Jake rested his hand on her coffin. It was a dreary and rainy day, and he smiled to himself. He thought how much she would have criticized how cliche it was that it rained on her funeral.
There were over a hundred people at the funeral. Friends and family came and cried and left roses. People were most sympathetic to Jake, even more so than her own parents. Everyone knew what she meant to him.
He hadn’t really brought himself to mourn her death yet. To him, Lily was playing a cruel joke and would pop up behind a bush at any moment. He dreamed about her every night – about them laughing and her smile. Jake couldn’t accept that he would never see his best friend again.
When the funeral was over he went back to their apartment and sat on her bed. He took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Her room really was messy. She hated cleaning. He absentmindedly felt around her mattress, and pulled out a book. He knew she kept a journal. He rubbed it with his fingers while he decided if he wanted to open it and read it. Again, he was afraid she’d catch him in her elaborate hoax.
He opened it. Lily wrote about everything. Not about the day to day things, but she wrote about all her feelings. Jake’s face contorted to an ugly mess and tears ran down his cheeks. He leaned back on her pillows and read and cried for hours. When he finally got to the end, at a blank page, he sat up and rubbed his eyes. But when he looked back down, there was writing.
“I can’t come back, Jake, but I love you.”
Jake tossed the book to the other end of the bed. Clearly, he felt, he’d gone crazy and just missed something when he was reading. He carefully picked up the book and looked at it again. The page was fresh, but the writing remained. He stared at it. There was no more writing after that one. He looked around the room. Maybe she knew something beforehand? Maybe she meant to leave the message? Maybe it meant something else? He shook his head. He looked at the journal again. There was more writing.
“I can’t see or hear you, but I know you miss me. Don’t miss me too much.”
He didn’t know what to think, but he decided to go along with it. Besides, even if he was going crazy, there was no one around to see it. He grabbed a pen from Lily’s desk and wrote in the journal.
“I love you too.”
Then he waited. After a while, he paced the room, but he waited for a long time. He looked at the journal one last time.
Jake decided to put the journal under the bed and go to sleep. He once again dreamed of Lily all night, and saw her once again. When he awoke the next morning, he ran to her room and grabbed the journal and flipped through the pages.
All the writing from the night before was gone, including the things he wrote. Not one mark. He shut the book for the last time and smiled. Lily did catch him after all.
Copyright 2014 Meg Swensen