Worlds Apart

[WP] Your wife has been dead for the past 5 years and you’ve moved on, going on dates to try and find a new partner. Last night, however, you heard the unmistakable sound of her whispering in your ear.

    “Are you there, Drew?”
Drew cuts his eyes to the side but doesn’t otherwise respond. He’s sitting on his sofa, slouched down into the pillow tops while watching a movie.
A huge explosion displays on screen, and Drew laughs heartily.
“That didn’t sound very funny, Drew.”
Drew suddenly sits up and looks towards the kitchen. He was used to hearing her voice— rather, the memory of it, but it had never referenced something he was actively participating in. He looks behind the sofa, then in the nearby storage closet. He closes the closet door and pauses, listening.
“Drew, hunny, are you there?”
“Yes, Anna. Yeah—I’m here,” he says folding his hands together and pressing them against his mouth. “I can hear you,” he whispers.
“How are you holding up?”
He nods, sulking. “I’m good, I’m good. One day at a time, you know?” He stares up at the ceiling, not really knowing where to look. “I—I’ve missed you. It would be nice if I could see you too.”
“I’m sorry, Drew, but that’s not a good idea. You’re already refusing to let go, so seeing me isn’t going to help matters.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m fine. Really. I’ve been doing better.”
“Oh, yeah? Can you tell me a little about how that’s going?”
Drew continues to scan around at his ceiling. “Well, I’ve been going on dates.” He nods. “Yeah, I’ve had several.”
“Really? And how did that go?”
Drew shrugs. “It was fine. Just waiting for the right one, I guess.”
“So what was your last date like?”
“Uh, would that be appropriate? With you being gone and all?”
“We talked about that when we were together, Drew. Remember? We said, no matter what happens to either of us, we’ll do our best to find love again.”
Drew nods. “I remember, Anna.”
“So tell me about your date. What was her name?”
“It was Ann—er Is—abelle. Yeah, Isabelle.”
“Isabelle huh? That’s a lovely name. Anything else?”
Drew shakes his head. “Not really. Nothing happened so what’s to tell? Why do you wanna hear about that stuff anyways? Aren’t you watching?”
“Because I still care about you, Drew, and I want you to be happy. But you didn’t really go on any dates.”
Drew nods. “Sure I did. Lots of ‘em.”
“What were you watching earlier? Can you describe to me?”
“Oh, you couldn’t see? I thought maybe you were watching with me.”
“No, but I could hear the sounds of shooting and things blowing up.”
“Yeah, it’s about some special forces guys. They were raiding a compound with and are trying to take out an evil dictator.”
“And that was funny? Them blowing things up and shooting people?”
Drew shrugs. “Yeah, because they deserve it.”
“I don’t think that’s supposed to be funny, Drew. And it’s probably funny for the same reason you’re pretending to go on dates. You’re just covering everything up and refusing to see things the way they are. Laughing at explosions isn’t healthy. Surely, you can see that. You’re still stuck in denial, Drew. How long are you going to put yourself through this?”
“Well, you left! It’s your fault. All of it is!”
“Drew, it’s more complicated than that.”
“Is it? You weren’t supposed to leave me like that! We’d be together forever—we said that! Forever! And you quit!”
“If that’s what helps you cope, then sure, it’s all my fault, Drew. All of it. But does that really change anything for either of us?”
Drew sobs and shakes his head. “I just want it to all go away. I want to wake up and things go back to what they use to be. Help me—help me do that, Anna? I just want—I just want to do it all over again, to do it right this time.”
“Drew, you know that’s not possible.”
“I just—” Drew backs into a wall and slides down to his butt, his hands drooping over his knees as he stares at the floor. “I can’t do this without you, Anna.”
“Yes, you can, Drew. You always could. I never stopped believing in you. You know that right? I’ve always believed in you, but now—It’s wrong for me to keep holding onto you like this. We have to let go of one another and just appreciate what we shared. If we can’t do that, then we’ll just end up smothering each other until we’re both destroyed.”
Drew’s head raises and he brushes the top of his knuckles across the underside of his nose. “You still miss me, Anna?”
“Of course I do, Drew. Nothing’s ever going to change that. The only thing keeping me from being happy right now is knowing how miserable you are. So I can’t move on unless you do.”
“So I’m causing you grief?”
“Yes, Drew. The same way that I’m causing it for you. You have to understand though. I didn’t leave you. I’ve always been right here. I never left, but you didn’t either, did you, Drew?”
Drew stands as rays of sunshine streak across the air above him. He stands and continues looking at it, then follows to see the light coming through the wall on the other side of the dining room table.
“I haven’t been doing so well either, Drew. But I’m trying.”
“Oh yeah?” he asks as he raises his fingers to move through the sunshine. Birds can be heard beyond the wall, and he turns back to look across his den. The blinds are open on his front windows, and he sees his porch light illuminating the nighttime setting.
“I tried therapy for a while and that helped some.”
“They have therapy where you are, Anna?”
“Yes, Drew. But that didn’t do a lot for me, so I sought some questionable help elsewhere. I tried psychic readers and mediums…and you know what? It turns out that I had a knack for it, so I’ve been studying.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, Drew. It’s how I’m finally able to talk to you now…I’m a medium.”
The sunlight continues to grow from the wall and illuminates the dining room table next to him. Anna is sitting on the opposite side of him and smiling back. The view between them is streaked with light and he has to use his hand as a visor to shield the light from the wall.
“You look good, Anna.” She smiles warmly as a tear breaks into a sprint down her cheek. She nods.
“I never left you, Drew,” she says, with broken words.
“Yeah,” he says, rubbing the back of his head. “I can see that now. I—I’m sorry—about what I said earlier.”
“It’s ok.”
He puts his hand into the back of his jeans pocket and thumbs to the light from the wall. “I guess that’ll be for me then.” She nods again, unable to speak. “I’ll be seeing you, Anna.”
He steps through.