A Final Wish

I one time sat,
my desk a mess of papers,
so studiously and dulled
as I worked through the day.
When there by my side,
stood a man, just my size,
in a coat and woolen cap.

He was dapper and clean shaven,
no more than fifty years old.
His smile was careful and grim.
He watched me in silence,
his existence unnoticed
by all of those nearby.

I worked without notice,
ignoring his presence
so close to my tiny work space.
But soon I couldn’t resist
but to glance up and say,
“Sir, can I help you today?”

His smile widened
yet his face stayed the same.
Up reached his freckled hand
as he tipped his hat and said,

“Oh how you’ve grown,
so beautiful and fine.
A young woman you are now,
with a life of your own.”

His words of comfort and
air of friendship and ease
made me sit back against my chair
“And who are you, please?”

The man replaced his hat
standing upright and tall.
He closed his eyes and
cleared his throat and answered,
“No one you know.”

“I knew you once,
a long time ago
before your memories even began.
I’ve been dead these past thirty years
and return only to say
it is time for you to go.”

I couldn’t comprehend,
my mind tripping and faulting.
This was just a man here,
standing so close,
and not a ghost.

But soon I could see
the wall across from me
through the sad smile on his face.
I knew then it was true
he was not alive like
me or you.

I grasped at my thoughts
my heart beat in my chest
as I struggled to come to grips.
“What do you mean?”
I choked out,
fear holding my voice.
“How can this be? Do I get any choice?”

With a grim shake of his head,
fear was replaced by dread
as I waited for his response.

“Long long ago,
as I was resting on my death bed,
your mother, my friend,
was there by my side,
and there till the end.
Before I passed, I had a vision of a young girl,
your type,
dying a most untimely death.
With a tear and a frown,
she asked me to make clear
if it was her unborn child
she already held dear.

To her I replied that I hated to say
it was just this way
I saw in my vision so clear as daylight.
Against my chest, she cried broken hearted
and asked me to be there for you.
To watch and to witness your life to the end,
a promise I intended to keep.

So here I am, I’m sorry to say.
Your time to go has come.
But you need not fear,
for I am here,
fulfilling your mother’s greatest wish.
That you enter into
a life ever after
with a friend by your side.”

My tears began ceasing,
my anxiety slowly decreaing.
If I had no choice why should I cry?
I wiped my eyes
and drew a deep breath
as I looked up and realized
it was him.

The man by my bedside
a distant figure in a frame.
A man of times gone by.
The man in my dreams,
a sturdy figure that watched
me as I slept peacefully.
The figure I’d see out of the corner of my eye
when the end of the day drew near.

He’d always been there
from my youth until now.
He had fulfilled my loving mother’s only wish.

“Can I ask of one thing?” I quietly inquired
my voice barely able to escape.
“May I leave a letter to my mother?”

The specter nodded slowly,
his eyes closed tight and peaceful
as I set down to pen
a simple farewell.

With my tongue pressed against my lips,
I sealed the envelope closed
and left it on my desk
addressed neatly as I could.

As I stood and accepted my fate,
my friend reached out his hand.
Warm and guiding he took mine in his,
and together we faded away.
Into a void of nothing but mist
we floated along, arm in arm.
Then, without notice,
he stopped me and asked
“What was it you wrote? What did you have to say?”

And to him I smiled,
a tear gently dropping, and said,
“I let her know,
you fulfilled her wish.
That together we’d forever be,
daughter and father.”

And with a squeeze of my hand and
a smile that stretched ear to ear,
we left the plane of earth for
a world beyond,
a world without fear.

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