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Fiction Romance

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

“Babe, you’re being ridiculous.  I’m fine.  And if I’m not later on, then we'll deal with it.  I’ll make sure to get a hefty life insurance so you can buy an RV and brood around the country.”  She said that when we were in our twenties, young and healthy.  I knew even then.  There’s a sixth sense, a third eye, aura reading, mental connection, whatever you want to call it, that comes about when two souls collide and evolve into an amalgam.  We called it our superpower.  I knew if she was having a bad day at work without even talking to her.  There would be Madeline cookies, a Coke and Buffy the Vampire Slayer playing on Netflix when she got home to help ease her back from the brink.  She would smile, put on one of my shirts, and plop on the couch and cuddle with me for the rest of the night.  In the beginning, she would ask how I knew what she needed.  But as time went on and the “coincidences,” “weird feelings,” and “thoughts that seemingly came out of nowhere” became so commonplace that she stopped questioning and just leaned into them.  In the grand scheme of powers they are the lamest, for sure.  “Feelings Boy and Intuition Girl strike again!”  She used to crack up at that one no matter how many times I said it.  So, yeah, I knew it then.  God, I miss her.  But not for long.

My mad scientist machine is not big or complex.  My research led me to believe that, because our souls are so entwined, she is still tethered to me for a while after death.  I believed I could use that to bring her back.  Of course, there’s more to it than that, but that’s the jist of what I was attempting.  I was able to set up the apparatus in the basement without anyone knowing.  Keeping her death from all her friends and family was the most difficult part.  A lot of “Oh, she’s not feeling up to visitors,” and “she’s knocked out right now,” played on repeat.  Also, keeping her body from decomposing proved to be a challenge.  But I did it.  As I laid down next to her and put on the connections, our entire relationship flashed in my mind.

We were friends in high school, not high school sweethearts.  Not for lack of trying on my part, mind you.  But it turned out better that way.  Having been friends growing up allowed us to mature apart and bypass the growing pains of teenage couples.  We had mutual friends and the same experiences but in an individual capacity.  And when we were finally ready, after college, talk about fireworks! Being with her made me realize why cheesy romantic movies get made;  Because the feelings and crazy antics that make a great romance actually happen in real life. 

“Remember when we first met and we talked about the paranormal and Bigfoot in our first conversation?,” she asked during one of our last times together.  

“Of, course.  It’s when I realized girls can be cool.”

“And we both concluded that we wish we had just the tiniest bit of concrete proof of any one of those things.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Well, I’ll make you a deal.  If you promise to not go off the deep end after I’m gone, that means no drugs, no drinking, I promise, if there’s an afterlife, I’ll come back and haunt you.”

I couldn’t help but smile, “Promise, promise?”

“Promise, promise.”

“Well, I didn’t go off the deep end with my vices, but I’m not waiting around for your Moaning Myrtle act.  I’m bringing you back to the land of the living,” I said this as I closed my eyes and pressed the purple button (it was … is her favorite color).

White.  All was white.  I felt like I was being pulled somewhere.  My eyes started to adjust.  I squint and see somebody standing in front of me.  The person has her height and shape … is it her?

“Sweetheart?  What are you doing here?”  It’s her voice, but altered slightly . . . it’s too good to be true.

“I . . . I . . .,” I don’t know what to say.  My eyes finally reveal that it is, indeed, my soul mate standing before me.  I felt like crying.  But I couldn’t.

“I told you not to go off the deep end,” she said, but her mouth didn’t move.  It echoed in my head.

“I … I couldn’t help it.  I needed you back!  Life is only half of what it’s supposed to be”

“That's incredibly cheesy, you know that right.”

“I know, I know,” I said with a wry smile.  That’s definitely her.  “Excuse me for being overly emotional right now!  I just did the impossible and brought you back to life!”

“Oh honey.  You precious dummy, look around you.  Does it look like we are home?”

I tried to look around.  But all I see is her and bright white light everywhere.  “I can’t see anything but you.  And that’s not a cheesy line.  I literally cannot see anything but white.”

“Hmmm . . . it must be because you’re still tethered to the living.  You came to me, not the other way around.”

“I’m in heaven!?!,” I exclaimed with utter bewilderment.  “I’d bet money you were on the highway to . . . well . . you know.”

She chuckled, “Please, I got a free pass for being a saint to your crazy family!”

My turn to laugh.  “Too true.  So, what Faustian bargain do we have to do to get you back home?”

She didn’t laugh.  “I think you know the answer to that.  It's not possible.  My body can no longer hold my soul.”

“How do you know that?”

“I don’t know how I know, I just know.  When you get here you just sort of know things.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.  There’s gotta be a way.”

“Can’t you just enjoy right now?  Look at what you’ve been able to accomplish.  Think about what this means for humanity.  You can provide hope to people, show them there really is an afterlife.”

“You know how I feel about people.  I will find a way to bring you back.  And if I can't, I'll just stay here with you.”

“Wait, wait, wait.  You need to go back and live your life.  We’ll be together again when it’s the right time.  Who knows what consequences there’ll be for you being here right now.”

“To hell with the consequences!”

“Look, I feel like we don’t have much time.  Just hold me, please.”  We embraced in a hug like no other.  She whispered, “Don’t forget, you double promised you won’t go off the deep end.  Live for us.  Live for you . . .  please.”

I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.  I was ripped away from her and pulled back into my body.  I opened my eyes and I was back in the dark dingy basement lying next to a beautiful husk.

The next few weeks were indescribably difficult.  I felt lonely.  I felt isolated.  I tried to live like she asked me too.  We had her funeral after I could not replicate the results.  I was hoping it would provide some closure.  Surprise, it didn’t.  I surrounded myself with friends and family but it was not helpful.  I couldn’t explain to them what I had done without them thinking I had a mental health crisis.  And I didn’t want to prove to them what I did either.  I wanted that experience to be mine alone.  She was mine, alone.  

Life seemed to drag on.  The absence of the peace that I felt when I was with her made me ache.  “Don’t go off the deep end” became my mantra everyday, all day.  “We’ll be together again when the time is right” was my incantation to ward off the demon of depression.  

I couldn’t stay in the house that we shared for long periods of time.  I would get antsy to do something, so I picked up the hobby of strolling.  One day I found myself walking around the neighborhood we grew up in.  Passing the high school we spent so many hours together made me smile.  Passing our favorite hang out place made me sad.  Passing the restaurant where we had our first date made me cry.  Passing the willow tree in the park where we first met made me decide.

I decided that this world was not for me without her.  “We’ll be together again” and I’m making sure the time is right now.  I know she asked me to not go off the deep end.  She asked me to live.  She asked me to bring hope to people.  

“I’m so sorry that I’m selfish, I hope you can forgive me when I see you,” I said as I pulled the trigger.

In the darkness . . . . I wait for the white . . .

September 14, 2022 06:48

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