“Leka,” I heard a voice shouting from behind. Just when I wanted to turn my heard to look at who had the guts to even call me by that name, who had been so selfish as to bring out such memories, my phone rang. Mom was calling, so I had no other choice but to focus on my phone. Then again, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. After all, it’s the 5th of November, the last day I saw him.
Sethu had always been on my mind; it had been three years since he had disappeared. He disappeared when I was 21 and he was 23. His parents were burnt to death by a fire at night; nobody knew what started it. He was the only survivor. He was sent to hospital, and from there we don’t know what happened to him.
Mom had told me several times to move on, but something in me refused to believe he was dead. It just told me that he was still out there. He was the only person who called me Leka, the only person who knew how to say it in the right way. Mama was the one who came up with the name, but I felt like she didn’t pronounce it the right way, the way Sethu did. He called me Leka because he said the name was cheesy. I must say, he just had the right voice for the name.
I hadn’t thought about that since this morning, since I heard somebody pronouncing the name the way he did, but then again, I still think my brain’s acting up. Memories are booshing up on me.
I decided to walk to work that day; I had a lot on my mind. Walking down the street would probably cool me off before starting off my day filing mixed up papers. Holding the file I had to sort out at home for Mr. Johnson in my left hand, I heard that voice again, the voice similar to his.
“Leka,” it said. No it can’t be my mind; it just sounds so real. My mind cannot be making this up. Am I going crazy?
“You are dead for heaven’s sake. Don’t make this harder than it is,” I shouted.
“No, Leka, I’m not.”
“Show yourself,” I whispered.
“I can’t -”
“Because you are dead, right?”
“No, I’m – I no longer look the same.”
“Let me be the judge of that.”
A shadow appeared in front of me, then disappeared. I could tell that he was planning on turning back, but I couldn’t survive the pain if he did.
“Please,” I said slowly.
He slowly walked towards me. He stood a little away from where I was, so I forced my legs to go meet him half way. My eyes couldn’t hold the tears anymore. I couldn’t fight them, so I freed them and they slowly met my cheeks. The feeling of hearing his voice in such a long time, surprisingly, seeing how he looked, really didn’t bother me at all. I could see the tears in his right eye, his only eye.
I couldn’t help myself, I just wanted to feel his touch once more. I wanted to feel his skin, so I let out my hand. He looked straight in my eyes then allowed me to touch his face.
“The fire,” I whispered.
He couldn’t look in my eyes anymore. I could feel his bones crack to the two words I said.
“But why? Why did you leave me?”
“I loved you too much to let you wake up to this face every morning,” he said with his voice full of pain.
“That was my decision to make. I loved you for who you were not how you looked.”
He kept quiet for a while, looking embarrassed and proud at the same time.
“Leka, I’ve been watching you. You are the reason I healed, the reason why I kept my heart beating, the reason I’m here.”
My mind was frozen, my heart was beating fast, my voice couldn’t let out the words, yet I knew I should say them.
“I love you,” I said while looking at his eye. He slowly kneeled down in front of me.
“Please forgive me.”
“I forgave you a long time ago,” I said while kneeling as well. I slowly kissed his lower, scarred lip.
Tell us: Are you a forgiving person?