By Susan E. Holle
Leaves crunched beneath Olivia’s boots as she walked through the park. She tightened her jacket to shield herself against the cold. After reaching the swing set, she sat in one and glanced around.
She soaked up the peace of the park. For the last six months she had been going through the motions of life, living day by day. That had to change. She had decisions to make.
But how? If my counselor and my pastor can’t help me, then who can?
She turned toward the familiar voice. The sun blinded her. She shaded her eyes with a hand, and saw her boyfriend, Bryan. She jumped up and flung her arms around his neck. She breathed in the scent of his cologne and enjoyed the warmth of his arms around her.
“I’ve missed you. I’ve been lost since you left.” She stepped back. “I can’t believe you are here.”
Bryan smiled and caressed her cheek. “I had to see you, but I don’t have much time.”
“Oh.” She lowered her eyes, inhaled and tried to keep her sadness at bay. She forced a smile, determined not to waste their time. “You’re here now. That’s all that matters.”
He took her hand, leading her to a wooden bench. After they sat, he sighed. “Boy, being here brings back memories.”
“Like meeting a scrawny blonde girl?”
“Yep.” He gave her a wink. “And she grew up into a babe.”
Her face heated. “Thanks. You did too. Every girl in school was jealous I was your girlfriend.” She glanced at the ground and shook her head. “You deserved someone better than me.”
He put a finger under her chin and locked eyes with hers. “Hey, don’t say that. I’ve always loved you. Even when I was six.”
Tears welled in her eyes. Unable to look at him any longer, she pulled away and stood, turning away from him. “How can you still love me?”
“It wasn’t your fault.” He gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze, “Please believe that.”
“I can’t,” she said in a shaky voice. “If we hadn’t gone to that stupid Maroon 5 concert that I wanted to go to, my car wouldn’t have broken down in the worst part of the city, we wouldn’t have gotten mugged and you wouldn’t have gotten shot and…“
“Died,” he finished.
She turned and faced him, tears trickling down her cheeks. “How can you stand to be around me knowing I didn’t do anything to stop that mugger from killing you? I just stood there as he pulled out his gun and shot you, and then I ran.”
”What else could you’ve done? Wrestle him for his gun?”
“Then you would have died too.” He stepped closer and cupped her face in his hands. “You did the right thing by running away.”
“But I left you.”
“You had to.” He wiped her tears with the pads of his thumbs.
She shrugged. “I wish I could go back and tell myself not to go to the concert.”
“Well, you can’t.” He lifted her chin. “Life is fragile. You don’t know what is going to happen, but you can’t stop living.” He sighed. “Listen, Livie, I’ve been watching you since my death, and I’m worried about you.”
She furrowed her brow. “You watch me?”
He chuckled. “Not all of the time. They have rules up there about respecting our loved ones’ privacy.”
“Good to know.”
“Anyway, I was so worried that I asked to be granted a special pass to come down and talk to you.“ His gaze went Heavenward. “They must be worried about you too, because those passes aren’t easy to get, especially for a newcomer like me. God himself gave me information about your futures.”
Her eyes widened. “Wow. What do you mean by my futures?” She tilted her head. “Don’t you mean ‘future’?
“Well, you’re at crossroads now.” He brushed her hair from her forehead. “If you keep blaming yourself for my death, the guilt will destroy you. But if you accept that it wasn’t your fault, then you’ll have a bright future as a doctor and have a family of your own.”
“I figured we would always be together.”
“We don’t always get the future we envisioned, but it can be even better.”
She sniffed and wiped away tears. “Are you happy?”
“Yes.” He smiled. “I get to help people-even though they can’t see me. That makes me happy. What would make me even happier is if you accepted the scholarship from Texas A&M, went to medical school and were happy. You’re meant to help and save people. Please promise me you will.”
“You were always unselfish.” She smiled, eyes sparkling. “Okay. I promise. I’ll live for both of us.”
“That’s my girl.” He looked up. “I’ve to go now. They’re calling me back.”
Her heart wrenched and she leaped into his arms. “No. Don’t go yet.”
“I have to.” He pulled away. “But don’t worry. I’ll be there for you whenever you need me.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.” He kissed her cheek. “Goodbye.”
White orbs swirled around him until he vanished.
After he left, she didn’t feel the emptiness and sadness she had expected. The thousand pound weight she had been carrying was lifted from her chest.
She glanced up and smiled. “Thanks, Bryan.”
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Susan is thirty-year-old woman who has Cerebral Palsy. but doesn’t let her disability stand in the way of all of the things she wants to achieve. Susan graduated high school with honors and then went to Blinn Junior College and then went to Texas A&M University. She graduated in 2006 and now she is a video editor and writer.