Yesterday I trekked out to Staten Island. I only go out there for one reason and it is to pay my respects to my best friend Jean. He passed away over eleven years ago but to this day holds a place in my life. I’ve made it a point to go out there at least once a year, tidy up around where he rests, place flowers and reflect. I also talk out loud about adventures we had together. It is my way to ensure that Jean’s memory will continue as long as I have air in my lungs and thoughts in my head.
It was a beautiful Sunday to visit. Took the ferry over to Staten Island and then hopped on the train till we arrived to Pleasant Plains. The walk to the cemetery isn’t far, but winding. Not to mention there are streets without sidewalks so you find yourself walking as close to the makeshift curb as possible. We passed by houses decorated for the holidays and I was holding onto an assortment of flowers that was to be our gift to Jean. We entered the grounds of the cemetery and there were a number of people paying respects to their lost loved ones. As we walked up towards Jean’s lot and plot, we passed various headstones with dates that either appeared to be too young to have passed or those who lived full lives.
Jean is located just west of a lovely tree which has chimes attached to it. As we walked closer to his grave, I saw someone had placed a small Christmas plant in front of his headstone. Must have been family or other friends and was very nice. I did a little landscaping, cleaning off leaves and pods from his grave before firmly pressing stems first the flowers we picked for him. I dusted off his headstone and found a rock laying behind his headstone which I placed on top. I do not remember the significance of the stone, I think it was to mean that someone visited, but I saw so many others with it that I didn’t want to allow him to feel left out. I then removed my hat and stood there. Talking about the good times. Updating him about my life. My loves. My losses. I always want him to hear about what my life has been doing if he doesn’t have time to check in through the clouds. I told him about P and how she has the look and feel of the one but Jean knows me better than most and can tell whether she is the one for me. At that time the chimes, which were ringing due to the breeze, suddenly stopped chiming. The silence and stillness in the air may have been his answer. I don’t know. Jean had tough love in him but when it came to relationships, he always had a soft touch when giving me advice. I looked up into the sky and the sun was blinding, painting the world golden. I looked down at his grave with tears in my eyes. 11 years has been far too long and it is cruel that the world hasn’t had a chance to experience his laughter, humor and amazing ability to be a great friend. There are so many people I know and love he had not the chance to meet but had he met them, would instantly become dear friends. I patted the top of his headstone, told him I’m always thinking of him and love him and will be back next year. I told him before I left, one day, I’ll come with the woman I love and will marry. After all, he’s a part of my life.