The first time he saw her cry was the only time she ever had since he knew her. They’d been under the flimsy cover of a near-denuded fir tree, somewhere in Chad. Both of their parents despised their union, so they both had ducked out on their families.
Under the silver of an early moonlight, miles from home, she’d sworn anew her love for him, and when it had seemed she’d choke on her pledge, her green eyes mysterious in the moonlit shelter, he’d kissed all she’d offered—her tears; her lips; her heart.
It’d been two years since then, and he hadn’t seen her cry ever since. Until now.
Her face was soaked in her tears and beneath her green eyes was a dark shade. Her whole body shook, each sob wringing all he was. But he couldn’t console her, couldn’t reach out, couldn’t… Well…
He reached for her hair again. And again, his hands just went through like he was caressing the air.
And yet again, she looked over her shoulder. She sensed his presence. And it hurt him even more.
He couldn’t bring himself to look at his body lying motionless on the hospital’s bed. Couldn’t imagine her without him. He was all she had, and she all he ever could.
He wished she could be with him, where he was—dead. He shook his head to ward off the thought. He was being selfish. Or was he? Wasn’t that love?
”It’s time to go.” a familiarly gentle voice said behind him. ”She’ll surely be with you, Peter. You just have to wait.”
He turned to look at his angel, glowing in kaleidoscopic brilliance. Of course he knew everyone had a day to turn to dust. But how long? ”How long?” he asked as he watched Susan hurry out of the room, his held-out arm as useless as his corpse.
When the hem of her blouse was totally whisked out of view around the bend at the doorway, he turned toward his angel. Light and the scent of glory and sorrow filled the distance between them. He knew what was asked to be done. He inched toward the light. Slowly.
”How long?” he asked again.
He saw the angel inclined his head toward the window, and then came the reedy screech of braked tyres engaging tar. He rushed to look outside, his stomach clenching.
Susan lay on the asphalt 3-storeys beneath, circled by a pool of flowing red. A truck was in the middle of the road just before her, the driver barreling out, holding his head. He studied the face and it didn’t take long for everything to register.
The same driver that had knocked him down.
He glanced at his angel and was met by a most reassuring smile.
Oh no! He glanced outside again and saw Susan leaving her body. She was now in a being like his and, somehow, it didn’t make him happy as he’d thought. She waved.
But all he could do was stare. And for the first time, he believed even ghosts could cry.