John is right there, so close. He’s at a funeral, standing in front of a closed casket. Standing next to him is Katherine. John is my fiance. There’s tears on his cheeks. I reach out to wipe them away, but something is in the way. I look and realize there’s an ethereal veil between John and me. I push harder, but my hand grows no closer to John.
A priest stands at the head of the casket, holding an open book. His mouth forms words, but I don’t hear them. John is watching him speak. A hand suddenly rests itself on my shoulder, but I brush it off, barely noticing. I reach for John again. The veil stops my hand again.
The priest finishes moving his mouth, and my father takes his place. He begins to talk. John watches him speak. John smiles a little bit, and then the smile goes away again. He should keep smiling. I like it when he smiles. A hand tugs at my waist. I knock it away, annoyed.
My father finishes speaking, and everyone watches as the casket begins to lower. John is crying. Katherine holds onto his arm. John stares at the casket. A hand grabs my elbow and jerks me away. I shake it off and step back close to the veil.
The casket continues to lower. John continues to stare at it and cry. I try to grab him, hold him close, comfort him. The veil stops me. The casket disappears into the hole. The hands yank me back into utter darkness.
John is sitting at a table full of people. Waiters bustle by, carrying trays of food and drinks. John is laughing. I miss the sound of John’s laugh, wish I could hear it. He says a few words. The other people laugh. I try to laugh along with them. Katherine laughs next to him. She touches his shoulder.
John stops talking and looks at the waiter that stopped at his table. John waits as the others at the table talk to the waiter. He talks to the waiter too. Something brushes my right leg. I kick it away. John finishes ordering, and the waiter leaves.
John talks some more. Katherine rests her hand on his leg. Something brushes my left leg. I kick it away. John laughs again.
I miss John. I put both hands on the veil and lean into it. It gives just a little bit and stops. I try to push through it, shoving as hard as I can. I start to lose my balance, and hands pull at my ankles and drag me back into darkness.
The lights are off. John is sitting on a couch, light from the TV flickering on his face. Katherine rests her head on his shoulder, his arm wrapped around her. John shifts a little bit on the couch. I trace his face on the veil with my hand. I try to scratch the veil, try to break through it. It doesn’t work.
John watches the TV. I watch John. The light on his face flickers and he laughs. He gives Katherine a squeeze. Something strokes my hair. I shake my head to knock it away.
I watch the flickers light up John’s eyes. I watch him smile. I try to force myself through the veil once more. I feel something tug my hair. Then it tugs harder and I am yanked off my feet and back into darkness.
This time, John is standing in front of a sink full of dishes. He grabs a pot out of the sink and begins to scrub at it with a sponge. He looks heavier, lines are starting to appear on his forehead. He’s grown a beard. I push on the veil.
Katherine enters the kitchen holding two empty plates and some dirty silverware. John looks up from his washing. A little girl holding another dish follows Katherine through the doorway, hopping and tilting her head back and forth. John smiles warmly at the sight of her. I try to step into the veil, into the kitchen with John. The veil stops me.
John takes the dishes out of Katherine’s hands and places them on the side of the sink. He gives Katherine a kiss on the cheek. He takes the dish out of the little girl’s hands. He leans down and gives her forehead a kiss. I lean my head on the veil and try to push through. I want him to kiss me. It’s been so long.
Katherine and the girl leave the kitchen. John turns back to the sink. I try again to push into the veil. My feet lose their grip and I slip. Hands drag me away from John and back into darkness.
John is sitting in an armchair. His face is gaunt. His hair is thin and patchy. I reach out to run my hand through his hair. My hand gets stopped by the veil. I try again.
The girl, older now, walks up to John and hands him a glass of water. She places a small cup of pills onto the table next to his chair. A hand brushes against my elbow. I knock it away. The girl kisses his forehead and walks away.
John takes a pill from the cup and places it in his mouth. He takes a sip from the glass of water and throws his head back to swallow. I put my hands on the veil and try to tear it apart. I just have to try harder. John grabs the next pill and swallows it. A hand grabs my elbow. I throw my elbow out wildly, trying to loosen its grip. John swallows another pill.
John places the last pill in his mouth. He pours the rest of the water down his throat. Hands grasp my arm and twirl me around and into darkness.
John is standing at the veil, his back to me. He’s finally here. His right hand is placed flat against the barrier. I run and throw my arms around him. He twists out of them and pushes me away. He doesn’t even turn to look at me. Why won’t he look at me.
John continues to look forward, and he brings his hand back up to rest on the veil. I grab his hand, wanting to hold it. He jerks it out of my grasp. I grab his shoulder and yank him around to face me. He quickly turns back, his gaze never leaving the veil.
John tries to reach through it, tries to touch something on the other side. I snatch his arm and tear him away from the veil and into the darkness to be with me.