Evening had come swiftly, unusual though it was for summer-days not to linger. The rain was the culprit or rather the heroic saviour, at least if you asked Lukas. Ophelia’s apartment was peaceful, even the way it smelled made him feel at ease. The sound of rain against big windows lulled him into a relaxed and almost content state of mind. He was sitting by one of those windows, looking down at the streets and the tiny people and miniature cars going by far below.
Ophelia was sitting atop a glass table at the other end of the apartment, her gaze fixed on the western horizon. The sun was setting and somehow managed to set the otherwise grey clouds ablaze. It was a momentary illusion, a fleeting glimpse of gold before the darkness of the rain engulfed even the west. It had come from the east, where Lukas had been sitting. The moment struck him as profound, a realisation of the twilight zone of the two opposites he found himself lodged between, one foot in the dark and the other in the light of life.
Lukas, Inara whispered. Go to her.
Our paths will cross eventually, in one lifetime or another. Inara’s voice had an edge to it that cut into him with brutal finality. We’re not meant to know what awaits us beyond the veil, Lukas. We’re not meant to know the true face of destiny, not before the time is right. I’ll ask you one thing. If I was alive and you the one in the shadows wouldn’t you want me to be happy?
You still don’t see it. There is a reason why we live separate lives, what that reason is I don’t know. It pains me, Lukas. I’m forced to wait and watch from this timeless void, forced to watch you brood and suffer. I’m anchored to you, I’m conscious through you. If you let me go I would go back to hibernation.
What are you saying? Lukas asked suddenly alarmed.
If I can’t be with you… I need you to be happy. She cares for you, Lukas, more deeply than you realise. Part of me hates her. I’m envious that she gets to be with you instead of me. There was a pause. Another part of me is grateful, she gives me hope. I suffer when you suffer. Cut me loose, live. For my sake, cut me loose and live. I need you to smile again. I can’t love you like this, Lukas. I just can’t.
Lukas looked down at his hands. They were shaking, hell, his entire body was shaking. Why was she saying this? Was his pain really that contagious? What kind of half-existence had his awakening brought her into? He realised then how flawed his love for her was. It was selfish, cruel. He saw for the first time that in his desperation to love her like he knew he was meant to love her he had ended up trying to possess her. He’d even gone as far as to throw away his life, to dismiss it as insignificant. Water filled his eyes. He couldn’t see through the salty blur.
I’m sorry Inara, I’m so sorry. He buried his face in his arms. I think I understand. I see the reason I was brought here, into this life. I see why I wasn’t allowed to die back then. The way I am… I can’t love you the way you deserve to be loved. I was born into this life because I had to learn how to love.
Good bye, my love. Inara’s voice was soothing, understanding. It was more than he deserved. I pray that we can both forget, forget and be born anew when our paths finally intersect.
That was the last time he ever heard her voice. The echo of her last words to him would never fade completely. But that was all they would be, eventually, an echo. After what could have been an hour, maybe more, he finally looked up and out the window. The rain had not relented. Darkness had invaded the city, an attack to which the city responded with artificial golden light. Can I learn? he asked himself. Is it even possible?
A sigh coming from the direction of Ophelia brought his attention to her. He saw her as if his eyes had been changed, his old ones removed and replaced. Perhaps I can. Perhaps it isn’t too late? Perhaps there is hope even for an idiot like me. Just, maybe.