By day I used to walk along these same gravely paths, the solitary rustling sound of the stones was a harmony to my ears. Now I travel along them, not a speck of dust rises. My feet move along like billows of smoke. I have been here for years, yet never will be seen here again. I stand many an hour feeling self-pity for a grave that no one visits. A grave marked with the name of Terrence Rendell. My family and loved ones' faces are fading in my memories. One day I hope to be called up so I can look down on them always. Judgement is still awaiting me for what I had no choice to do to lead to my current predicament. Until then I must continue as I have done for many a lonely year. Lonely isn’t the word for it. I’ve watched so many sunsets and so many sunrises without a companion to put my arm around and I can’t even cry.
That was until the one day I saw her. Hair long and fine, though it didn’t blow in the wind. Her smile broad, friendly and eyes that looked like they once sparkled. Passing through the tombstones as the people kneeling would slightly shiver. Passing through this graveyard. What used to be just my graveyard. My solace and chamber of isolation. I got a startle to say the least. The first emotion to feel in some time. I remember the first time I approached this beautiful spectre. She seemed taken aback that I could see her. I didn’t mean to frighten her, I was just amazed someone like this could end up sharing the same unworldly fate as me. I knew she wouldn’t be here for long. I’ve always hated being right.
Two souls in purgatory shouldn’t be able to see one another, let alone communicate. But how can you believe in rules when you are something you used to believe couldn’t exist? Eventually she opened up to me and started talking to me about her family and loved ones. Her name was, still is Penelope. The pain she felt at what happened, the emotion in her voice, I truly felt her sadness. She, like me, couldn’t cry. At least I was here to share the weight of her burden. The way she spoke of her husband with the reverence and admiration in her voice. It very nearly made me remember my wife. I asked her to hold up her hand, and she raised her slender left palm. I lifted mine and leant it in towards hers.
If my heart was still in my chest, it would be beating as hard as it could at that point as our fingertips actually touched. I felt everything. The smoothness of her skin, the hardness of her nails. But that only happened then. Further attempts have proved fruitless. Now, when we try, our hands pass through each other’s. There have been quite a few evenings now that we have stood in the middle of this graveyard, passers by passing through us, as we stand trying to feel again.
Penelope visits this graveyard every evening, where she is in between her visits she will not say. I am sentenced to stand by my grave’s side every second of every year. Past those gates I am forbidden to go. Penelope shouldn’t be allowed to leave either, but she does. It is not of her own free will, she is being taken away by the greater power, prepared for the next stage in her transference after death. When I put these concerns to her, she does not answer, but it is true. As of late Penelope’s aura has been growing in its radiance. She has a touch of the called about her and cannot be long for this state. Tonight she comes and we will say our farewells.
The hour has approached at the same time that the sun begins to set and the silver lining in the clouds used to make me squint. Two visitors to the grave both shiver whilst deep in thought. They never do that with me anymore, I’ve been here too long, this place is too used to me. Penelope won’t be here long enough to have her presence become acclimatised to. She appears as the birds begin their evening singing. I approach her with reservation, dragging my feet but not a sound can be heard. I ask her is it her time tonight as I have long expected. She says it is.
Then I feel a feeling of desperation. A feeling I have not felt since the first time we touched. At that time the desire was overwhelming as I needed to feel her. I wanted it so much. And now, knowing we are not long for each other’s company, I feel it again. I reach out for her hands. And they meet. Her eyes widen and I almost see a sparkle which I’m sure once filled them. I step towards her and lift her arm in the air and place my right arm around her slender waist.
There is no sound here apart from the birds, and I lead a dance. At first she restrains herself but she follows my foot with hers and it’s a pattern that continues before we find ourselves entwined in the music. Along the paths and over the graves we move together. We dance for ourselves, for the compassion we share for each other. The headstones we dance through, an act of courtesy and respect for the deceased we’re surrounded by. Deceased in body, but still out there in spirit. Mourners kneel by their departed‘s resting place. Their anguish undeniable and if they only knew the happiness the dead can still have. The more we dance, the more the birds sing. As the sun begins to set, we move some more. I can not smell her scent but I feel the warmth that radiates from her.
The church bell tolls for seven o’ clock and drowns out the birds. Penelope’s feet stop and she releases herself from our embrace. A few steps back and she looks up at the sky. She begins to glow brighter as my hands begin to tremble with sorrow. She smiles at me and blows me a kiss before she is taken to the other side. A flash of glorious light and she has left. I replay her blowing me the kiss in my mind time and time again, as fast as I can. I hear nothing. I feel nothing. Just this same graveyard still like me, contained within these gates.
Then there is a breeze and I feel it on my face. Just for the briefest moment. It feels so beautiful. I like to think that in that breeze her kiss was carried and it landed gently on my face. Wherever she is, she’s looking down at me. I fall to my knees and mourn. Because I miss her so.