“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” – Paula Coehlo
Its been years since someone in Finnley’s life had died. He thought it had calmed down. He almost completely forgot about the recurring nightmares that he got every night. He’s lost so many people; Xander, Twyla, Oliver, even his brother, Felix.
He was walking down the street. He was going on a date for the first time since Xander had died. That was six years ago. Sometimes, Finnley feels like he still sees Xander, in the corner of his eye, in mirrors and reflections. He chalked it down to grief and expected it to go away eventually, but it hasn’t. It felt weird to Finnley, dating again. After all, Xander was his soulmate and always will be.
He got to the end of the street when he heard a voice whisper in his ear.
“Finnley. I hope you have fun on your date.” The voice was familiar; Xander. But that can’t be possible, Xander is dead. Finnley was chanting that in his mind as he continued down the road. He got a few more metres down the road when he saw a figure in the reflection; Xander. He was wearing his classic smug grin and giving him a supportive thumbs up. He tried to shake it from his mind and keep walking but he was greeted by his date, Enoch.
“Hi, sorry I’m late, I got a bit lost.” Finnley hugged Enoch awkwardly, a feeling of tension washing over him.
“I thought you weren’t going to show up.” He led Finnley to a fancy restaurant down the road. Enoch came from a rich family so he invited him to one of the most expensive restaurants in London. When Finnley saw the lavish décor of the room, he let out an audible gasp in awe. The room was filled with gold and silver finishes, a huge chandelier, and people dressed in the fanciest clothes Finnley had ever seen.
“You like it?” Enoch chuckled, giving his date a smug smirk.
“Yes its nice, thank you.” Finnley replied, politely giving him a hollow smile. This was nice and he wanted to be able to enjoy it, but he just cant shake the experience he had one his walk. They walked in and were seated at the best table in the house. Finnley felt underdressed next to everyone in their designer outfits. Their outfits probably cost more than my yearly salary. He hated admitting it to himself but he did feel out of place in a place like this.
“I suggest you get the seared salmon with white wine dressing, it simply is the best. “ Finnley nodded in agreement despite being a vegetarian and ordered that when the waiter came to take their orders
“I’ll choose the wine, I’m somewhat of an expert at this.” Enoch had a very snobbish laugh, the kind that made Finnley’s working class blood boiling. He may be great at wine but Finnley would have liked to have some input.
When the food had arrived, Finnley pushed the undercooked salmon around his plate with his fork to create the illusion that he was eating it. He took a sip of the wine that Enoch had chosen and felt it burn in his throat. Clearly not a very good wine expert.
After about half an hour of polite conversation, Finnley couldn’t take it anymore and excused himself to go to the toilet. When he was washing his hands, he, yet again, caught a glimpse of Xander in the mirror. Confused and slightly terrified, he bolted for the door only to see it slam again in front of him.
“Your date’s a bit of a dick.” Xander said, rather nonchalantly, given the circumstances. “What? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I have! Mate, you’re dead!” Finnley screamed at him, his fear washing away and being replaced with a loud chuckle by both males.
“I know, I know. Well, technically, I still am so don’t panic.” Of course Xander found this funny. When did he not make light of a stressful situation?
“I’ve missed you so much.” Finnley felt a tear bubble in the back of his throat, and his eyes stung from trying to fight it.
“I know, I’m so sorry for leaving you.” Xander’s cheery demeanour washed off and was replaced with a look of guilt and despair.
“You were right, my date is a dick.”
“You just dated him to get an expensive meal for free didn’t you?” Xander’s huge grin returned back onto his lips.
“Honestly? Yeah.” They were both laughing so hard that their sides hurt. Well Finnley’s sides hurt, Xander’s a ghost.
“How bad is he?”
“He ordered me fish even though he knows that I’m a vegetarian, he didn’t let me have a say in the wine and he spent the whole evening talking about rich people shit.”
“That sounds fucking awful. But, important question, was the wine good though?”
“Nah, tastes like vinegar. Wine expert, my ass.” Despite the fact that they were laughing, they knew this was wrong. Xander was meant to be dead, he shouldn’t be hanging around, it wasn’t good for Finnley.
“Why are you still here?” Finnley whispered, afraid that if he spoke too loudly, Xander would turn to dust.
“I need to make sure that you’re alright. I don’t want you be stuck on me for the rest of your life.”
“I’m trying to, but you won’t leave me alone!”
“I’m trying to protect you!” They were arguing like they did when Xander was alive.
“I really don’t want to date him again.” Finnley mumbled, embarrassed.
“God, I wouldn’t want to either.” There was a moment of hesitation, Finnley taking the moment to have one final look at his childhood love.
“You need to move on, this isn’t good for anyone.” Finnley choked out the words. He didn’t want Xander to leave but he knew that he had to move on with his life.
“I know but I don’t want to.” Xander had tears streaming down his cheeks. If they were able to touch, they share a tight embrace and a kiss that was mixed with tears.
“There will always be a part of me that still loves you.”
“You will always be the love of my life.” The moment was ruined when Finnley heard his phone ring; it was Enoch calling. He was probably becoming impatient of waiting for his date to return.
“You’d best get back to your boring date.” Xander said, pointing his head towards Finnley’s phone.
“Goodbye Xander. I love you.”
“Goodbye, Finnley. I love you.” With that, Xander’s faded away and Finnley was once again alone. Washing his hands quickly, he returned to his date.
“Sorry, I was so long, there was a queue. Where were we?”