Bittersweet MemoriesbyLady Lay©
Ghostly lovers have been recorded through out history, many such stories have been memorialized on film, and one that comes to mind is "Ghost" with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. Whether their real or simply the fantasy of lonely lovers, you may never know unless you have one visit you in some remarkable way!
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The events of the past week still seemed surreal, as though I was living a nightmare. John's presence invaded every nook in the house. The house pulsed with his memory. The delightful smell of his scent permeated the air as it moved lightly across his favorite aftershave that still sat on the bathroom counter beside the sink. Once again I read the hidden inscription on my wedding band, "My Love, My Heart, My Soul, Forever – John", remembering how John and I had both decided on the same identical inscriptions, the only difference being our names. John wore a ring with my name and I wore one with his.
I slipped the wedding band off my finger, rolled it around in my palm, and watched as it slid down the crystal ring holder that John had given me for Christmas. Tears streamed down my face as I slid slowly down into the tub and felt the hot steamy water embrace my skin. With a dripping warm washcloth covering my eyes, I tried to stop the pounding in my head as a vivid recollection, one that haunted my every waking moment for the past week, flashed through my mind.
Two Marine officers in Dress Blues knocked on my door, a chaplain, and the commanding officer of my husband's squadron. I invited them in. They removed their covers, stood in the living room, and read a prepared document signed by the President of the United States. I felt as though I had frozen in limbo where all actions were impossible. It was difficult to swallow and I lost my voice as they handed me a small box. It contained my husband's purple heart. All I could hear while they continued to talk was my heartbeat throbbing in my ears.
I attended the funeral in a zombie type daze. We, my parents and I, arrived at the church early so we could finish all the paperwork necessary for the burial. Representatives from the VFW were taking their places. Mom gave me a hug as I stepped up to the coffin and gazed down at my husband. Quiet. Still. Sleeping. A glint shimmered off John's wedding band and caught my eye as I instinctively straightened then smoothed down his collar. I reached for a flower out of an arrangement that graced the mahogany box and felt as though all the pent up emotions flowed down my arm, through my fingers and into that single white rose. I stepped back, placed the rose on his chest, nodded, and they closed the lid. A couple of John's friends dressed in Marine Corps Blues came forward and draped a memorial flag across the casket.
My head throbbed as I slowly sank further down in the tub seeking any kind of sanctum that would erase the reality that continuously surrounded me. With my hair swimming around my face I silently consoled myself, "You can do this, Beth. Just get through today, tomorrow will be easier." The delicious peace was broken as I gasped for air and surfaced.
"Beth, are you about ready?"
"Yeah, Mom." I took a deep breath and pulled myself out of the tub. "I'll be down in a few minutes."
"Alright Sweetie, Dad and I have to run to the store and pick up some more candy, we'll be right back to get you."
"That's fine, Mom. Why don't I meet you guys at your place, all I need to do is brush my hair and get dressed."
"Are you going to wear a costume this year? Just curious, Hun." Mom knew that Halloween was John's favorite holiday.
Each year John and I sat on the front porch in one costume or another and handed out treats to the neighborhood kids. I smiled as I remembered the year he dressed up as Frankenstein. He purchased a gruesome rubber mask from a novelty shop in the mall. It had a green face with a peg protruding out both sides of the skull and blood dripping down the enlarged forehead. We stuffed his sleeves with straw and let it leak out of the cuffs producing the illusion of an overstuffed doll. Carved pumpkins filled with dry ice created a mysterious fog around his feet as his six foot frame sat rigidly still in an old rocker on the front porch. He quietly sat in the rocker and waited for the older kids to walk down the sidewalk and towards the house then when they got close, he would slowly stand and walk towards them. The kid's either froze or screamed and their eyes got as big as saucers when he first stood up. They loved it but a number of parents fell off our porch that year!
I swallowed hard and tried to manage a feeble answer. "Not this year, maybe next year." Fortunately, Mom had not noticed the tremor in my voice or she chose to ignore it.
