An Independent Heart

Dear Jane,

I know you can't resist opening letters with no return address, so I'm writing you one. I don't know for sure that you'll open it, even though you've opened the last three I've sent as a test for this one. But I'm sure you will, and if you don't, I won't know. And with any luck that'll be okay.

You see, it's Don, and I have to leave you, now.

Now please, don't put down the letter! I know this sounds like a sick joke, or the setup for one of those bad horror movies we always used to watch together: "psycho stalker 'ghostwrites' letters of dead boyfriend to grieving girlfriend..." or something like that.

{Confession time: I always hated those movies, but I watched them because you liked them and I wanted you to be happy. I don't think you knew or you would have stopped suggesting we spend Saturday nights watching "cult" flicks from the video store. But you didn't, and I never said anything, and there we are.}

But I assure you, it is me. I've been dead for five years, now, and while this isn't the first time I've talked to you since then, this is the first time I'm making sure you can hear me.

Two things that should convince you it's me:

1) The night we spent together for the first time, you told me about what had happened to you in college, thanks to your creepy ex-boyfriend. You said you were afraid I might not want you when you told me you had flashbacks, and that we'd have to take it slow. And I told you we could take it as slow as you liked, and that I'd back off if you need me to, and that I liked cuddling instead if it all went wrong. And I said "I'm yours forever, no matter what."

2) The night that psycho waiter opened fire in the restaurant, killing me by accident while aiming for the girl at the table behind us, we were talking about your sister's epilepsy medication. You said you hoped she got back on the pills, regardless of what they were doing to her sex life. I agreed, and you asked if you had to make a choice... and I interrupted you and said "Hey, remember? I'm yours forever, no matter what."

You smiled at me and took my hand, and then... well, bang.

I know that was hell for you, honey. Dear God I wish I could have been there for you right there and then. Once I was in love with you all I ever wanted to be was a big shield keeping you safe from the world, and all the bad things in it.

And that's why I'm here, now, where I am. That's why I'm not dead and gone like you're supposed to be when you die.

That's why I've been the ghost haunting you.