The After Life
The funeral was the following week. It was beautiful, but it couldn’t bring her back. My world fell apart after she left. Everything changed: the days went from short happy memories where every instant felt right, to what seemed like decades of tears and loneliness. The memories began to fade and what killed me most was accepting that her love was no longer a part of my life. I fell into a loveless and lifeless depression, quit my job, sold my house, and moved into an apartment downtown. It was a small, cheap, simple place containing only what was needed to live; a bed, a kitchen, a couch, and one flickering light bulb in each of the three rooms. I became accustomed to the dark as it consumed me; straining the remains of hope and spirit I still possessed. My soul decayed as I aged, and the light at the end of the tunnel became blurry. Until one day, the light became clear.
I left bright and early on this particular Monday, kicking my old rusty Chevy until the gears began to grind and the fog machine of a muffler started filling the air with smoke. The trip was long to Katie’s house; it was halfway across the state and a four hour drive to Romeo. I arrived at noon which was when the party started.
“Happy Birthday” I said as I walked in the door.
“Thank you for coming dad” she replied in accompany with a kiss on the cheek and warm hug.
Katie was 35 today, the same age I was when Elizabeth left me. I didn’t talk much at the party, I really wanted to, but it was too difficult to keep a conversation alive when I couldn’t hear most of what was being said. I left around four, hoping I could get home by eight which was before it got dark. I pulled out of her driveway and began driving down the street when I passed the old coffee shop. This was the first time I had seen the place since the last time Elizabeth and I shared coffee here; my senior year of high school.
I went in to get a coffee, and to my amazement, there she was: Elizabeth, sitting at the same table we used to share coffee at. I walked over as fast as my little old body allowed and sat down across from her.
“I’ve missed you” I muttered. There was no reply. I ordered us coffee and sat there at peace with the world. There was no conversation for the rest of the night, I couldn’t tell if she was actually there or if my eyes were deceiving me but it didn’t matter. All those lonely nights I laid in bed, cold, thinking about her and praying for one last chance to see her were finally answered. I finished my coffee, and just sat there staring into her gorgeous green eyes until the manager kicked me out. I started walking towards my truck when I tripped on the curb, and once and for all the lights went out.
My soul separated from my body, and I lifted off the ground like a rocket without the smoke. I was quickly surrounded by white clouds. I reached out and a hand pulled me through. I got to the other side, and there she was: Elizabeth.