Dad added his customary warning as they opened the front door to leave, "Be careful on the roads, Beth. The Rockies are treacherous this time of year. Watch for ice!" His tone had a degree of warmth and concern.
"I know, Dad. I'll be just fine."
"Alright, we'll see you in a bit."
I stared out the window and waited until their car had disappeared behind the neighboring houses then I looked in the bathroom mirror and pinched my cheeks watching as the indentations remained imbedded in the lifeless and hollow face staring back at me.
"Damn it, John! I can't do this alone!" My stomach churned with anxiety and frustration as my voice drifted away in the empty house.
After I got dressed, I picked up the used towels and headed down the hall to toss them down the laundry chute. As I passed our bedroom door, I froze and looked at the unkempt bed. I bit my lower lip in an attempt not to cry but the tears gushed.
Our last night together had not been about orgasms. Somehow, we knew. That night had moved in slow motion as we explored each other's bodies more intimately than we ever had before. I could tell that John was doing the same as me, making mental images that we could retrieve over the long months that lay ahead. John remained wedged between my legs longer than usual that night, tinkering with my clit, moving his fingers in and out of my slit, as though memorizing every detail of my sex. Then he lay beside me and cupped my breasts in his hands, gently kneading them. His tongue lapped leisurely over each hardened nub before pulling it into his mouth. My skin bristled as his hand moved smoothly over it, leaving a trail of warmth down my side and over my hips.
I lay beside him and traced his body with my fingers, running them lightly over his skin, committing to memory every mole, every freckle, and every scar. The way he smelled. The way he smiled. Every nuance progressed from my fingertips to the clicking camera in my brain and was being filed and stored for future use. How could I have known?
I shut the door, walked to the bathroom, and slid the precious ring off its holder. Once the ring was back on my finger, I grabbed a coat out of the closet and slid one arm into one sleeve, slipped my drivers license and change purse into my pocket then raced down the stairs and shuffled out the door. The temperature had dropped over twenty degrees since I got up that morning and it was getting colder. I noticed that ice had started to form on the sidewalk. I had no idea if it was my runaway emotions or the cold but my hands were trembling as I slid the keys into the ignition. I took a deep breath and put the car in reverse.
My thoughts were reeling as I pulled away from the house but once I merged into traffic on the four-lane highway, I rolled the windows down and sucked the fresh mountain air deep into my lungs. "This too will pass," I kept telling myself. I turned the radio up trying to drown out the thoughts that kept racing through my head.
As I pulled up to the crossroads at the stop sign and checked for traffic to the right, I noticed that Jed Simmons had remembered to close the cattle gate to his property. I smiled as I remembered how John and I had snuck onto his property one late afternoon before we were married and how we wrestled when John had wedged my body against a tree. He pressed his leg between mine as he fondled my breast and held my mouth captive with his tongue. His hands kept roaming down trying to bunch up my skirt and I kept pulling it back in place. Then his leg moved up further and rubbed against the most intimate part of my sex, making me moan into his mouth as he started to awaken strange new sensations deep in the pit of my stomach.
I checked for traffic to the left and drove straight ahead. The sun had started to set and porch lights began to dot the hills and valleys of the mountainous terrain. It surprised me how the slightest most insignificant thing triggered my subconscious and made my body respond. The infamous porch light! That brought back bittersweet memories as I continued to drive the last few miles. We had parked in front of my parent's house, making out while watching for the light to come on. Ah, yes! I shivered at the thought! I remembered the warmth of his hand as it slid down my leg, then across my knee and how he had slyly worked his way back up until his fingers wiggled their way in between my legs. How he had coyly slid his finger inside me while he made me whimper and moan as I tried to move away from him but he anchored me against the seat. He held me tight, grinning the whole time, as his fingers explored the cavernous heat that was escaping from between my thighs. Then he whispered in my ear, "Damn, I can't wait until we're married! You're so wet! So hot! I can't imagine what you'll be like in bed!" Our eyes locked and I grinned at him because I was so naïve at that time that I had no concept of what he had just said! All I knew was that I liked what he was doing and I did not want it to stop!
