5:00 a.m. – continued
“Enjoy your life,” a familiar voice said from behind her.
Startled, Sylvie’s eyes flew open. She turned and nearly fell off the window seat with a gasp.
A ghostly looking Blake stood by the bed, hands in the pants pockets of the suit she had buried him in. His brown hair looked a little mussed, like he had just gotten up from bed. But his dark eyes were shining. He was smiling at her, the smile that had captured her heart back in college. He had one foot propped up behind the other, appearing to lean slightly against the foot of the bed. He looked completely at ease, as though death actually agreed with him.
Slowly, Sylvie settled herself back on the window seat and sat on the edge, letting her feet gently touch the hardwood floor. Her eyes were trained on her late husband, never wandering from him as she shifted into a comfortable position. Now that she had him in her sight again, she wasn’t going to let him fade away.
“Blake?” she whispered.
“Hi, Sylvie,” he said with his lopsided smile, the smile she had loved to kiss.
“Is it really you?”
He took his hands out of his pockets and held them out, palms facing up. “I’m as real as you want me to be, love. I thought I’d keep you company while you wait for the dawn. I remember how much you love the dawn.”
Tears prickled her eyes. “Oh, Blake, I’ve missed you so much.”
“I know, love. I know. But we’ll be together at midnight. I promise. I’ve been waiting for you. Even though I’m dead, I still feel lonely without you.”
“Oh, Blake,” Sylvie whispered, tears pricking her eyes. She could feel her nose tingle and knew it must be turning red, like it always did whenever she cried.
“Shh, love. Don’t cry. We’ll be together soon enough.”
“Daniel’s finally getting married,” Sylvie said, wiping her eyes, trying to talk about something cheerful, something she could share with her husband. She didn’t really want to think of how Blake was there or if he even was. “The state is allowing any and all marriages to occur today just so people can die married to the person they want to be married to.”
Blake nodded. “Congratulate our son for me, love. I’ll be looking on, but I wish I could be there.”
“I know,” Sylvie said quietly. “So do I. I miss you so much.”
He smiled gently at her, but didn’t move from his spot. Sylvie suspected he couldn’t move. And she didn’t dare go to him. If she touched him, he might disappear. That was the last thing she wanted to happen. Even if he was a hallucination, she didn’t want to risk losing him. There was no telling if she could hallucinate about him again.
“And Stacie?” Blake prodded as his wife fell silent and took to plucking at her nightgown. “How’s my angel?”
“Devastated. Her boyfriend dumped her a week ago and she’s shattered that she’ll never get to be a pediatrician.”
He shook his head. “My poor angel.”
Sylvie didn’t speak; she just stared at her late husband, studying every detail. She had missed him so much and had wanted so much for him to be around to talk to. He was her pillar of strength, her voice of reason, the only one who could calm her down. The only one who had always been there for her. She realized now that, ever since his death, she had felt afloat, no longer anchored down, lost. His presence, whether it was real or not, was helping to make her feel more grounded and she didn’t want him to leave.
“Spend some time today with your sister,” Blake said gently. “I’m sure Callie and Evan won’t mind having you around.”
Sylvie managed a smile. “They’ve been wonderful, very supportive. They were here all the time after you died.”
“I know. I’m glad you and your sister are so close.”
She shook her head. “I always thought it was the older sister who was supposed to take care of her younger sister. But Callie’s been wonderful. She’s the best little sister I could have ever asked for, even if she did irritate me when we were younger.”
Blake laughed and Sylvie basked in the sound. It was a deep hearty laugh and he always threw his whole self into his mirth. She had always loved that about him. “Ah, yes. I remember all those childhood stories.”
“Thank you, Blake,” Sylvie said quietly, clasping her hands tightly together in her lap. “I needed you here. I needed to see you.”
“Don’t worry, love. We’ll be together soon enough. I didn’t get to enjoy the last day of my life. You have that opportunity. Enjoy today, Sylvie. Please. For the both of us.”
She bit her lip and then nodded a few seconds later. “For you, Blake, anything.”
“I love you, Sylvie. And I’ll see you soon. Enjoy your last sunrise and sunset knowing I’ll be waiting to reclaim you at midnight.”
“I love you, too,” she whispered, tears choking her voice.
“Turn away, love. I don’t want you to see me disappear from your life again. The first time was hard enough for you.”
Sylvie nodded and, after blowing him a kiss, turned her head to see the first rays of sunlight streaming over the treetops. She turned back a few seconds later and saw that the spot where Blake had been standing was now empty.
She woke with a start, the book on her lap falling and sliding to the floor. She was curled up on the window seat, where she had gone after waking up at around four that morning. The first rays of sunlight were appearing and the light falling across her face must have woken her. She must have fallen asleep and Blake had come into her dreams.
She just wished the dream had been real. But, knowing Blake, she was sure that every dreamed up word was true. Blake hadn’t been able to enjoy the last hours of his life. He’d been lying unconscious in the hospital for the last three hours of his life. She’d never gotten the chance to say good bye or to hear his voice again. Before that, he’d been driving to work in the city. The truck that had hit him had just spun out of control and had wiped out three other cars, killed three of the four drivers as well as four passengers, including Blake.
For Blake and for herself she would enjoy this day. She would do as much as she could, doing all the activities she and Blake had always wanted to do and those that they had enjoyed before he had been taken from her.
To start, she would enjoy her favorite part of the day: the dawn.
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