’ll go with me?

I’m going to pick him up at the cemetery at nine o’clock and take him down the coulee to this tiny stream I know. He’s not from around here, so he won’t have seen it before. Then we’re going to have a little picnic. He won’t be interested in the food. He’ll just have to devour me with his eyes. I’ll have grape juice and sandwiches, but only because of my medical condition. It’s called Being Alive. I’ll have to remedy that someday.

We’ll lie on a blanket and talk about our dreams and I’ll tell him one of my favorite fairytales. Then I’ll take him home and maybe … if I’m lucky … he’ll kiss me.

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Kerry was careful when she got ready that night. She had a shower and curled her hair. Then she put on a short jean skirt with black leggings and knee-high boots. Then she put on a white T-shirt, a red knit cardigan and went out into the kitchen to pack her supper.

“Where are you going dressed like that?” Aaron said, actually peeling himself off the couch to have a look at her getup.

She looked down at herself. Yeah, she might have overdone it. In a small town, she looked ridiculous. Well, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t like she was going to meet anyone other than Tenant. So, she turned her nose upwards, packed her juice box along with a crystal goblet and grabbed a blanket from the supply cupboard.

On her way to the cemetery, she saw a total of three people. Two were teenage girls in the grade below her. They were walking towards her house after going to the store. Each one was carrying an ice cream cone. Kerry couldn’t help but notice it when they dropped a wet napkin on her next-door neighbor's lawn. She turned her head and pretended not to notice what they did, but instead of becoming less involved, she became more involved. She saw a curtain flicker. The old lady had definitely seen them.

Kerry hurried on. She didn’t want to have anything to do with the garbage trail. It was summer, so her yard had been unusually free of trash. She had only had to clean up once that week, but the neighbor’s looked like school was still in session and everyone was dropping their lunch trash in the same yard.

The last person she saw was the driver of a pickup truck. He was pulling out of the cemetery as she was walking in, but he was too far away, so she didn’t register anything except that someone was coming out as she was going in. It could have been anyone.

She walked to the far end of the cemetery and stood in front of Tenant’s grave.

“Hello darling,” she said out loud. “Are you ready?”

Then she walked to the coulee just like she planned.

The coulees in that area were amazing. The prairie stretched out long and hard and then abruptly dipped in. In the coulee, the grass grew in lush green heaps. There were mosquitoes because of the stream, but it didn’t stop the wildflowers from spreading like a brush fire.

Kerry was happy as she sat by herself and pretended she was on a date. She had never been on one before. She thought the boys in her high school had nothing to offer her if they had liked her, which they didn’t. She was on her own there … just like now.

Later, she sat on the gate of some farmer’s land and watched the sunset. When twilight fell, she started walking back to the graveyard. Once she got there, there was no one to kiss goodnight to. There was no one to smile at or thank for a good time. There was nothing.

There had to be something.

She lied down on the grass beside Tenant’s grave and put her arm over where his body should be under the grass. The night was warm and more than anything, Kerry did not want to go home. She wanted to die and sleep there next to someone who had never neglected her, who had never shut her down, and who had never told her she was too different for them to be together.

Eventually, she fell asleep. She didn’t dream at all. She was merely conscious one moment and deeply asleep the next.

Morning came.

She was bitterly cold. It was summer, but she was frozen to the bone. The sun was rising, but she felt frost-bitten. And she still had to walk home.

Rising, she wondered what time it was.

Hey! What are you doing here?” someone shouted from down the gravel road of the cemetery.

Kerry fell backward at the sound of his voice. That was what had woken her. It was the sound of his truck. Glancing at the gates, it was the same truck she had seen leaving the cemetery when she came the night before.

Standing in front of her was John Tracton. He lived on the other side of town and he was in the grade above her, so she knew his name. He was wearing beaten up running shoes, torn jeans, an ancient paint shirt, a mucky baseball cap, and work gloves.

Kerry stood up, immediately heated by the embarrassment of being caught in her guilty pleasure.

“Um, I was just leaving,” she muttered as she gathered up her stuff and tried to pass him.

His face was extremely distressed as he looked at the tombstone and her clothes, which he undoubtedly recognized from the night before. Dressing up cute in a small farming town didn’t go unnoticed.

“Wait. Was he a friend of yours?” John asked concernedly pointing to Tenant’s monument.

“No,” she felt bound to admit. “I didn’t know him.” She started down the gravel road towards the gates.

“If you didn’t know him, then why did you spend the night here? That’s downright creepy.” He paused then shouted, “Hang on. Did something worse happen to you than just you sleeping here? Why didn’t you go home?

Mercy! He thought she’d come here in desperation after someone abused her the night before! “No. Nothing weird happened. I’m fine. Leave me alone,” she snapped. Kerry was panting now in her hurry to get away from him. Didn’t he realize that he should just forget what he saw?

“Wait,” he said, running up beside her and speaking quieter. “Let me take you home. If someone sees you walking home, looking like that at this hour you’re going to look like …” he hesitated uncomfortably before he finished saying, a girl walking home in the morning.”

She paused. He was right. She didn’t want anyone to see her. Gossip knew no bounds in a town like this. She looked around helplessly and saw his truck. He had a lawnmower in the back. “But aren’t you supposed to be cutting the grass for the town? Won’t your boss be mad if you take off?”

He smirked and opened the vehicle door for her. “You’ve got to be kidding. Taking you home won’t take me five minutes. He won’t notice. Get in.”

Kerry got in the truck and looked straight in front of her while he revved the engine.

She wished she knew more about John. She didn’t know if he was the type of person who would keep this a secret. Truly, of all the guys in the grade above hers, he was the one she knew the least about.

“Hey,” Kerry said when they started driving. “Do you think you could keep this a secret?”

“Why?” he asked. His voice was mildly uncomfortable.

“People already think I’m a weirdo. Can we not make it worse?”

“I never thought you were a weirdo.”

She groaned. Well, if he didn’t before, he definitely did now.

“So, why did you go there?” he asked, turning his brown eyes on her.

She put her head in her hands and put her face between her knees. “I hate it here. I hate being alone. I wish I was dead.”

He didn’t answer.

When she lifted her head, she couldn’t bear to look at him. Her face was tear-streaked and she was mortified that she had broken down and told him something like that. It was like a desperate call for help, but at the same time, she didn’t want to seem like she was trying to get attention.

“If you hate being alone, why don’t you make some friends?” he asked.

She snorted and when she spoke, her tone was sarcastic. “Yeah. I wonder why I didn’t think of that. Exactly who am I supposed to make friends with? I live in probably the second most crumbled down house in town. Socialites beware. And who isn’t a socialite in this town? Kids from school obviously don’t respect anything about me. They are always throwing their litter in my yard and guess who gets to pick it up sometimes every damn day?

He flinched.

Then he pulled up in front of her house. There was trash on her lawn. Kerry got out of the truck and on her way up the front walk she kicked an empty pop bottle out of her way.

He didn’t understand.

When she came into the house, she went straight to the bathroom. When she looked in the mirror she saw that her face was a mess. There were mosquito bites from the middle of her forehead to her temple and three under her right eye. She had been sleeping on her left side, so that side had been open. Besides that, she saw that John was right. She looked like the survivor of a one-night-stand.

Terrific.


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About Stephanie Van Orman

Stephanie Van Orman writes wildly imaginative books. A native Canadian, she lives in the forests of Vancouver Island on a permanent writing retreat. Overlooking cedars and pines, she plans her novels, exploring the very best ways to carry her readers to new heights of suspense, magic, and romance.

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