The graves clung to the side of the hill. They looked like wide speed bumps covered in crushed marble, divided by strips of Georgia red clay. The wind whipped among the headstones. My toes were icy and my ears hurt from the wind. My legs were mottled red and pink and ached. I pulled on my mother’s hand trying to force her to our car. She was determined to find our family connections.
At last she said, “Come here and get inside my coat.” Her wide, red, wool, swing coat had extra room. Room enough for mama and me. My back pressed against her belly and her arms wrapped around me. Sharing her warmth—as always.
She unbuttoned the middle buttons so my face could poke out. We stood on the hillside like a totem. Mama reading family names and me breathing in her scent and warmth.
When the car driving past us slid off the road and hit the loose gravel, we both turned to look. The man driving had a confused, frightened look on his face. He slowed as he stared but he didn’t stop. He acted like he had never seen a two-faced being. Or maybe it was the cold wind forcing him off the road like it forced me back into mama’s red woolen nest. We moved together—four legs, four arms, one body—toward the car.
When I asked, mama said “no they aren’t cold.”
“Down below the surface,” she said “the ground is always just warm enough.” Maybe.
Maybe, but none of them have a swing coat wide enough to hold a frozen child.