Friday, August 3
falling into graves
The inside of the kitchen door was dirty, splashed with something that had been thrown into the nearby bin. I closed the door and started scrubbing it. A small voice from the other room piped up, "Mummy?" I ignnored it and kept on scrubbing.
"Mummy? Can't you get out?"
I laughed and replied that I was fine. I heard Carlo walk in and call "Hello family!" which he has suddenly taken to announcing on his arrival. I opened the door, now clean, to find him delicately rubbing his leg.
"Owww, it hurts!" he moaned, twisting around to examine a line of scratches running from calf to thigh.
"What did you do now?" I sighed.
"A grave collapsed as I was walking over it and I fell into the hole."
"Oh," I replied, not really knowing what else to say.
Later that evening as we lay in bed it occured to me that the scratches ran all the way up to his thigh. In my mind that didn't make sense. I know that over time the weight of earth on top of a buried coffin can cause the coffin to collapse, bringing the earth down with it. This normally causes a dip at ground level of about 30-50cms. So if he fell into the grave how did he get scratches up to his thigh? His legs aren't that short. And also, what was he doing on top of a grave?
" Well," he replied, "the marble grave markers are quite a bit shorter that the coffins that are underneath otherwise there wouldn't be any room to pass in between the graves...There just isn't enough space in the cemetary so it has to be done like this...I know it's not nice but you're only walking over the feet part of the coffin underneath...And sometimes they just cave in."
"But how did you end up thigh deep?" I asked, "if the coffin is only about 50cms high, isn't that how deep you would fall?"
"No, because the earth on top of the coffin is dry like dust, it just...goes...like when you step in mud...it moves sideways...so I fell all the way down."
"But surely that's dangerous? It could happen to anyone!"
"What? You think this hasn't happened before? Of course it has! What can I do about it?"
"Make the gravemarkers longer?" Visions of old wrinkly widows placing flowers on their husbands graves before toppling into a gaping hole flashed through my head.
""There would be no room for a pathway if we did that. Space, thats the problem here. Not enough space."
"Carlo? We're doing it again."
"We're having one of those freaky graveyard conversations IN BED! Its not normal! Lets talk about something else please."
"Oh, OK, ummm, what are you doing tomorrow?
"Well I certainly won't be visiting you at work."
at 10:51 AM