It's been a long time coming but I eventually take Angie's advice and go to Ria's grave. I have been so busy lately but finally
make time. Now for confidential reasons I cannot say what I was doing before coming, all I can say is that I am exhausted like you wouldn't believe. Before I travel there, I make sure to clean
off all the blood and attempt to make myself look as un messy as possible. Im wearing what I usually wear, a white tshirt, black sweat pants, my long black leather trench coat, dark sunglasses to
hide my yellow eyes and a black leather glove on my right hand to hide the markings on it. Oh and im travelling barefoot, got some strong feet and plus...I don't like wearing shoes, never
I head toward where the Romani cemetary is. It's been raining heavily again, with a
heavy fog begining to set in. I look at the graveyard as I arrive to it. It's a pretty neat little setting surrounded by a dense forest. The roma families visit this place quite often to pay
respects to loved ones. It's around late evening and there is very little light, especially with the clouds in the sky and all. Luckily the rain begins to slow and eventually only lightly
drizzles though the deep fog remains. I tell you being in a cemetary, when it's getting dark, surrounded by a deep forest and a heavy fog, this is not something normal human like to be around,
however it doesn't really bother me too much. I search around looking for something special, a certain place I need to be, and eventually I find it. I find a stone structure with a big stone
cross on top of the pointed roof. There's a door with a specially made custom lock that I unlock by my own 'special' method (won't tell you how I did it).
With the door unlocked I go inside,
closing the door behind me. There are some stairs right at the door leading down into a deeper area, catacombs if you may. Well, it's pitch black. Luckily I smoke a lot of cigars so I always have
matches on hand. I reach into one of my coat pockets, pull out a fresh pack. Pull one out and light it, giving me just enough light to see. I head down the stairs and into the catacombs below.
There are spider webs all around, which surprises me seeing how sealed up this place is. I reach the bottom and find a oil lantern near by that has some oil in it. I guess who ever previously
visited this place must have lit it. Lucky me, I decide to take it for myself, lighting it and taking it with me.
So this bottom area is pretty large. There are tunnels through the catacombs directing to different tombs. Ria's new grave is located
somewhere here. You see, when she died, one of the roma families found her body and originally gave her a normal grave with a flat name stone in the ground. They apparently later found that she
was too good of a person to have such a small grave so they exhumed her body after they built this underground catacomb. This place was built by roma to remember special members like the roma
queens and kings and those remembered for special feats or what they did for their community and families. They decided to place Ria here due to her being a specially gifted person. I know you
who are hearing my words don't know her but I can vouch for her, she was the closest person to being pure good of heart. Ria didn't have a single evil atom in her body. She's the type of person
that if you harmed her or any of her loved ones she would be the first person to forgive them, not like most people who would seek revenge...like me.
Looking through the tunnels, I know where to go now. I head down a tunnel, one im actually familiar with. I walk down the curved arch stone
tunnel and into another fairly large area, though not quite as large as the area I was just in. I can't believe how dry and cool this place is, with the weather above you'd think this place would
have water all over, but yeah this place is pretty sealed. It's cool but I don't mind, especially since temperatures don't bother me anymore. I place the lamp on a stone platform, can't tell what
it is maybe it's a step or whatever but I just keep it off the ground. The light from the lamp shines through and illuminates the room. There are female angel statues all around and a few holy
relics like cups and romani talismans throughout as well. There is also a statue of a woman in a hooded robe overlooking a sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is very beautiful with elaborated stone
carvings like roses and romani symbols all over on the sides and on top there are symbols of leaves and what, I guess angel wings, or atleast it looks like it anyway. This is the place I wanted
to come to, this is where I needed to be, this is Ria's tomb and where she rest now. Im still pretty tired from my earlier ordeal so I stumble slowly over to her
As I go to the sarcophagus I stumble and fall to my knees. I crawl a little to it and place one
hand on top of the lid. For the first time in a long time, I finally speak to my dear friend.
"Ria. Hi. Listen, you have to forgive me for taking so
long to come see you after all this time. I've been awfully busy lately and well, the work just won't permitt it. Me and Angie finally reckonciled. You should see her, she's changed a lot since
you've seen her from a little girl to a grown woman very strong and one of the leaders in the family and community. Then again you probably already know this, if your not looking down on her
maybe she came to see you. Everybody seems to be doing well for the most part, well, they make it through".
I pause for
a second. I sit up and lean against the sarcophagus and begin to pull out a cigar. I don't light it, just twirl it around.
"I know smoking is bad, Ria, you don't have to tell me. They just taste so good".
I put the cigar away and look back at the sarcophagus. All of a sudden thoughts of years ago come flooding to my
"Hey, Ria. Do you remember that time when you were playing with the children of the caravan that day in fall. I was up in a tree sitting on
a branch and you saw me. You asked me to come and play with you and the children but I declined. Looking back on it I do regret not playing with you all
then. However I did redeem myself, when you all were playing by the medow that time and I came along and sat with you all. The
little boy and girl, two of the children of the caravan were asleep in your lap, both looking so peaceful. I didn't realise just how sacred those type of moments were, not until it was too late
for me to enjoy them. Forgive me...for not enjoying it more when I could".
Thinking back then, I use to spend a lot of time with Ria's mother. While the children were playing and the men were off, I would help out
with the cooking. I would help Ria's mother by gathering from the nearby forest and collect what we could all eat. She would let me chop vegetables and all the while she would tell me stories of
her youth and what Ria was like as a child, telling me that even then she had a light about her that shined like...well like nothing else did.
