Clarissa passed the stately gazebo, painted white with blue trim, that sat in the center of the cemetery. When she reached the Japanese maple, its leaves a glorious shade of red as they neared the end of their life span, Brandon’s gravestone came into sight. Clarissa stopped and sighed.
“Not again,” she moaned.
On the gravestone, someone had emblazoned the word “GAY” in a shade of paint not unlike that of the Japanese maple tree’s leaves. A mixture of sadness and anger gripped Clarissa. But there would be time for retribution later. Right now, she had to clean.
Clarissa stepped toward his grave and set the coffee on a level piece of ground next to the stone. She unzipped her purse and pulled out a small bottle of acetone and sponge that she now carried at all times.
Sweeping her long blonde hair away from her face, Clarissa carefully scrubbed the granite gravestone. But as her mind ruminated on who had perpetrated this crime and their motivations for doing so, she found herself gritting her teeth and grinding the sponge against Brandon’s grave. Clarissa closed her eyes and exhaled. After she collected herself, her motions became smooth and gentle again, as if she was washing Brandon himself.
Fifteen minutes later, she inspected her work. The red had been vanquished with the acetone. Just like Jesus does for our sins, Clarissa thought, hoping she’d remember that simile later so she could include it in her blog. She ran her fingers over the stone, tracing Brandon’s name, which was carved into the granite. Beloved son, brother, and friend. And boyfriend, Clarissa added with her finger after the word friend. She wished the stone said that, too.
Her labor now complete, Clarissa’s mind worked through a solution to the problem. Whoever was doing this had to be caught. The police had been less than helpful. Although they sympathized with Clarissa’s plight, they couldn’t do much except send extra patrols by the cemetery. It’s not like they had anything else to do in Youngstown, she’d internally grumbled. The cemetery itself didn’t even have security. She’d started shopping for a camera of some kind, one that Clarissa could leave at the cemetery to possibly catch the culprit on film, but hadn’t found one that met all of her specifications and also fit within her budget.
Clarissa breathed in the morning air. Maybe she’d have to solve the problem herself. She kissed her fingers then touched Brandon’s headstone.
“Miss you always,” she whispered.
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