Metairie Cemetery looks like a miniature McMansionville. Every street is lined with houses for the dead, many far nicer than those often occupied by the living. Most are constructed of marble with carved accents and accompanying statuary.
A few have elaborate stained-glass windows, which I find puzzling, since stained- glass can only be appreciated from the inside with the light shining through and since the residents of these dwellings are currently dead, well… it seems a waste.
But on the day I visited, I had no room to talk about what made sense since I’d spent most of the sweltering hot afternoon wandering alone in search of a statue I’d seen only in a photograph. I had no clue where it was located, and to make matters worse, I believed it to be inside one of the mausoleums.
So, I wandered with camera in hand from one curious tomb to another, peering in any opening for a glimpse of the angel. My angel. I really wanted to see her with my own eyes, for I felt that if I had a guardian angel, it was she who had been that stone carver’s inspiration. Who else but my angel would have flung herself over top of an altar in exhaustion, her right arm bent under, cushioning her head and her left dangling in despair? Only my angel could look so worn out and frazzled, with her wings tucked around her like she might be trying to escape for a few minutes beneath them before she had to resume the no doubt frustrating task of watching over me. So I searched, for I believed that in that cemetery was a statue that defined my life in a way no other could.
I had just come around a corner on foot, camera at the ready when I saw it. Oh no, not the angel–I found her a little while later, tucked away in a tomb west of the front gate. And yes, when I eyed her, I half expected her to raise her marble head and say with an exasperated tone, “What? Can’t I have just a few minutes of peace?”
And why would she need them? Because in that cemetery I also found this carving, which I know is of me, even though I do not remember posing.
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