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A Kiss Goodbye

Turning around was the hardest part. I had kissed her goodbye and eventually, I walked away from her, but the turning around, taking my eyes away from hers was the part that would have killed me if I were still alive. Yet in my heart, as much as I hated to go, I knew it was finally time.

It had not been time last year when my soul was ripped out of my body as the gun fired. The echo of the blast rang in my ears along with the last words I spoke as a mortal man, "Please, I just want to love her." My body fell, and suddenly I was staring at myself - the blood running from the wound and I knew that my life had ended. Worse, my life with her had ended.

That was when they came. I don't know what you call them really - escorts, messengers? They beckoned to me, but then I heard her call my name and I saw her face as her eyes fell on my body and I knew I could not leave. Her pain was actually visible to me. I guess it had something to do with changed how I perceived things. This light, this red, burning light surrounded her, and I knew it was the shock and grief she felt at finding me. How could I leave her like that?

The messengers waited patiently, but when it became clear I would not go, they left. And so I stayed and I watched over her. I couldn't do much at first, and looking back I guess it was because the timing wasn't right. I helped Jarod find her that night at the bar because I didn't want her to kill herself driving home, and when she laid in bed and cried, I laid beside her, wrapping my ghostly arms around her hoping she could feel how much I loved her.

Time passed. I stayed with her everywhere she went. When she was shot, I helped them carry her to safety and I never left her side. She dreamt about me a lot then. She dreamed about what our life could have been like if I'd lived. That made me cry. I didn't know you could cry once you were dead, but you can when something hurts you badly enough.

She lived. I knew she would because the messengers didn't come back. She healed. And I kept watching her. It was only now, as the first anniversary of my murder approached that I felt my powers changing, growing. Suddenly, I could not only see her dreams, I could change them. And I realized that I could make her see me.

That first time, in the shower, I swear I felt her hand on my cheek. I know it was only a vision I gave to her, but I felt it. I could feel something welled up inside of her, some weight that she needed to have relieved but that I could not reach. I had to find a way to help her let it go, but what was it?

Then she found out about Jarod. She was angry. I felt it immediately. She felt manipulated and betrayed and I couldn't blame her. Then, I felt her heart soften - no, she told herself, Tommy loved you, and Jarod had nothing to do with that. I was so relieved when she found the answer herself. Nothing was harder to watch than to see her turn her eyes away from the truth, but this time, she found it and she held it inside of herself and I knew it would save her. I took the chance then to tell her to trust Jarod. She didn't want to hear me, but she listened. She means so much to him. The only thing that's made this bearable is knowing that she will have him to take care of her, even if he doesn't always do it the way I'd like him to.

She was never more beautiful than when she was delivering that baby. God, the truth of that baby is going to tear her apart, and I wish I could be here to help her through it, but that isn't my job. Jarod is the one who will have to stand by her through that horror - more accurately; they'll have to stand by each other once they find out the secret. But the way she brought that life into the world, not knowing at all her real connection to the baby that was counting on her for survival - I can't tell you how proud I am of her. She took her hatred and sat it aside and she thought only of the innocent person that was coming into the world. That is why I love her, why I will love her still, for all eternity.

Then I heard her on the phone with Jarod. God, how could she think I didn't know? True, she never said the words, but she told me all the time. It makes me sad that she's had so little love in her life that she doesn't realize that I knew without hearing her say "I love you." She told me every time she looked at me, every time she touched my cheek while I slept. She said it loud and clear when she asked for my help and she said it every time our bodies came together. I died knowing I had never been and could never be loved better by anyone in my life. But she didn't know that, and I had to help her see it.

She went out to the swing. I think somehow, she was trying on her own to will me there, her heart listening to Jarod's advice without her mind clouding the subject for her. When she looked up and saw me walking toward her, I saw the smile come back to her eyes and I knew that I had been right to stay. This is why I did not go before - because she needed this moment and I was the only one who could give it to her.

We danced. I held her in my suddenly solid arms and I thanked whatever power ran the universe for giving people momentary miracles. I kissed her, and I whispered to her that she made my life worth living. Then she told me. She said the words she had carried all year, and I felt her heart lighten and her soul filled with a peace I had only sensed in her before on the nights when I'd held her in my arms as she fell asleep. Then I told her I loved her to.

We knew it was time for me to go, and we said goodbye and I walked away. Then came that moment, when I had to turn around. It seemed to take hours for me to make the movement, but finally, I slowly began to turn and then she was gone. Ahead of me, I saw the messengers, their smiles bright as they waved me toward them and this time, I did not fight.

This time, we had our kiss goodbye.

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