She always hated feet. I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t get it.
When I was a little boy, I had this recurring dream. Well, I used to think it while I was awake. I didn’t know where it came from. I thought that everyone thought of things like this. I was in a graveyard. I was naked and I couldn’t find a way home. I was buried alive—well, alive in the same way that I thought I was dreaming—naked and alone.
I wandered back and forth through the night. I was embarrassed and scared. I tried to follow someone out, but I couldn’t find my way home. I started to like it there.
One night, I heard someone softly crying in the absolute stillness of the trees. One whisper of a tear drew my sight to the grave of a girl that I saw a man who could not see me fill in a few days earlier.
There was no name on her grave. There had been no one on her funeral. I had heard the man digging the grave talking to himself as he shook his head. No family. No one knew where she came from. Scars on her face. The strangest clothing, all custom fits, patterns that no one wore. No one claimed the body, so an old man, once a veteran of The Great War, made sure she had a place to rest. Her gave her the lot, but didn’t come to the funeral.
But she was not resting. I heard her softly crying in the absolute stillness of the heartbroken trees in the darkest night. I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
I dragged myself over to her. She could hear my footsteps. She was quiet. I could hear her trying to hide her breath. She couldn’t.
“Hello?” I said gently. She didn’t answer. “I can hear you down there. I hope you’re not lost like me. I want to go home, but I can’t find my way out.”
She didn’t answer. I didn’t care. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I slept by her grave. It was the warmest one around. At night I got scared, I could hear screaming and crying sometimes. But I wasn’t alone anymore, so I wasn’t the same kind of frightened.
One day, she laughed at a joke I made. She wouldn’t admit it, but I heard a giggle.
Another day, I heard her whisper good morning.
One night, I heard her wish me sweet dreams.
Then, just as I thought about leaving her grave, just as I thought about following a man home who had been screaming for god and getting no answer in return, she spoke to me.
“What are you doing here?” She asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I woke up here and I was alone, but I heard you down there.”
“Have you been waiting for me?”
“I guess… In a way.”
“I’ve been staring at my feet forever now.”
“Come on out.”
“I think I was too.”
“How did you get out?”
I didn’t have any idea, but a soul spoke through me, which I guess they do from time to time in varying degrees.
“You don’t have to stay in there anymore.”
“But how do I get out of my grave?”
Again, I had no idea how to respond, but something spoke through me, the same way they seem to do all the time.
“You don’t need that body anymore.”
Then, she was with me, in the graveyard, no more scars on her face and I didn’t feel naked anymore. She didn’t know where to go, so the two of us held hands and started to try to find our way home.
I think she was just happy she didn’t have to stare at her feet anymore.