I blinked up at him, seeing blue sky and clouds through his transparent body. Horace’s ghost leaned over and looked into my eyes. He looked real—my ghostly husband—his eyes the saturated blue of a Maxfield Parish painting. His mouth moved, but I only heard the breeze rustling through the weeping willow. But what I imagine he said was, “I love you, Judith. You’ll be all right. I have to go now.”
The air shimmered around him as he walked towards Lucy. She hadn’t moved from where she stood by the edge of the lake. The ducks now fully awake, had stayed put as a group and were witnessing along with me what I didn’t have words for.
As Horace reached Lucy, she held out a hand to him. Horace turned back. He waved, a brilliant smile on his face, then turned to face Lucy, taking her hand.
As their hands came together, a light sparked. I shielded my eyes from the unaccustomed brightness, smiling despite myself as Horace and Lucy’s bodies turned into bits of light that hummed around my head like fireflies, before disappearing into the breeze.
In that instant, and even as a protective numbness gathered itself around my breaking heart, I fathomed Horace’s fascination with death. For in all my life, I had never witnessed anything quite so beautiful.