When you meet in a support group, there is immediately a notion of, "you and I both know one of us will not make it to the end." And perhaps it is this notion that allows us to freely do as we wish, because there is always that morbid hope that we will be the ones to lose the race. Or maybe we want to be. I was never good with metaphors. But, this isn't my story, so I guess it doesn't really matter. This is the story of the love of my very short life, and how she found the love of hers.
We can start this story off by answering the questions that, if you don't have now, you certainly will in the future. No, I'm not a ghost, I did not haunt her, and I can't answer any questions about the capital letters Great Beyond, because it's against our contracts. Contracts, you say?
Another question I can't answer.
It wasn't a matter of how long it took. Falling in love is kind of like getting into a pool: you can dive headfirst or you can toe your way in, but one way or another, you're gonna get wet. And, metaphorically speaking, I was completely soaked for Rachel Berry.
I told you, metaphors aren't my strong suit.
A few days after I died, I realize I hadn't really died. I was still around. And it was terrifying. If you've never had an out of body experience, I hope you never do. My afterlife was nothing but one, long, out of body experience, and even though the body I had been occupying had been doing a pretty crappy job of working, it was my body. Suddenly being without it, while freeing, was terrible. It was an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.
Sorry. Not about me, right.
I realized, after freaking out and trying to figure out what I had done wrong (I was only seventeen years old, there was no way I had done anything to deserve eternal purgatory in that short amount of time), that it had nothing to do with me, and a lot to do with her. It made sense. Everything I did had a lot to do with her, right down to my final days.
She was having trouble letting me go. She needed a nudge in the right direction, so, one night, when I found her standing on her back porch, staring up at the sky, whispering that she needed an answer, I tried reaching out to her. Literally. I reached for her hand, and she whirled around, and I swear, for a second, we were staring right at each other. And then she looked right through me.
His name was Jesse. I never ended up catching his last name, but I didn't need to. He was self-assured and cocky and diagnosed with uncertainty. The thing about us terminal patients was that we always knew what was coming. With kids like Jesse, who have probable cause to believe they might kick their disease, it was harder. You could hope that you were in the eighty percent, but somebody has to make up that twenty percent. And that somebody might be you. Maybe. It was a word that plagued kids like Jesse, if they weren't anything like Jesse. He accepted his uncertain life. He could have ten weeks, he could have ten years, he could have a whole lifetime, but the guy walked around like he didn't care. He was either full of crap or full of courage. I like to think it was courage. Rachel deserved someone brave.
He introduced himself to her after the first meeting he attended. He held his hand out to her, and she turned, and she didn't see right through him. And that's when I knew my job was done. He was there, tangible and real. Alive, for an indefinite amount of time. He wasn't me, but that's exactly what she needed. She needed a companion for the beginning of her end, just like I had her for mine. And even though he quoted musicals and ran his fingers through his hair like a ridiculous movie character, he cared for her. He was soaked through and through for Rachel Berry, and really, that's all I could have hoped for.