“The dead are never exactly seen by the living, but many people seem acutely aware of something changed around them. They speak of a chill in the air. The mates of the deceased wake from dreams and see a figure standing at the end of thier bed, or in a doorway, or boarding, phantomlike, a city bus.” ~ Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones
My friend M lives in a typical pre-war building here in New York. It is a building with a long history and a long roster of souls that have come and gone.
And some that have not left.
I visited her one afternoon. She lives on the first floor, adjacent to the front lobby, and just past the mail room. After she buzzed me in the front door that day, I walked down the long corridor towards her door. I passed the mail room and caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye a young woman bent down in front of the mailboxes. She was dressed in a long, white skirt and a dark top. I turned away, and then turned again to look back at the woman.
She had disappeared.
After a conversation with my friend and her building super, I learned the story of a woman who had died in the building. She was an elderly woman who had lived in the building since the first year the apartment building was erected. She was then a young woman who was engaged to a young soldier who was sent to Europe to fight in WWII.
It is said that her lover’s body was never found during the war. He was considered dead after they could not locate him after a mission he served in France. Accounts from other tenants in the building reported that the young woman never stopped hoping to receive word about her lover. She faithfully checked her mailbox every afternoon with the hopes of receiving some kind of correspondence regarding her one true love.
From what I saw that afternoon, she still waits.
True love never dies and waits forever.