Release Me

Winter ABC 2021: Day 20

I clutched my chest unable to breathe. Gasping for air while sinking slowly to the ground. Is this what death felt like? An overwhelming sense of impending doom gripped my mind. The poetic justice of dying the day before my wedding was a sweet tragedy. A perfect scene from a Shakespearean plot. I heard a gentle voice calling out my name.

“Rita… Rita…”

My eyelids became heavier as I slipped into comfortable darkness. A soothing and fluid voice whispered inaudibly in my ear. Cold breath crept on my skin, sending shivers down the spine. Out of the obscured darkness of unconsciousness a dark figure knelt in front of me. A foreboding presence, heavy and menacing. Completely paralyzed, my cheek pressed on the cold ceramic of the bedroom floor. I prayed for an escape. Fighting unconsciousness and hoping that someone might just walk in to my rescue.

Maybe I was really dead and Hades came to collect his dues?  That afternoon I spent two hours sprawled on the floor. Alone, immobilized and numb from fear. The hovering presence finally spoke clearly.

“Rita, it’s me… Lisa.”

There was no way, Lisa died several years ago. A dead girl was speaking to me and suddenly there was an energy of desperation.

“Help me” She whispered.

Lisa was my college best friend, but she committed suicide in our final year. Lisa suffered from the aftermath of an abusive and traumatic childhood. For someone who mastered the art of hiding her mental struggles, it was hard to notice the depression or gauge it’s severity. There was no suicide letter, no goodbye, just a cold body in bed from amitriptyline overdose. She ingested 50 pills. I never got over this heartbreak.

6 years later, a few hours before walking down the aisle, I was dying on the bedroom floor and talking to my dead friend. What a great way to go.

“Release me Rita”

I never forgave myself for not seeing the telltale signs. It ate me up for years and I kept replaying our last conversation in my mind. It was any other day on campus, she mumbled something about taking a nap and I never saw her again. I did carry her in my heart every single day. Sometimes I felt a lingering aura, as if she was with me. It was a comforting sensation.

It hit me at that moment and I understood this dead girl. Hot tears gushed out, I wept from the core of my soul. For the first time I mourned Lisa. A new wave of grief washed over me as my body racked in sobs. I felt her smile and immediately felt alone. Lisa was gone. The paralysis left my body and I stood up bewildered. I felt lighter like a weight lifted off my shoulders. A loud knock on the door startled me out of this reverie. I quickly wiped the tears with the back of my hand and took a deep breath before opening the door. My grandmother stood at the door and peered over my shoulder?

“I see she is gone” She beamed at me.

“Oh grandma, how did you know?” I threw myself in her arms. She held me tight while rocking back and forth.

“Hush child, I have the sixth sense that allows us to see apparitions and lingering souls”

I saw her walking away, before she disappeared in the horizon. I lost my best friend that day. My spirit latched on hers all this time and held her for six years because I failed to process her death. It began to come together, the fleeting shadows that I shelved as seeing things and an eerie presence that became a normal part of my life. Her ghost departed before stepping into the next chapter of my life. A nostalgic emotion replaced the bottled grief. She will be missed.

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