Suddenly, without warning, the driver of the car in front of mine slammed on their brakes. I tapped my brakes at first then slammed them to the floor in an attempt to stop. The back tires spun on a patch of black ice and turned the tail end of my car around. Before I realized what was happening the car flipped over the embankment and I felt myself tumbling in slow motion through the air, then bouncing on the ground and rolling down the ravine until the car hit a tree and came to a dead stop. I could smell gasoline. Then I saw flames shoot up from beneath the crumpled hood. I wrestled with my seat belt trying to free myself but I was shaking uncontrollably. It would not release no matter how hard I tried.
Someone raced towards the car. His face appeared blurred through the eggshell cracked glass and I heard his curses as he attempted to pull the car door open. After many failed attempts, he started kicking the door until it sprung open. Then he leaned across me, unfastened my seatbelt, reached in, picked me up in his strong arms, and carried me away from the wreckage. I must have hit my head hard because when I looked up at my rescuer the glow that surrounded him was so intense that I had to squint and even then, my vision was blurred. Suddenly I felt his weight mesh down on top of me, covering our heads with his thick jacket as he blanketed out the light. I heard an explosion. The ground rumbled beneath our bodies and that was the last thing I remembered.
When I opened my eyes there was a paramedic leaning over me, I had no idea how long I was unconscious. He kept repeating my name and asking me if I hurt anywhere. I saw him and heard him but I was having trouble forming words.
"Beth! Beth! Open your eyes, Beth! Do you hurt anywhere? Common Beth, open your eyes, we need you to wake up!" His gentle but demanding voice prompted me to mumble out a few incoherent sentences.
"I hurt everywhere," I whimpered.
"You're going to be alright. You took quite a beating inside that car. Just try and relax, we'll get you out of here as soon as we can"
"Yeah, Lucky." I whispered. Every breath was agonizing. I rolled my head to the side and saw my car spread over the side of the hill in bits and pieces.
"You were extremely lucky," he said calmly, "If you hadn't been thrown from that vehicle you wouldn't have survived the crash."
"I wasn't thrown from the car," I corrected. "Someone pulled the door open and carried me away then I heard an explosion."
He had a puzzled look on his face but he continued to talk, "The one thing I can't figure out is how you escaped without being all cut up from the shrapnel. We found you lying in the middle of a pile of shredded metal shards but I can't find any cuts and you're not bleeding anywhere."
"The guy that carried me away from the car covered our heads with his jacket. Where is he? Is he ok? He had to have been hurt." I insisted.
"What guy?" He leaned over with a questioning look in his eyes.
"The guy who carried me from the car," I insisted. "Is he alright?" I tried to sit up and look around to see if I could see the man that had rescued me from the wreckage.
"There's no one else here," The paramedic stated.
"But he was here." I argued.
"Beth, there's no way anyone pulled you from the wreckage." He helped ease me back down on the stretcher. "We had to helicopter in. The winds are so strong through the pass that we had a hard time getting down here ourselves."
* * * *
Mom and Dad came to the hospital as soon as they could. I told them what had happened, that I had hit ice, the car spun, fell into the ravine, someone carried me out of the car before it exploded and then he disappeared. I could tell by their faces that they had already spoken with the hospital staff and had agreed with them that I must have been delusional, there was no way anyone could have reached me in time to pull me from the car before it exploded.
As soon as I had finished my version of what had taken place, one of the nurses came into the room, winked at me then reached into her pocket.
"One of the paramedics asked me to make sure you got this. I love the inscription, "My Love, My Heart, My Soul Forever - Beth."
She handed me the wedding band. "He said he found it lying on your chest and figured it must have fallen off your finger."
Without thinking, I started to put the ring on my finger. When reality struck, I bolted straight up in bed, looked at my folks, and whispered "Oh my God!"