I can't remember ever being not dead.
Or the process of dying.
My first memories involve when I was still in my body, newly dead.
I woke up, but I couldn't move.
My neck hurt like crazy, but I couldn't cry out.
I could still see, but my eyes wouldn't close. No matter how much I wanted them to.
I stared at my own body for three days before someone found me.
They screamed a lot.
Though I suppose it is understandable. There was a lot of blood after all.
I try to forget that incident. But I can't.
Just one of the flaws of having a limited amount of material to remember.
One thing I can't help but remember, was just before my funeral.
I was in the morgue, and I was identified by a boy who I was certain I didn't know.
"Yeah," he said, with a broken voice, "That's her."
But he seemed to know me.
They finally decided to close my eyes after that.
His broken face was gone from my view.
For a little while anyway.
That's how they dealt with my body.
A terrible process, it hurt like hell,
But it was over quickly.
It seems that my mind separated from my body after there was no body to be attached to.
I was free.
I was dead, a ghost. But at least I could move.
I attended my own funeral.
I sat in the back row, but I left before the ceremony really started.
Surrounded by people who shed tears of sorrow for me,
I couldn't even pick my own mother from the crowd.
That was a while ago now.
I still see some of my funeral attendees every now and then, but they can't see me.
I tried getting one woman's attention once, to see if maybe we could have a conversation.
I lifted a pencil and wrote one word across the paper.
She frowned when she found it later, obviously confused as to who wrote it.
Then she threw it away.
Needless to say, I didn't get a reply.
I never really tried to communicate with anyone since that day.
Well, until I found the boy.
Man is probably a better description.
He looked miserable.
He lived alone,
He never smiled, not once.
I decided I would talk to him, figure out what my connection was to him,
And figure out what it was about my death that left him so miserable for years afterwards.
I tried the paper approach.
Hello. I wrote once more.
When he saw the paper he frowned,
He lived alone after all.
He glanced around, I don't know why.
Then hesitantly he wrote back,
No sooner that he put the pen down was it in my hand.
Who are you?
He watched the pen move silently, no expression on his face.
Then he blinked.
Then once more.
I couldn't tell what was going through his mind at this point,
He was obviously scared, but he lifted the pen again.
I'm Jake. Who are you?
Jake, that name struck a chord through me.
I had to find out why he was so familiar to me.
I don't know. I replied,
Then, Why are you so sad, Jake?
He shook his head, then replied,
I'm not sad.
My response was immediate, and even I don't know what compelled me to write the next few words.
Please don't lie to me, Jake.
He seemed shocked. Why?
Eliza? He asked aloud after a prolonged moment of silence.
Was that me?
The name seemed familiar, like I had heard it in passing once upon a time.
I can't remember my name, I wrote.
But I remember you, from the morgue.
He didn't say anything, so I kept writing.
You know me. Who am I, Jake?
His face had drained of all colour some time ago, and it seemed he couldn't bring himself to continue the conversation.
He snatched the paper, and crumpled it as tight as it would possibly go.
And that was that.
Or so he thought.
I knew that he knew who I was. I just have to get him to tell me.
When he made a grocery list the next day, I wrote on the bottom.
Who am I, Jake?
When he was in the shower, I traced out letters in the fogged mirror.
Who am I, Jake?
Every margin of every newspaper and every magazine,
Every list he made, or note to himself for later,
Every spare and scrap piece of paper.
WHO AM I JAKE?
Eventually he broke down, and laid a blank sheet of paper on the table. Next to it was a pen.
He made no move to start writing, so I did it instead.
Who is Eliza? I wrote.
He made no response for a long time.
Then in a quiet voice, I'm so sorry, Eliza.
I'm sorry I got mad, I'm sorry I let you walk alone, I'm sorry I didn't-
He choked on his words, and his lip wobbled.
I'm so, so sorry.
I picked up the pen for the last time.
I forgive you. I wrote.
And I meant it, I may not have remembered exactly what happened leading up to my death,
But I as I wrote my final words, I felt a tremendous weight I hadn't noticed before lift itself off of my shoulders.
As the man before me sobbed I stood up, and walked to the window to stand in the sunlight for the last time.
As I did, he looked up, and it seemed as though he could really see me.
Thank you, Eliza, thank you. He said with tears streaming down his face.
With the weight gone from my shoulders, I felt the weight on his shoulders began to lift off as well.
I nodded my head once and smiled, then stepped through the glass into the light beyond.
I looked back as I was almost through,
He smiled through his tears, and I knew he would be ok.