Part Five – Where a man who killed himself discovers he was wrong
“I am changing the world in my own way. I am going to be pleasant and happy working in a café.” Just as she told herself that, walking down the street, she saw a dead man standing by a tree. Now what? she thought as she looked at him.
For the briefest moment, he looked like he had been in an accident. Blood was running down his forehead, and a hole the size of a gunshot. Then it disappeared, and he looked normal again.
“Can you help me?” The man looked tired.
He was wearing a gray suit and nice shiny black shoes. He was in all aspects a nice-looking man except that he was dead and had a gunshot in his forehead.
Lisa paused for a moment. She stopped to look at the flowers beside the tree the man was standing by. She did not want to look too apparent in her conversation. The living walking by might think her crazy, and she did not like that. She had been called crazy so many times in her life that she would rather not be anymore.
“What do you need me to help you with?” she said, trying not to look like she was talking to herself.
The man stood up more and said, “you see me? Do you really see me? Are you kidding? You see me?”
Lisa was getting annoyed.
“yes! I see you. Please state the nature of your emergency or leave me alone.”
“Oh, sorry,” he said. “I was too surprised and I forgot to answer.” He looked flustered and taken aback.
“I killed myself, and I want to tell my wife a lot of things, so I was told you could help me.”
“You were told I could help?” Her tone was sarcastic.
“You were told I could help?” she shook her head.
“Ok, so is your wife far away in some weird place or this city?” Lisa was not getting into any kind of travel.
“I am from this city, and she lives on the city outskirts. Just 30 minutes drive from here,” he said, trying to sound like it was an easy drive.
“It is a great day with the sun out, and you would get to go where there are greener than here,” he tried to sway her into going.
He did not know she had to go once she had asked him what she could help him with. That had always been like that. Once she decided to ask what she could do, she had to help. A stupid rule, and if it was not there, she would most likely have stayed in her work, but now she had to see some widow.
“I don’t have a car, and I don’t want to look like I am tagging dead people around, so give me the address, and I will go there. Meet me by her house.”
“Oh, and what is your name?”
“Hannibal is my name.”
“Are you kidding, Hannibal? Well, ok,” she smiled a little too large of a smile.
She got the address on a piece of paper that just flew into her hand once she held it out. For anyone who did not know what was going on, it would be weird for a piece of paper to come out of nothing and land in her hand with precision. This was how she always got the addresses. It was one of her funny ideas when she started this job as a child. I want paper straight in my hand, or I am not doing anything, she told God when she talked to him about starting this job.
She had put in her touches of fun and quirks in her work, and she loved it. It made it seem like she had at least a little control over her work life.
Half an hour later, she was in front of the house Hannibal was talking about. She had taken a cab. It was a dark green house with a front porch and a well-kept garden. It had a small car in the open garage, and it looked lovely, Lisa thought.
She took a deep breath and walked up to the door. As soon as she rang the doorbell, a child came to the door. She could not be more than seven, Lisa thought to herself. She hated when children were there because they took grief much differently from adults and were more direct and challenging.
“I am Lisa, and I wanted to talk to your mother. Is she home?” She tried to smile in a way that did not seem threatening.
“She is making snacks. I can call her,” the girl said and ran into the house.
“Mom, a woman is asking for you,” she shouted as she ran.
A few moments passed, and she could hear someone tell the girl to sit and eat her snacks while she went to see who was there.
A woman in her mid-thirties came to the door. She had on a long dress with flowers on it and no shoes. She did not look like a sad woman at all. She looked like it was just another day in her life.
“I am not buying anything,” she said, looking stern.
“I am Lisa, and I come to you because your husband has contacted me with a message. He is here with me, and I want to convey his words to you.”
“Are you insane?” the woman said. “He is dead and not messaging anything.”
“I realize that and that is what I do; I talk to dead people. I only wanted to …. “
“Are you insane or ripping off widowed women?” the woman tried not to raise her voice.
Lisa had been in these conversations before and knew she had to say something to change the woman’s mind.
