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10:00 p.m. - 2012-04-17
Victor Metzger
There is a cemetary near my house, hilly, moderately maintained and rarely visited, with headstones dating back to the 1850s and etched in at least a half-dozen languages.

My kids and I have been going there for years, afternoons when we're all driving each other crazy; they play tag and count angels and I read headstones and get sad. We stay in the back, where no one can see us and no one can get offended. And I like to think that the dead like company; they're not forgotten when my daughter traces the names with her fingers and I read the inscriptions and wonder, Who were you? Were you as alive as me and my kids before you died?

The first headstone you see when you come in the back way, like we do, is the headstone of little boy of about 2:

Victor Metzger
Our Boy


Oh crap, the weirdest thing just happened. I was going to write about that and some of the other really sad headstones, when I heard Cashy calling me from upstairs. "Mommy! Mama! Ma!" It sounded like his throat was dry and croupy, which happens at night sometimes when the heat is on and i forget to turn on his humidifier. I said, "Cashy I'm coming!" and went upstairs, but when I went into his room the humidifier was on and he was fast asleep and snoring slightly. Was it Mar? I checked on her; she was out cold.

"Who wanted me?" I asked both of them and neither of them stirred.

So I came back downstairs.

What I was just about to write was that I often wonder about Victor Metzger's parents and why they chose to write "our boy," instead of just dates and a biblical verse. He must have been a first child and so wanted; how could they possibly have buried a little boy Cashy's age and survived?

Last night cashy was sick and fell asleep in my arms like a baby, and I thoguht of Victor Metzger because I know Cashy will get better. I imagine Victor's mother must have held her boy and rocked him as I do mine.

That's what I was thinking -- how real Victor Metzger was -- not just a name and a date -- when I heard one of my children calling me in that hoarse voice ... though both of them are sleeping...



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