Friday, February 3, 2017

A Picnic on a Grave: Romance Gone Wrong

A memory, from two years ago--before Mike and I were married:

    I peered out the window, admiring my favorite mint-green tree.     Once, that tree had meant nothing to me; in fact I'd thought it was ugly and twiggy. But my cat had loved the tree, basking in its shade, always rolling or stretching contentedly in the grass at its base. So, after she died, I buried her in the tree's shade, knowing there's no other place she'd rather be.
    It was almost time to drive the kids to the sitter as I stood looking out the window.  "Do you still miss our cat?" The Hippie suddenly asked me. "Because I do."
    I hugged her. "Yes, I do. I know she didn't pass long ago, but look," I pointed, "the grass is growing back around her grave. You wouldn't even know we buried her there. And at least we can go say 'hi' to her whenever we want to."
    The Hippie nodded.
    After dropping the kids off, I got a call from Mike. "Can you stay out for another half-hour?" he asked. "I have a surprise at the house for you, but it isn't ready yet."
    "Okay?" I said, not even hiding the excitement in my voice.
When I finally arrived home, the sky had darkened fully and candlelight flickered through my front windows.
    But once in the kitchen, instead of seeing Mike there, only a bunch of white candles sat on the counter.
    "Mike?" I whispered.
    Nothing.
    "Mike?"
    A trail of candles led down the stairs, so I followed them to the backyard. My breath caught in my throat as I opened the backdoor—that's when I saw it...
    Mike sat so masculine and handsome, surrounded by a ring of candles at the base of my favorite tree—ON TOP OF MY CAT'S GRAVE.
    My hand instantly covered my mouth. Why was he having a séance on her grave!
    "Elisa," Mike motioned me over, completely oblivious to my freak-out. He pointed at two steak meals resting next to him in the ring of flickering candles. But all I could stare at was the very rare steak on our plates.
    "Oh!" I choked out the word, taking a seat next to Mike, disrespectfully sitting over my dead cat all because of love. As Mike talked, I wondered if I was sitting on her entire body, or just one part, like her head or butt. Did it still look like it always had? Had it decayed already? Oh my gosh--she wasn't even that far down because I'd done a crappy job burying her!
    "Take a bite," Mike chirped, so freakin' happy!
    The meat on his fork oozed blood.
    My throat remained tight, as I tried to stay calm, but every time I took a bite of steak, I thought of how the cow was dead...and so was my damn cat. And what would SHE think of us having a party on her grave anyway—how sacrilegious was that?! She'd haunt me forever.
    "Are you okay?" Mike finally asked, getting a clue.
    "Everything is..." I turned pale like a vamp.
    "Okay?" he pro-offered. "I've tried to make this night special. What's bothering you?!"
    "It's just that..." I didn't know how to tell him. He'd tried so hard. "It's just that...," I repeated. "Don't hate me for telling you this instead of just enjoying the moment. But there's something you should know... There's a dead body buried...right underneath us."
    "You're kidding?" he asked, and I noticed he'd stopped chewing the food in his mouth.
    "No," I said.
    Mike paled, then swallowed that huge piece of steak as his rabbit-scared eyes studied me.
    "Who," he cleared his throat several times, "is buried underneath us?"
    "Simkhaw." Tears filled my eyes. "You've heard me talk about her..... Maybe a foot under—okay maybe six inches!"
    "Simkaw
?" 
     Well, wasn't he inquisitive, Mister Ring-of-Fire himself! Then he scooted slightly away from me.
   
"She loved this tree" I balked. "You're judging me for burying my cat in my yard? Sure, it's probably illegal, but she LOVED this tree. And I'm not the one who made a picnic on her grave!" He didn't respond. "I would've buried her deeper, but the ground is hard out here! I couldn't dig farther than that!"
    "Your...cat," he mouthed.
    "Yeah, my cat. I've told you about Simkhaw before?"

 photo scary-eyes-in-the-dark-hi_zps9ieuh9fr.png     
    He shook his head. "Simkhaw...Why, no you haven't.  Holy crap, Elisa--at first I thought you were talking about a person!" And he was seriously so shook up!
   I suddenly forgot that I sat on my dead cat's grave. I forgot that Mike had created the biggest fire-hazard known to man. I also forgot that I'd probably just scared the shit-balls out of the man I loved.
    "Oh my gosh--I am so sorry." Then seeing his still horror-stricken face, I found the misunderstanding so amusing I laughed until I nearly had a six-pack. I snorted and giggled, completely red in the face.
    Then instead of being angry, Mike actually laughed too.
"Of all the romantic things I could have done," he finally said, "I made a picnic on your cat's grave and then I surrounded it with candles."
    "It does kinda look like a freaky ritual," I confessed.
    He agreed. So, we moved the entire shebang, candles and all, to the other side of the yard. And after that, we actually had a wonderful time.
    "This is a night we'll never forget," Mike said.
     I looked up into the night sky, wondering if my cat was somewhere up there, laughing her furry butt off. "You've got that right!" I said, then I blew out the candles and snuggled into Mike's arms.