Michael died suddenly while on a business trip.
I didn’t get to say goodbye.
I took it for as long as I could, but then I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew that people would be sad and that some of them would say ‘I took the easy way out’. Screw them! What do they know? I doubt that they have ever felt this bad.
My despair must have been showing because my best friend Julie decided to talk to me. Up until this time she had tried to be a good and supportive friend by being around when I needed her, but unlike almost everyone else she had refrained from giving advice.
I suppose she felt I was slipping away.
She was right.
I’d made up my mind. I was going to go and be with Michael.
I had it all planned. I was going to say goodbye as subtly as possible to all the people who had meant something to me. I had chosen the coming Monday to “shuffle off this mortal coil.” Monday seemed like the perfect day for such a deed. No one drops in unexpectedly on a Monday, but Julie did.
“You know that I don’t interfere,” (it’s true, she doesn’t),” but I’m really worried about you. I have this horrible feeling that you are about to do something that cannot be undone.”
Julie had knocked on my door at the ungodly hour of 9:30 am. For a change, I was up and dressed in preparation for my ‘departure’. If she had not banged on the door I would have been gone within the hour.
“It’s time for me to go Julie. I did my best, but I can’t do it anymore. I’m going to miss you most of all.” She didn’t show any signs of surprise when I said this, she just looked at me as if she was deciding whether or not to tell me something.
“I’m glad you told me that because it makes it much easier for me to tell you this.”
She had my attention.
“Michael comes to you in your dreams. Am I right?”
“Yes, he does,” I said
“Usually at about 2:30 am?” she said.
“Yes. How did you know?”
“Because it happens to me as well,” she said. Julie’s husband died more than ten years ago.
“I’m not telling you what to do, but I am suggesting that you put off your departure for twenty-four hours. Do you have a room that can be completely blacked out? A room that is big enough to move around in and not bump into the furniture?”
“As it happens, yes I do, but what has that got to do with anything?” She ignored my question.
“I want you to be in that room at exactly 2:30 am dressed in your prettiest party dress. Move all of the furniture out of the way and make sure that it is dark. Turn off the lights and remain standing. I know this sounds crazy, but what have you got to lose?”
She had a point. One more day couldn’t hurt. I must admit that, just for a moment, I thought she might be just stalling me so that the police could drag me off to the funny farm, but that wasn’t the case.
My alarm went off at 2:00 am and I got out of bed and put on the dress that Michael had bought for me for our anniversary. I fixed my makeup and brushed my hair. I felt like an idiot, but I stood in the middle of the darkened room and waited for 2:30 am to roll around.
I could hear the dance band in the distance and it slowly got louder. Coloured light began to fill the room as the orchestra hit its stride.
Michael tapped me on the shoulder and I spun around.
“Dancing in the dark is no fun on your own, can I cut in?”
I didn’t speak because I was afraid that all this might go away as quickly as it came so I smiled demurely and took his hand.
We danced until the orchestra leader looked pleadingly at Michael.
“I’ve got a wife and kids at home mate. Any chance we could pack it in for the night?” he said.
I looked around and saw that all the other couples had gone home. It was only Michael and I left on the dance floor.
“Fair enough mate,” said Michael.
We hadn’t spoken a word for the entire evening. We didn’t need to.
“Thank you for dancing with me, fair lady,” said Michael. He bowed to me and walked off into the darkness.
The room went dark and I was suddenly very tired. I slept until early in the afternoon when I was awoken by a knock on the door.
I ushered Julie in and made us both a coffee.
“How did you go last night?” she said.
“How often does that happen?” I heard myself ask.
“As often as you want it to happen,” she said.
We sat and drank our coffees and gazed out of the window. Friends who will sit silently with you are excellent friends.
“What are you going to wear tonight?” Julie asked.
“I haven’t decided yet. Probably the blue, but maybe the green. Michael always liked the green.” I said.
“No more thoughts of leaving us?” Julie asked.
“No, I don’t think so. I love dancing in the dark. Maybe I’ll stay around a while.”