The last goodbye
My friend who moved to the city told me this story: "A married couple lived in our town. They didn’t have any children. At first they lived well, but then Nicholas took to the bottle. Nancy was trying to do her best to eradicate her husband’s addiction to alcohol.
She scolded and begged him, left him and lived with her mother for a couple of days. She even tried to put him into rehab but nothing worked. Nicholas hit rock bottom, but Nancy had nowhere to go. After 35 years of marriage, she felt sorry for him even though he looked pathetic. Nancy was afraid that he would start a fire in the house and burn them.
One night her husband woke up, but didn’t start walking around the house, as he usually did, but woke up his wife instead. He was completely sober. Nancy shook the sleep off, turned on the light, and asked:
- What happened, why did you wake me up?
To what Nicholas replied:
- Nancy, I will die today.
Nancy grinned, thinking that her husband was trying to ask for money to get some booze. But when she saw his eyes, she asked him in a trembling voice:
- Why did you, Nicholas, decide to die today?
- They came to get me - said Nicholas.
There were tears in his eyes.
Nancy went to get a glass of water and handed it to her husband. He drank it and continued to talk.
- Alex Wright and Peter Talan visited me. I was the one who carried their coffins to the cemetery! They told me not to drink today, to shave and have a bath, because I’m gonna die, Nancy.
And his eyes filled with tears again. His wife looked at him and believed that everything was the way her husband described. Her husband never cried. He screamed, swore, yelled songs but never cried. Nancy hugged him:
- Don’t cry, Nicky, we all will get there, you and I are in our 70s, it’s natural. If we only knew if there is life in the other world, you know? What do you think?
- I don’t know - said the husband after thinking for some time, - no one has ever told us about it. If I die today, then there is the afterlife, because somebody came from there to call me, right?
In the morning he bathed and shaved. He didn’t even think about alcohol that day, he was pensive and worried. In the evening before going to bed, he said:
If I die, I’ll come back to look at you. We loved each other, Nancy, I’ve never cheated on you, not once. Forgive me for drinking, I don’t know what came over me. If everything is fine, and I stay alive, I’ll give up drinking.
In the morning Nancy woke up because something cold was beside her. On the other side of the bed her husband Nicholas was lying. Even before opening her eyes, she already knew that Nicholas had died. She sat on the bed and finally decided to look at her husband. He lay on his back, his skin was already of a wax color, his face looked sharp, and all the familiar things had changed beyond recognition.
- Nicky - Nancy quietly called and the said: - Now you know if there is the afterlife or not.
After her husband's funeral Nancy couldn’t calm down. It would seem that she got what she wanted. She was free from drunken fights, broken dishes, snoring, which sometimes didn’t let her sleep until morning, extra spending (Nicholas smoked a lot). She was free but why so she felt so lost? God didn’t give her children, and now she had nobody, she was all alone in her old house.
At night Nancy heard a sound reminding of man's steps. But before she could make sense of it the spring of the bed creaked and sagged under the weight of an invisible body. She didn’t see anyone, but she realized that someone sat down beside her on the bed. Reason dictated that it was none other than her late husband. A moment later, heavy footsteps could be heard again.
There was a silence, and Nancy realized that her Nicholas kept his word - he came to her for the