“I’m sorry I just don’t get it.” Charlie said as he hobbled along, a loaded down backpack on his back and a rolled blanket under his arm.
Rebecca was following the funnel of light coming from her flashlight. She sighed loudly.
“Samhain is a liminal night which means that the veil between our world and the world of the dead is at its thinnest which means there’s increased odds of having an otherworldly encounter especially on hallowed ground.”
“No I mean get that, I’m saying, why am I carrying a plastic pumpkin filled with candy?”
“It’s Halloween.” she stated obviously.
She kept leading him deeper into the old cemetery.
“How much further?” Charlie moaned.
“We have to get far enough from the road that cars won’t see us when they drive by.”
As they walked the ground sloped and leveled out.
“Here’s good.” She said indicating a clearing among the grave plots.
Charlie gladly dropped everything he was carrying and fanned out the blanket. As soon as it was settled Rebecca sat down and started going through her backpack that Charlie has so graciously carried.
She took a container of salt and made a line all around the blanket. He looked at her.
“We’re keeping AWAY any negativity that tries to intervene.”
“Yep.” He nodded absently.
She was speaking more to herself. Walking her way through her rituals.
Then she took five fat white candles and placed them around the blanket.
“Want my lighter?”
“Not yet. They have to last all night so we’ll light them later.”
“You sure? It’s pretty damn dark right now.”
“We’re fine.” She assured him, mildly annoyed.
She fished out another blanket from her bag for coverage and comfort.
Charlie looked at her. “You sure you wanna do this?”
She nodded, “Yes. I’m sure.”
Charlie was still standing and took off his shirt and sat next to
Rebecca who was already beginning to disrobe. She slipped of her top and unhooked her bra and, quicker than Charlie, she was completely naked lit only by the moon.
Charlie slowed at his pants.
“All the way.” She said.
He looked at her.
“We must be natural.”
He sighed but then shucked his pants and got down on the blanket next to her.
They both laid there side by side staring up at a sky full of stars.
“So what do we do now?” He asked sheepishly.
“Now must speak every wish and hope we have for the child.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Like out loud?”
“Yes. Out loud. And after each one light a candle.” She said.
“Okay I get it.” He said
They both thought for a moment.
“I want him too…”
“Or her.” She asserted.
“Or her,” he corrected “I’m not trying to assign any sex or expectation of gender onto them I just….
“Just…go on” She assured him.
“Right I want them to be…healthy I guess. All ten fingers ten toes.”
He fished around in his discarded pants and retrieved his lighter. He flicked it a couple of times before he got a steady flame and put it to the wick. When the candle burned strong Rebecca added hers.
“I want them to be filled with the confidence needed to never be afraid of their own identity.”
“That’s really heavy.” Charlie said as he handed her the lighter.
“Shut up, just keep thinking of stuff, we’re putting these out into this space and we’re going to use it to ensure a strong life.”
When she finished she motioned to another one of the candles and lit it to a bright strong flame.
“Right. Right. Uhh,” he was struggling “I want them to grow up being surrounded by love.”
“Good. That’s good.” Rebecca said, her eyes shut as he flicked another candle to life.
“I want them to know that nothing is expected of them but their own happiness.” She added.
“Very cool.” He admitted while she lit another candle and handed back the lighter.
“I uh…I dunno,” he continued “I just…life is hard…it’s not really designed to be a fair ride but I…I guess I want you to be one of those people who always sees the best in the every situation. The world’s a shit place and it needs more people like that and I want you to have that. But like effortlessly. You should never have to struggle to find your own joy, like most of us do.”
She looked over at him, “I want you inside me.”
His eyebrows lifted and he moved towards her. As he worked his way onto her he reached out awkwardly to light the last candle and grabbed the corner of the blanket to cover them against the chill in the air.
It was easy.
It was natural.
The progression built from an ember to a fire. They had been together long enough that everything was made in just the way it was meant to be. When they were finished he made a move to get off her.
“No, it’s okay. Stay. Leave it in.”
“You’re not…being squished.”
She gave a soft laugh “I’m fine. I just like being this close. Skin on skin.”
He smiled back at her and laid his head down and nuzzled into her shoulder. Their hearts were beating right next to each other. Completely out of sync but it was their pattern.
Some time passed and he came out naturally and moved to lay beside her.
“So…do you think ya know?” He asked indicating her uterus.
“I dunno. It would be nice. This was nice.”
“It was.” He agreed and continued “Not gonna lie I thought the whole graveyard thing was gonna…ya know put me off but I honestly forgot about it.”
“Why did you want to do it here? You didn’t really explain it that much.”
“I don’t know I mean I’m a weirdo. I thought you know there’s so much knowledge that could be gained from the spirit world and if that could help out our kid in any way that would be awesome. Plus how awesome of an origin story is this.”
“I don’t go around talking about where I was conceived.”
“Yea because it wasn’t as cool as a graveyard on Halloween night.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“I’m always right. CAUSE I’M AMAZING!” She said raising her arms in victory.
He put his arm across her chest and pulled her to him.
Rebecca looked up at the stars. A million galaxies over the vast expanse of the universe on full display for just them. She played with his fingers as she kept her eyes fixed.
“Whatcha thinking about?”
“I dunno. Nothing. Everything. All at once.”
“Yea.” Charlie understood having a crowded head.
“Have you thought about names?” He asked.
Rebecca nodded her head. “Have you?”
He gave a quick nod, “You go first.”
“Bertram?! Seriously?” He spat out.
“What?” She said innocently
“That’s a terrible name!”
She scoffed, offended.
“You’re being serious?” he questioned her.
“It was the name of a train on Thomas. I remember it when I was growing up. He was the bravest engine.”
“Yea, no one’s gonna think of that.” Charlie said popping her bubble.
“Plus it was the name of an English philosopher.”
He thought for a moment.
“I think that was BertRAND.”
“Ugh whatever, what was your name idea?”
“Comma for a girl and Oxford Comma for a boy.” He shot out.
“I’m not talking to you.”
“What, you don’t like those names?”
“There’s no way you put any thought into that.”
“I thought Comma was a cute name for a girl.”
“Yea and it sounds like common.”
“You mean the famous rapper slash actor Common?!”
“Yea no one is gonna make that connection to a super pale white girl.”
“Well what was YOUR girl name?”
There was a moment.
“I actually like that.”
“But we can’t do Bertram.”
“What about Bert”
“Eh it’s not terrible.” He admitted.
“What if we pull a name from the nearest tombstone?”
She pulled the flashlight, turned it on and lit up the nearest stone. And they both said the name in unison.
They looked at each other and after a beat both shook their heads.
“I don’t think we can pull it off.”
“Would she just come out of the womb with a pocket full of used tissues and maple nut goodies?”
"Speaking of you want some of the candy." He said motioning over to the plastic jackolantern.
"How about a Sugar Baby?" She said.
"You're my sugar baby," Charlie said as he attacked her with kisses.
Rebecca laughed as she closed her eyes and wiggled deeper into his embrace and together they drifted off to sleep.