“I’m leaving. It’s for your own good, Lyla,” he says with a sigh. 

I nod, not quite understanding why. I just don’t want either of us to get hurt. Maybe that’s why letting him go is so easy. 

With that, he turns and walks into the rain not looking back.


Funerals are always sad. I wish they were happier and celebrated life instead of it being a memory of death. 

“I’m sorry for your loss,” a neighbor whose name I didn’t know says.

“Thank you.” 

Condolences. They bug me to most because on an occasion like this they have to be said, not meant. Nobody even truly has to care to give them to me. 

“Hey, Lyla. How are you doing?” a man’s deep voice asks.

I hesitate as I search for an honest answer. I look up to see a man my age. His black, silky hair catches my attention. He stares deeply into my eyes. I get lost in his eyes, before being pulled back into reality.

“Oh, um, honestly? I’m exhausted. I’m tired of being sad and crying. I’m also tired of hearing everyone’s fake condolences.”

“Well, I am truly sorry to hear that.”

“Yeah, wait, what’s your name?”

“Josiah. I just moved in on Briar Lane. I work at the local bakery. Stop by if you ever need anything, OK?”

“OK.” I say. 

I watch his tall muscular body as he walks away. I am interested.


The sun peeks over the mountains. Birds are up, already singing their beautiful songs. I stretch my arms high to the sky. My heart fills with joy as I look out my window. The early morning brings beauty and happiness. The rays tip onto the houses of the town making it look like the town is shining. 

Good start to an even better day. 

As I put on my makeup I remember Josiah. I decide to visit the bakery on my morning walk. I put on a casual summer outfit and head off. 

“Good morning, Lyla. How are you?”

I smile, “It is a good morning, isn’t it? I’m honestly doing quite alright, you?”

“Likewise,” Ms. Smiths says rather quietly

I walk into the small bakery called, “Where Dreamers Eat,” and look around. The floor is marble with the counters matching. The walls are a dark brown. The furniture varies in tan and browns. As I look towards the counter, Josiah comes into view. I walk over.

“Hey, Lyla. I definitely didn’t expect to see you so soon.”

I chuckle dryly, “Yeah, I didn’t think I was going to end up coming, but here we are. So, what’s your best breakfast item?” 

“Personally, I’d recommend the cinnamon rolls, but my boss wants me to sell the rice cakes.”

I can’t help but smile as I tuck a strand of loose hair behind my ear.

“I will take one cinnamon roll, please.”

“Alright. You can take a seat if you’d like, and I’ll bring one right over,” Josiah says with a wink. 

As I head to my seat I can’t help but think, is he single?

I quickly put away the thought as I remember it’s only been a week since I received the heart wrenching news. It hurts to think how easy it seems to move on. I shouldn’t be ready to move on yet. Right? Suddenly, the noise around me fades back to my attention. 

“- roll.”

“Huh?” I ask, looking up from my seat.

Josiah stares at me blankly, “Um, I said here’s your cinnamon roll.”

“Oh, thank you. I’m so sorry, sir.”

“Please,” his hand lightly touches my shoulder. “It’s Josiah. OK?”

I only nod before he walks off.

After finishing my cinnamon roll I walk to the park. I sit down on the park bench that he and I always sat at.

He is gone now, but I will keep memories of him with me and keep our traditions alive.

I look up towards the other side of the street and see something. I see him. He is smiling at me.

I thought he was dead, but there he is. He’s smiling at me just on the other side of the street. 

I wave to see if it’s real. He waves back. I quickly get up and walk over to his direction. By the time I get there, he is gone. I shrug it off as my imagination as I walk back home.

I walk into my house and set down my purse. I look around, hoping to see him. 

Of course he won’t be here. I mean, he’s dead, right?

I begin to cook dinner when I hear a noise coming from the living room. I slowly and cautiously walk over with a frying pan in hand. My heart pounds again my rib cage, while my palms are sweating. The pan almost slips through my fingers as I readjust my hand position. My feet slowly inch around the corner and I peek into the near room. I don’t believe my eyes as I drop the frying pan from my hands.

“Lyla, it’s me.

I shake my head in disbelief, “It can’t be. You’re dead?”

“How can I be dead if I’m right here?”

“What are you doing here? How could you make me think you were dead?

“I have an offer for you. You can ask questions later.”

“OK? What?” I ask.

“I need your help tracking a criminal,” he says quickly.

I scoff, “You want me to help you with your work, John? That’s crazy.”

“Well, it’s your choice,” he shrugs. “You can continue on with this worthless life or you can become someone who matters.”

I narrow my eyes and clench my fist, “Do not challenge me.”

He laughs, “So? What’ll it be?”

I watch him. His smile reminds me of horror movies for some reason. Right before a character is killed off.



“I said no. I’m not doing it. Look, I love you but I do not want to be part of your work,” I sigh. 


“Can you come with me to the bakery?” I ask with hope.

“Sure. It’ll be nice to catch up.”

On the way to the train I notice odd looks from everyone around me. They glare at me for no reason and it begins to get on my nerves. I’m only talking to my husband. We get on the train and I sit beside an older woman. 

“How was my funeral,” John laughs. 

I shoot a glare in his direction, “Haha, very funny.”

“Excuse me, miss?”

I look over to see the old lady trying to get my attention. Her voice is soft and her face unsettled. 


“Umm.. my husband?” I question her.

“Honey, there’s no one there,” she says bluntly.

I look over to where John sat, but he was gone. My heart broke, but then I thought about Josiah. I was already ready to move on.

July 30, 2020 20:29

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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