A new journal. I always hesitate to sully the virgin white paper with the slash of my pen, but it gets easier once the first cut is made. I rest now from my latest project, a shelf to hold more of the books that keep me company at night. It feels good to work with my hands, practicing my craft that I may forget awhile that this is just another in an endless parade of empty and meaningless days.
When I see her, my beautiful Anna, I lose my breath just like the first day I laid eyes on her. How cruel to be unable to touch her! Today she appeared as I tended my garden, one of the few joys in this empty life. I can sense when she is near — Lord knows how since there is never a sound to announce her. I looked up and gasped as I always do when I see her delicate pale features and the blue dress so familiar. She looks so sad. It breaks my heart to see her so, but what can I do? When I speak to her, she only looks at me. There was a time, years ago, when I thought I heard her whisper, but I could never make out the words and she would not speak louder, no matter what I did. I do not know how much more of this I can stand. She comes to me, so close, and yet the barrier that separates us is impenetrable.
She came again today. I was glad to see her, yet angry at the cruel twist of fate that took her warm, vital being away and put in her place this pale shadow that only whispers and reminds me of dreams of a life together. This house was to be our home, where we would raise our children and live out our lives once we were married. Instead I grow old alone and she appears, looking as she always has, frozen at the age of exuberant life when dreams did not seem so foolish and vain.
I tended my garden today and she was there. I looked at her face and remembered her walking along the pier and twirling in circles like a child, so excited to be in the air of the sea. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail that tossed as she turned. I envied that catch of hair, for its lucky place so close to the woman I loved. Her eyes were blue and striking then, so bright against the dark frame of her brown hair. Now her eyes are gray and faded, like the rest of her. If someone were to ask, I would tell them that death is a thief who steals color and leaves behind a pale shadow in its place.
What does it mean that her light was taken from me yet part of her was left behind? Whatever lesson there is for me to learn, I have missed it. Why is my beloved Anna not allowed to rest in peace? Is it a desire more powerful than the draw of heaven? Perhaps she waits for me so that we may travel on together, but surely we would be reunited in Paradise in due time. Could it be that our love was meant to blossom, but her passing came too soon, that she remains until our love can be fulfilled?
I have wondered of late if there might be a way to join my beloved. Perhaps it will only be in death that we are able to hold hands and share secrets again. I know it is a sin to even consider it, but tell me how God could do this to us if He exists? And what if it is a sin? I am already in Hell, separated from my Love by a thin veil of shadow. I shake with fear when I ponder it, but I must confess I feel an excitement I have not felt since before that black day so many years ago…