FAMILIAR STRANGER

©Tobenquincy

Anika couldn’t get her eyes off the picture that hung on the wall. She still couldn’t come to terms with the reality of what had just hit her. With her right hand placed on her chest, she asked the nurse again, “Did you say the man in this picture is late?” The nurse nodded and said “Yes madam he is. His name is Christopher and he used to work here. He died a long time ago”.

With her eyes squinted, Anika moved closer looked to the picture. She couldn’t believe this was the same man that always came to her everyday while she was in the hospital bed battling with her life. She couldn’t believe this was the same person that always gave her hope, that she’d walk again.

“He can’t be dead, Chris cannot be dead” She suddenly moved away from the picture. The nurse tilted her head a bit upwards and asked Anika if everything was alright. Anika ignored her and moved back to the picture as though she had forgotten to check something.

Eyes shut this time, she touched it again, slowly, and said “You can’t be gone, please come back to me. You felt so real. Everything about you did.”

The nurse was thunderstruck. She opened her mouth to speak but shut it on a second thought. Anika started shedding tears. She missed Chris. She missed the motivational talks they always had. The inspirational stories he always told her. She missed listening to him sing. Most of all, she missed his touch and, the exceptional warmth of his embrace.

She quietly sat on the floor and bowed slowly. It was one week since she got discharged from the hospital and she hadn’t seen Christopher. She couldn’t believe nobody noticed him but her. She couldn’t believe she had fallen in love with a ghost. A ghost who had helped her get back on her feet again.

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