By Brian Maycock
I see you everywhere.
The bar, where our first date ended so badly when you told me you had started seeing your ex again. And how lovely I was, and how our friendship meant so much to you.
Turned out it wasn’t even a date, I realized, as I returned to the small apartment which never felt so drained of life as it did that night.
The park, where a few months later you rested your head on my shoulder, and my skin burnt and I wanted to put my arm around you, but held back.
The street where you live. Walking down it at 3 a.m., my heart beating like crazy.
I see you, and it is impossible to see anything else.
You are in everything. The taste of a glass of wine. Pinot grigio. Your favorite, so I said it was mine.
The news in the morning. It wound me up, but was part of your routine as you got ready for work. Makeup on, phone charging, eating cereal and leaving the bowl by the front door as you tried to remember where you had left your keys. I was transfixed.
A cold, gray day. The weather did not matter because I was with you. Nothing else mattered.
Everything, every place.
The bedroom, where you sat brushing your hair, a towel wrapped around you. I was thinking how I had never been so happy, right before you told me this could not go on. Being lovers.
The front room where you ran your fingers through my hair as I cried, and for a moment there was hope. You told me you had a busy day at work tomorrow, and maybe we could see each other next week for a coffee.
Every message alert. Hope held out for a long time. One reply, that’s all I needed. One more fix.
If you are reading this, that means I’m dead. Wow, that’s a fantastic cliché. Sadly—mainly for me—on this occasion, it’s true.
Since I was first diagnosed and told—to cut to the chase—that the illness had progressed too far to be treated, I’ve been through the various stages, and I am currently in Administration. No, I did not realize that was a stage either.
Turns out, it is one for me, and that stage includes writing and making arrangements for this letter to be sent to you after I pass. Snail mail, old style.
I wanted to admit that you were the love of my life, and I can’t let go. No regrets. Shame has lost its sting.
I also wanted to see who was right in the one late-night, drunken conversation we had. You probably don’t even remember it.
I can’t forget.
The topic of that conversation: the afterlife. Ghosts. I believe in them. How can we just end when our bodies fail?
You dismissed my theory out of hand.
So, I would like to ask you to do something for me. Put this letter down. Turn around.
If I am standing behind you, then ghosts do exist.
If I am not, you were right.
Go on. Do it. For old times’ sake.