by Josh T. Alto
Two friends decide that they will give a sign from the other side after one of them died
|(Submitted for the Paranormal Romance Short Story Contest)
Last time I saw Harry, it was the last day of summer and I knew it. There was nothing special about that day but somehow I knew it was the last time I would see him. Autumn crept in and summer left for good leaving only emptiness in my heart.
Disappeared is perhaps the wrong word for he was never truly there; there were few who knew him well and only I could call him a friend. He was my friend, my only friend and I lost him forever, I wish I could turn back time.
I remember the days when friendship meant nothing to me, just a word. Go out late in the night with someone you like, roaming the empty streets, visiting galleries and theatres, talking about paintings and films, sort of passing the time with someone. It was the same with Harry when it started. We were friends but we never talked about it. It was obvious somehow; we grew up together and spent most of our time together. At that time it was not important that he was a boy and I was a girl, we were just friends. Who would have ever guessed where it would lead? I took part in his boy games and he assisted in mine. We were inseparable.
It was also logical that we met quite often even after choosing different high schools, we often spent the weekends together, and we did so because we needed each other. We talked a lot. There were lots of things we discussed quite often; some of them were just foolishness but others were quite philosophical. We wondered whether there was life after death. He believed in lots of supernatural things, also in reincarnation, and he always thought that after his death he would come back somehow. We agreed that it could only be proved once we got there, so we promised each other that whoever died first would try to give a kind of sign to the other one from the other side.
I always knew, or rather it slowly became clear to me over the years, that he loved me, but I was too busy with my studies and other activities, I had never paid much attention to his feelings. I surely regretted it later but at that time I simply enjoyed being together with him. Once he asked me whether we could be friends forever as man and woman. He said he loved me and wondered if friendship was still possible between us. I told him I had never thought we could be more than friends and he seemed to accept it. We acted as if nothing had happened.
But all good things come to an end. One foggy day he was not there anymore, left without a word. Except for an occasional postcard from his travels, I did not hear from him at all. A few years passed, I finished my studies and started working at my father’s company. I could even afford to rent a small flat on my own. I thought my life was settling down, I had some friends but I always missed Harry, my old friend who disappeared from my life without a trace.
I even started dreaming about him and it was really strange somehow. In the first dream we were in a hotel room and we made love. I wondered afterwards why I dreamt of him, I never really thought about him as a lover, up to that night he had always remained a friend to me. My dream confused me and scared me at the same time. Maybe it was unfair after all to disappoint him when he said he loved me. Was it possible that deep inside I always wanted to be his girlfriend and not just a friend? There were also some other dreams that followed in different situations and at different places. Once we made love on a sandy beach at sunset, the next time we were just married having our honeymoon. But something was clear; we were always together as lovers rather than friends.
One day I heard very sad news from my grandmother who knew quite a lot of people in the neighborhood. Actually, as I understood, her daily activities were gathering and redistributing information. Harry had died a few weeks before in a car accident and everyone was really sorry for him because he had had such a promising career, she said. As I heard the news I started crying, felt totally empty and even had a kind of guilty conscience because of him. Strangely enough his death happened around the same time as he first appeared in my dreams. Could there be an invisible link between us that broke that day, that hour, and I had sensed it subconsciously? I started reading books on that subject but apart from some metaphysical explanations I could not find anything.
I remembered that he had always thought that after his death he would come back somehow. I had never believed him but something happened a few days ago that made me think it over again. That night I was wakened by a faint noise and I felt someone touching my neck. Not exactly touching, it was a kiss, a very gentle kiss. As I was sleeping alone in my room I was startled but as I turned around I found there was no one there. I switched on the lights and checked the doors but all of them were locked. I went back into my bed and listened, and after a while I was sure there was still someone in the room, in my bed. I was totally confused; my senses abandoned me, I did not know what to do.
Something started stroking me, first very faintly but then more sensually, I could not see it but it must have been a hand. Then I could smell his skin, whether it was a dream or I fantasized it too realistically, it was Harry. He always had a kind of smell that I loved about him; he never got smelly, even after dropping by all sweaty after running up from the park. I could smell him now all over in my bed. He was there, I was sure, and I could feel his hands caressing me as he had done in my dreams before. He kissed me and it was real, I can tell you, no one ever kissed me that way; I could feel his passion. We made love that night even if he was not there, at least he could not be seen in my bed, but his body was there and it was a fantastic night. He left me around midnight and I think I fell asleep soon afterwards.
When I woke up in the morning I was almost sure I had dreamt everything, I just could not believe he had been there. I just sat in my bed, watching the rays of sun illuminating the wallpaper and I wished that Harry were there. Finally I got up and as I collected my post, I found a picture postcard in it. It was a photo of a hotel room, the room where we loved each other for the first time in my dream. How could anyone know what that room meant to me? I could recall it well, it was decorated in oriental style and it vividly brought back the buzz of the previous night. But there was one more surprise. As I turned over the card there was a well known signature on it that I had already seen on different postcards from all over the world, ‘From Harry, with love’.
(Word count 1,284)