Fiction Mystery Romance

I watched as the coffin was lowered into the unforgiving ground of this awful February day. James was the only boy I had ever kissed, the only one I had ever loved. It felt so unfair to have him cut down in his prime. A germ, smaller than the head of a pin, was his death. Tears rolled down my face, as I stared at the frozen ground, saying my final goodbye.

I stayed far longer than the other mourners, wanting to spend just a few more moments with his body, though I knew his soul was no longer there. I saw a shadow fall across his newly covered tomb, and I turned, to tell them to leave me in peace. But no one was there. Where had the shadow come from?

I felt a cool breeze caress my cheek and heard a voice whispering my name. “Beverley, don’t you know even death could never part us? Don’t be afraid, its only me.”

“James?” I whispered his name, half afraid and half hoping I was only imagining his voice. “Yes, it is I, but like a shadow that disappears when the sun goes down, I have only a little time to spend with you. I must go on to the next life. I lingered long enough to bid you adieu, but soon I must depart.”

“I wish I had died with you, rather than being forced to live on for an eternity without your touch.” I sobbed bitterly at the thought of a life without him in it. “Oh, my dear don’t be sad that we cannot be together now. You will have a long and joyous life, and someday, we will be reunited once again.”

“How can I have any happiness at all without you? The only one who ever made me feel anything at all was you!” I hurled the words like a spear at the specter. “I wanted to marry you someday, to have a life together. That will never happen now. I cannot bear it.”

“Why waste the little time we have together with futile wishes for what we can never have? Please, my darling, just listen to me. I want you to go on with your life, to forget me and what we could have had. It’s the only way. Don’t you see? “

Suddenly I hated his acceptance of the cruel hand of fate, hated that I would never see our dreams fulfilled. I almost wished he had not been allowed to say the words I wished not to hear. I knew he was right, but I didn’t want to admit it.

To admit to myself that he would soon be gone from my life completely seemed like the cruelest blow of all. I wanted to throw my arms around someone who I would never touch again. I wanted to punch his ghost in his spirit face, just so he could feel the pain I did.

“I hoped you would understand,” said he. “We’re only parted for this life, and we can be together in the next. Promise me before I go, promise that you will love me in memories only. Don’t waste the life you still have pining for a ghost. I will be watching over you from above, my love. We will never truly be parted, so long as you keep me in your heart.”

He touched my face again, and I felt the same pain in him as he saw in me. I was relieved that he was hurting too. As least I wasn’t alone in my grief. Then he touched my chest, held his ghostly hand over my heart. I felt his love pouring into my very soul. “This will have to be enough for now. Feel how much I still love you, how much I always will. Remember that, hold in inside of you like a shadow of me. Parting is bittersweet sorrow. I wish I could stay longer, but now I must go. Never forget that I will be waiting for you someday. Goodbye, my dearest Bev.”

I wanted to beg him to stay, I wanted to hurl abuse at the skies for parting us when we had barely had a chance to let love grow. Instead, I lifted my shoulders, smiled as bravely as I could, and blew him a kiss. “I will treasure this moment until we meet again. I will go on with my life, as you wish. But I will never forget you.”

Sixty years later, as I lay with my family around me, I closed my eyes, thought of the life I had with my husband John, our 5 children and 3 grandchildren. I knew then that the peace I felt in my heart had everything to do with that brief meeting of souls so long ago. I hadn’t wanted to move on, but I did it for him. A final gift to his memory. Knowing that he was waiting for me kept our love alive.

It had been years until I had dared opened my heart to another man, but I was so glad that I had. One more thing James had been right about. I couldn’t say I loved John the same way I loved James, after all they were very different men. But I loved him with all my heart, at least the part I still had. Some part of my heart would always belong to James.

Isn't that the way it always is with first love? No matter how tragic the end, we tend to remember the good times. Each kiss we had, every embrace I shared, were emblazoned on my soul like fire had burned them into me. The fire of passion, even on a very young, innocent level.

My children were crying, John was holding my hand, begging me to stay just a little longer. I knew how he felt. But I could not tell him. My lips had been sealed by the stroke.

As I closed my eyes for the final time, I heard a familiar voice say, “Welcome to the rest of your afterlife. I told you it would be worth the wait, didn’t I?”

“James! I’ve waited so long to see you again, every day I held your love inside me and waited for this moment. It seemed like so much longer than sixty years. More like sixty lifetimes.”

My soul left my body, and as James and I were reunited, I knew my family would grieve, but that wouldn’t last forever. I rushed toward him, waiting on the other side of that white light. I knew we could never be parted again. My life was finally complete, in death.

October 27, 2022 11:50

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