Jaycin took a deep breath and rolled her shoulders back before she approached the rusted iron gate. She took the bobby pin from her carefully styled curls. Her tongue slipped out of the side of her mouth and she bent down in concentration, intending to pick the lock. As it turned out, the worn instrument snapped to pieces in her hands as soon as her fingers came in contact with the cool metal.
She hesitated, surprised at how easily the gate came open. This was an old cemetery, or, at least the oldest within walking distance. It was constructed the year she was born, according to its faded sign. Looking around now, she found the whole scene rather ironic. The grass was brown and overgrown, and the gate clearly hadn’t been fixed in years. Yet, each headstone gleamed like new, thanks to the team of charity workers that would clean them up every Sunday, A small smile curled up the corners of the young girl’s lips– at least Kingston cared about its people, if nothing else.
She wove her way through the rows of memorials, until she finally found what she was looking for. Nestled in the very back of the plot was a small, inconspicuous little monument inscribed with the name Kenneth Beurlay. She walked over and brushed off some moss that had attached itself to the top of the stone.
“Hi… Dad.” The word caught in her throat and she fiddled with the rip in her tattered jeans, it was the first time she had been here since he passed, a little over a year ago. She had tried many times of course, but could never quite work up the nerve. This old place had always given her the creeps, and she never would understand why her father requested being put to rest here of all places. Lothbrok cemetery had been a haunting ground for as long as it had existed. Her father never believed in ghosts, but he did love lores and legends. Jaycin had long suspected his passion for the unknown was what had led him to become the adventurer he’d been.
Over the course of Jaycin’s life, she had seen Kenneth confront and triumph over more daring feats than she cared to count. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro when Jaycin was only three, skydived over volcanoes in Hawaii, swam in the Arctic, investigated the Bermuda triangle… if it seemed impossible, he had probably done it. Most people in Kingston thought her father was insane, but to Jaycin, he was a hero. Whenever she asked him if he was afraid, he would always offer the same hearty laugh and reply, “Honey, the unknown is just another chance for your next great adventure.”
Jaycin had always loved that saying, though she didn’t comprehend its meaning at the time. Since her father passed away, she’d been trying to embrace his words for all they were worth. It had become her motto, and his voice in her head was the only reason she’d made it this far with Randy. She only wished he could be here to see it.
“So… I have some news.” She pulled the modest engagement ring out of her pocket and slipped in on her finger, imagining him watching from somewhere high above the clouds. The ring was nothing elaborate, just a simple silver band adorned with a small sapphire, her birthstone, and engraved with infinity symbols on either side. It was perfect. “Randy proposed last night… we’re getting married next June.” her smile faltered a little. She squatted next to the stone and continued tracing her father’s name with her finger. “I was so scared when I first saw him down on his knee like that… I mean, we’ve been together almost three years now, but… I only had the courage to say yes because of what you always told me. I’m starting my next adventure… I just hope I don’t mess it up.”
She took a deep breath and sat silently for a minute. A gentle wind whistled past her ears, and she could swear she heard his voice.
You won’t, Jay Jay. Just have a little faith. I’ll always be with you, but now it’s time to follow your heart. I love you.”
Jaycin smiled and squinted up into the colorful sunset. “I love you too, Dad. Always.”