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Ghost Writer

Tim Swartz | Grace Gao

Most of you have good reasons for not believing in the spirit world. For some of you, it’s just not possible to imagine the human soul continuing its existence among the living without concrete, scientific proof. Others would argue that this sort of thing goes against their religious beliefs or that the idea of ghosts existing among them is just too frightening to accept. I can’t really blame you; I used to feel that way too. But a year ago, on a bright and sunny June morning, as I felt my soul being permanently wrenched from my earthly body, I learned the reality of such things. The truth is, we do continue our journey on the other side. And for some like me, the transition can be a little problematic.

Now you’re probably starting to feel a bit uncomfortable reading a communication from one of the unliving. That’s okay; I tend to have that effect on your kind. But just relax and try to see this for what it is; the story of how I came to leave the land of the living and why I haven’t been able to completely let go of the life I left behind.

Maria and I met in the waiting room of our veterinarian in December, and six months later, we were getting married on the beach in Hawaii. She was the love of my life and deserved much better than what happened that day.

The morning of the wedding, I woke up early and walked along the shoreline thinking about how fortunate I was. I stopped and looked at the horizon and shaded my eyes as the water glistened in the brilliant sunshine. I had planned to meet the rest of the wedding party for breakfast at ten, and it was already half past nine. But the crystal clear turquoise water was just too tempting. I kicked off my flip-flops, dove into the surf and began to swim toward a sandbar that was a few hundred feet from shore.

I should have seen the break in the sandbar sooner, but by the time I did it was too late. I fought for what seemed like hours against the riptide, and eventually my arms and legs felt like they were made of iron. I began to struggle to stay above water, and I remember looking up and reaching toward the sky and asking God to lift me up.

It’s true, at least it was for me, that when we’re dying our lives literally flash before our eyes. It was about this time that I began to see glimpses of my childhood. I saw myself at my 10th birthday party surrounded by my friends, with mom and dad standing behind me smiling. It was like flipping through the pages of our family photo album. One after another, they would appear, then quickly give way to the next image.

Finally, I saw Maria, her sweet smile and chestnut brown hair hanging all the way to her waist. She was wearing the same little black dress she had on the day we met. I closed my eyes and fought to hold onto that image until it was over.

At the risk of losing credibility, I’ll forgo the details of what happened to me immediately upon my death. After all, I think we’re all entitled to experience that mystery first hand. But let me make one thing very clear. You won’t be disappointed.

With that said, there have been some unresolved issues for me. It’s been three months since I watched Maria fall to her knees as she received the news. A few days later I was with her as she sat between my parents at the funeral. But she still comes to visit me every day. And whenever she does, I just can’t ignore her haunting voice. I always come rushing to her side as she stands over my grave, crying and telling me how much she misses me. I’ve even tried to answer her a few times, but she’s still too upset to hear me.

Now from the little I’ve been told around here, this is about the time most of us should begin to let go of our loved ones and move on to the next level. I’ve been working on this, but as long as I see her suffer, I can’t experience the joy that’s waiting for me. Some here have tried to comfort me by reminding me that she’s young and has her whole life in front of her, or that there’s a reason for everything and I just need to be strong. But I can smell B.S. here as well as I could when I was alive.

So you see my struggle now and hopefully you understand. This little piece has just been my cathartic attempt to work through my issues. Writing about my problems was the way I dealt with them while I was living, and as they say, old habits die hard.

As you can imagine though, for me, reaching an audience now is difficult to say the least. That is until the night I saw him sitting at his desk in the very same apartment I used to occupy. An unsuspecting young man staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor. He looked as though he needed some inspiration for a story, and I saw an opportunity to help. I leaned close and whispered the first few words into his ear, and the hair on the back of his neck and arms stood on end. He looked suspiciously around the room and shivered as he stood to close an open window. When I whispered to him again his fingers began to move across the keyboard, and I smiled to myself as he typed the words I spoke. “Most of you have good reasons for not believing in the spirit world.”

About Tim Swartz

Timothy Swartz is an entrepreneur, writer of short fiction, and, at least for this story, a literary medium. He reached the pinnacle of his writing career in 1980 with a second place finish in a high school essay contest. After years of pursuing other interests, including his wife, career and family, his passion for writing has recently been rekindled.

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