After all the police, the lights, the hospital and the questions, Jules went home. Her flat felt empty and unusual, like it had been moved by someone else. Everything was in the wrong place. For days she had just lain in bed, curled up under the covers, trying to sleep. The memories of the last month were rolling around her head.
Outside, in the cold beginning of winter, the world kept moving, and Jules could hear the cars, the trains, the occasional low flying aeroplane. None of it interested her, but the sounds of life did offer a small distraction from her internal thoughts. Her flatmates and friends rallied, and once she had opened up to them about what had happened, she felt a little better.
The day of the funeral came, but Jules found it difficult to get up. Her best friend, Sarah, made sure she got up and went, going with her for support. The day was grey and cold, and being in a cemetery just added to the greyness. The wind blew strong around the tombs and headstones. As they approached the small chapel they saw people going in, and followed, taking a seat in the middle row of seats. There weren’t many people here, about twenty in all. Near the front Jules could see his family, mother, sister, and some other people he guessed were closely related. The ceremony was short, just a few words and then the coffin was covered by a small curtain. The people stood and started to leave. On the way out Jules and Sarah stopped to offer their condolences to his mum. She took Jules in a big hug which made her shudder with tears, and they held each other for a full minute at least. They spoke a few words about him, and his mum asked after Jules, how she was doing since it all happened.
“I don’t understand what happened at all, and probably never will” she whispered into Julie’s ear “but I knew when you came to the house that he really loved you. He told me he felt the happiest he had felt in such a long time with you.” The hug ended and Jules took Sarah’s arm, walking away slowly in tears. Just as they reached the small path to the main road they heard footsteps behind them. As they turned, his sister walked up to them.
“Sorry, I was just talking to the funeral directors. He left this for you.” her outstretched hand held a small envelope with ‘Jules’ written on it. Jules stood still, frozen, unable to say anything. She managed a weak “Thank you.” and his sister walked back to the chapel.
The two of them went back to the flat and, while Sarah made some lunch, Jules walked up to her room and sat down on the bed. She had been holding the envelope since she took it from Sarah as they left the cemetery. Jules pulled herself up on the bed and kicked off her shoes, leaning back against the plump pillows at the top of the bed. She looked down at the off-white envelope, stared at her name on the front for a moment, feeling the tears well up in her eyes. She took a breath and opened it, ripping the paper envelope and pulling out the small sheet of folder paper. She used her sleeve to wipe her eyes, to dry them out to focus her sight, and unfolded the paper.
Jules, my love, There is no way I can put into words how you make me feel. I have been so lost and alone for all these years, unable to engage with the world. I’ve felt it slip past me, just a sliver away from being to touch it, and watching it all go past. Touching your fingertips last night, that simple feeling of being connected to someone, has reconnected me, and I feel the whole of reality passing through me, filling me up with emotion and thought. Because of you reaching your hand out just enough I am back in the world, a part of it. The winds of time used to pass through me, but now they move around me. I can feel the breeze on my face, against my hair, my clothes. That is the gift you have given me. Time moves so slowly when I’m with you, I cherish each tick of the clock, each heartbeat, each breath. I hope that you feel the same, but my heart tells me you do. I wanted to record these feelings at this moment in time, in this point of our relationship, like an anchor from where all our time together can stretch without coming loose. I’m not exactly sure I’ll give this letter to you, but writing it has filled me with excitement for every second, minute and year with you to come. I love you, know that without doubt. I am changed because of you, I am always here with you, and this letter will forever affirm my feelings here at the beginning of our life together. X
The moment Jules read the last line her body went limp, tears rolled down her cheeks and she let the letter slip from her hand. Staring up at the corner of the room she felt so lost and alone.
The sun, low in the sky, catches something reflective in the room and a bright flash momentarily brightens the ceiling, moving down the wall and across the floor. Julie’s eyes follow the quick moving light, breathlessly watching, as it moves up onto the bed and across the duvet. The light stops for just a microsecond, exactly on the letter, making the cream paper glow, just for a moment, before it disappears, and the room becomes still again.