“Hannibal is right here with me. Is there anything I could not know or find out you want to know to make you believe me?” Lisa knew that made people pause.
It worked because the woman said, “he can tell you where I first saw him, not the first time we talked, but the first time I saw him.” Lisa looked at Hannibal, and he looked like he was trying to calculate a planet’s rotation.
“Don’t tell me you are one of those useless men who can’t remember that kind of thing,” she glared at him. The woman stared at Lisa, who appeared to be talking in thin air. Hannibal looked like he was given a one-million-dollar question and was now in a panic, trying to figure out the answer.
“I know,” he said, lighting up like a lighthouse.
“I first saw her at her brother’s lawn when she was at a garage sale when she was 20 years old,” Lisa told the woman the words, and she laughed.
“He can’t remember, can he?” you are just a fraud.
“NO!” Hannibal yelled. “I did see her there, but she never knew. Oh, how stupid of me. She thinks it was the ice cream store. I am so sorry, Muriel.”
Again Lisa conveyed the words, and this time The woman looked like she had been struck by lightning.
“He saw me there?” She looked like she did not understand.
“But he always said the ice cream store, and now he said at the garage sale. Why?”
“I did not want her to think I was a stalker because I followed her to the ice cream store. She looked so beautiful and magical to me that I had to follow her.”
Lisa looked at him, “that just sounds cheesy, Hannibal; get a grip.” Still, she conveyed the words one by one because no matter how cheesy they were, his words were to his wife.
Muriel looked like she was about to cry. Then she pulled herself together and took a deep breath.
“I still don’t understand why he has come here. He was a loser, and we are better off without him.” She became hard and looked angry.
“He was not the father he should have been and not the husband I deserved.”
Hannibal looked defeated and said
“She is right, you know. I was a loser, and I drank too much. I did not take the pills for depression my doctor prescribed because I did not want Muriel to think I was a loser. I made her think just that, it seems. I was so depressed that I thought they would be better off without me. I was right, apparently.”
He now looked absolutely deflated and defeated.
Lisa passed on his words one by one, and Muriel’s face became softer and looked sad.
“He was given a prescription? I did not know and would not have been disappointed if he had taken them. I am better off without him because he did not live up to his role as my husband, and now it is just the girl and me. We are ok.”
“Look at the right side of the drawers with the handkerchiefs. Right side,” Hannibal hurried with his words.
Muriel said, “there are no papers there.”
“Please go look right now,” Lisa said
“I know too often that the dead are right, and they have everything under control when it comes to these things.”
“Ok, one moment.” Muriel went inside the house.
Lisa looked at Hannibal, “you did not tell me you were depressed and that she is doing fine.”
“Sorry, I had to see her, so she does know it was an illness and not me.”
Muriel looked pale white when she came out with papers in her hand.
“This is insurance papers.” She held them out.
Hannibal looked almost proud of himself.
“Yes, I took out two life insurances on my life in case I got so sick I died, and it has suicide as a cause of death too. So she is the beneficiary and doesn’t have to worry about money anymore. I have nothing more to say except that I loved her and our girl too.”
Lisa passed on the words feeling sorry for Hannibal.
Muriel looked like she was about to break into a million pieces but held on to herself.
“Thank you So much, Lisa, for coming to us. This will make life easier. I might even get a new mattress for my bed now. Thank you. I am not sad he is gone, but I am glad he gave us this thoughtful gift.”
“You are welcome, Muriel, and thank you for listening.”
Lisa turned around and walked away. This one had hit her harder than she had thought it would. Hannibal must have lived a sad life for his wife to feel that way.
To lead a life and then commit suicide and have your wife not really care or grieve, you would be absolutely sad. She thought Hannibal did the right thing with the insurance, but their life had been painful.
I am never getting married or having kids, she thought. I have seen too many sad marriages and too little love in them. She had also seen a lot of love and grief, which she thought was impossible to obtain.
She turned her nose to home for the second time that day.
She was almost home in her tiny apartment, and it was 5 pm when another dead person came to see her.