The story so far:
With no warning, as vivid as it all was, the entire scene before my eyes simply faded away. I knew what I had witnessed was real, yet who would believe me? At this point, no one I knew. Not that anyone I knew was worth the effort.
I knew what that young women was going through. I too had received a similar letter, from a man I would never see again. The only difference between my own damaged soul and hers was that I had not died of my grief - yet.
I had started what was referred to by my friends as a "crazy search" for proof of life beyond death a year ago. While I had come up with enough proof for my own self, I had yet to be able to come up with anything others truly believed was real. During the last year I had also managed to alienate most everyone I knew through my constant need to validate my beliefs.
The first few trips to what can only be refered to as haunted houses were fairly uneventful. I guess places like the Lizzy Borden house and the Winchester Mystery Mansion just have ghosts and souls there that are over worked and underpaid. It wasn't until I started actually doing research - looking through old newspapers and then speaking to locals in small towns - that I started having these encounters. I looked for places where loves and lives had been lost, places where souls just as damaged as mine by grief were sure to linger.
It didn't take long until I started finding what I was searching so desperately for, or at least part of it. Many a scene had played before my eyes just like this one. A man or woman in some ghostly form, grieving over the one they lost. Some even spoke to me. Often times questioning if I was the one they were waiting on, but mostly just pleading. Pleading for me to bring back their lover, firend, or child. Such desperation, born of a love they thought was going to last for ever. Still, their souls lingering waiting on the one they lost.
Perhaps their lost love had not cared as deeply as they did, not bothering to stop on the way to heaven to collect the one waiting on them at home. Or perhaps that lost soul, the one the trapped was waiting on, had gone not to heaven, but to a place such as hell. No matter what the cause, it somehow made me feel slightly better that I was not alone in being trapped on this earth with only my grief and my ghosts to keep me company.
Tragically, no photo evidence or tape recordings were good enough for any of the supposedly important people left in my life. Even more tragic still was that I had yet to make contact with the one person who mattered most - the one I had lost overseas in what felt more and more every day like some farce instead of a serious war.
It's hard to view something that can take away the only person you love as serious. Harder still to realize that no one believes you or believes in you when all you want is answers and a chance to say goodbye.
As I pondered the still lingering scents of vanilla and venison on the air I realized that maybe for the first time I was not alone. Not only spiritually, but physically as well. Someone - someone alive - was definetely there with me now. I turned around slowly, expecting some half-crazed squatter, angry that I had entered into his or her "home sweet home". But I was definetely not ready for what I was about to face.