(photograph by Kimberly B. Richardson, 2016)
A tear slid down her cheek as Olivia stared into her empty plate. He was gone, she thought for the millionth time that day. He's truly gone. I still can't believe it. It was literally yesterday when she had last spoken with Charles during their usual coffee time in their favourite coffee shop. He held her hand and she kissed him on the cheek. He told her that he loved her and she replied with the same words. They finished their coffees then went their separate ways, knowing that they would see each other later that day. A phone call came two hours later and Olivia remembered only falling followed by black. When she heard the news, the only words she heard were car and blood. The next day, today, met her with an otherwise delicious lunch that turned into sand in her mouth. She knew she had to eat yet the process, the simple act of raising the fork to her lips, felt like torture. As she laid her utensils on the plate, she wiped the tear from her face then looked up, only to gasp. There, standing in the middle of the restaurant, was Charles. She squinted: it looked like Charles and yet . . . He wore the same clothes from yesterday, yet they were coloured a deep bluish grey. His normally white peach skin had now taken on a bluish hue, and his bright green eyes were a dull blue. She stared at him, realizing that he was staring right at her. Olivia looked around and wondered if anyone else could see him, only to gasp again when a young couple walked right through him without a second glance. Olivia gripped the sides of the table - surely, she was going mad. Charles took a step towards her then held out his hand. Come with me, she suddenly heard in her mind. I miss you. Olivia shook her head no, not caring if anyone saw her do such an act, then willed for this thing to just go away. Come with me, darling, the voice in her mind said again. Please. I miss you. I still love you.
You are dead, she whispered out loud, to which the spectre laughed yet his mouth did not move.
Yes I am.
Am I going insane?
Why are you here?
Because I love you. Come with me, please. Olivia looked around then returned her gaze to the outstretched hand. She closed her eyes then opened them as she got up and walked towards him. As she approached him, Charles began to smile.
Is this really happening?
What will happen to me?
Only love, my darling. Only love.
A feeling of falling. Then black.