I remember what Ria told me once. One day I was sitting on a stone wall and she came and sat beside me. She
asked me if I was alright as she said I had a sad look. I told her I was. Truth is, I felt lost. I didn't know where I came from or who I was. I didn't know why I was here. I don't know how but
somehow she knew what I was thinking. She looked over to me and told me "you know, we make our own purposes in life. It doesn't matter how where you come from or how you got here, all that
matters is how you live your life. All we can do is make the best choices we can in life and hope that's enough. We don't always get answers to our life questions so we just have to live it the
best way we can". I remember those words everyday, honestly I should had took more heed and done more of the right thing, maybe things would had been better. Ria was young, but she was so
"I know I've been hardheaded. I should had done more of the right thing,
which is what you were encouraging me to do, weren't you. Don't worry, im repenting for it now. Im doing the best I can to do the right things, even with the lifestyle I have now I still only do,
well the wrong thing, when I feel there is no other way. It's just there are so many people here but not all of them believe in doing the right thing, and unfortunately I happen to run into them
quite often. I hate to reference it but we both know there are many people like that in the world don't we".
Not having a purpose in life, I remember
when I first meet Ria in that alleyway and she took me off the streets. She not only gave me food and a place to stay, but she gave me a name, a good name. In a sense, to me anyways...she
baptized me. She changed my identity for the better and I know if I never meet her I would be in a bad spot. We were more then likely meant to cross paths together. I can't even imagine what life
would be like if we never meet, probably would had been no life. This young lady has taught me so much, spending time with her and her family I have learned more from them than anywhere else
especially in a positive way. Ria and her family taught me values of doing the right thing, even if nothing but the wrong thing happens to you. No matter where we went there were always people
giving the caravan a hard time, but each time Ria and the family just shrugged it off, they didn't like it but they didn't dwell on it.
the thing about Ria, I know I've said it before but it's true. She never held grudges against those who wronged her, she never seeked revenge, she never even really got angry. I did sense
sometimes when we were alone that she had a deep saddness inside of her when people we're doing her and her loved ones wrong, but she never hated them, the same way those same people seemed to
hate them. Sometimes it blows my mind just how much forgiveness she had, even with me if it were me I'd want to beat the hell out of someone who did me wrong for no reason. Because of this, she
never was irrational and thought carefully and always made good decisions. She almost always had a smile and greeted people kindly, even ones who didn't know her. Seriously in all honestly, she
was the only person I ever known to pretty much dedicate their life to doing the right thing, I mean she was just so selfless. I mean yes she was slightly naive but overall she seemed like the
closest thing this world will get for a perfect human being.
One day while I was with her and the children in the medow there was a dead flower nearby that she saw. She knelt down and put her hands around it and
the flower came back to life in full bloom. Both me and the children were amazed, she just smiled and went about like it was nothing. Not everyone liked this however as one day she did this in
public and haters saw this and called her names that I won't say but let's just say it made them hate her and the rest of the caravan even more. I don't even feel like talking about those people,
besides you know of their kind, the ones who do wrong just for the sheer hell of it, harming others just for entertainment or because they're not like
"Ria...I know...I know I wasn't going to but I feel that I must. I just wanted to tell you that...that night...I was
scared. I know it's an excuse and I either could or could not had done more. It's been haunting me every waking moment since then to today. I want so bad to fix this and make it right...but I
know I can't. Ria...I am so sorry that I couldn't save you. I wish to god I could but I couldn't. I was scared and powerless, if I did anything I don't think I could had done much. But I still
wanted to save you and I couldn't and for that I am truly sorry. Please...I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for not taking care of you like the way you took care of me, because I
care about you so much. For me...this is hell, living every day unable to make things right for you. This is why I dedicated myself to helping the other families like Angie's, maybe I can help
them now like I couldn't for you".
Later on, a few of the other caravans who knew of Ria told me that because of her
rational thinking and kind hearted nature, as many of the people loved her if she were to live she would had been one of the if not the greatest gypsy queens of the communities, which naturally I
completely agree with. I gently stroke the side of the sarcophagus, remembering all the good she did for the short time she was here. I hope that she is in a better place as if there is a heaven
and if any good person who died that needs to be there, it's her.
"Ria. I can tell you, one thing I made sure of. The
people who did you wrong and harmed you, they cannot do it to you, the rest of the families or anyone else in general any more. I know I did wrong, but I couldn't just let them walk after what
At that time I calmly
lay at the side of the sarcophagus. I actually begin to drift off, which is the first time in years. Before I knew it, I actually fall asleep beside the sarcophagus, a feat I haven't done in so
many decades. As I slept, for the life of me I thought I could see Ria's face. It looked like she knelt down to me with a smile and it seemed that she reached for my face. I wanted to touch her
back, but im sure it was just a dream...yeah, im sure...
I awaken and sense morning has arrived. I know I cannot stay, even though I care deeply for her I will let her rest. The lanturn went out but then
again I still have matches, not that I need any as I actually can see in the dark, I just wanted to act normal while in this tomb around her. I look back at the sarcophagus and part ways with the
one person who cared the most about me, who I cared for.
"Ria, the time has come. I have to leave now. But I will do the right thing as best as I can and I will work as hard as I can to make things better for
the ones who remain. I will never forget your words the ones you gave me so long ago. I don't really know what else to say. Things obviously aren't perfect and will never be, but I can still
choose to do the right things, just like you taught me. And that will be my gift to you, to use your teachings for benevolent purposes. Well, I guess...I will depart now. Ria...I will see you
later. Until we meet again".
I depart from the tomb. As I walk out I remember all of the other roma families and remember I am apart of them. I have
people to take care of, and I won't fail a second time. Don't worry, Ria, I will not mess up a second time. I step out of the tomb and into the light. There's a light dew around the cemetary, the
ground is moist from the rain. The fog's gone finally. With no more business I depart on my way.