Final Departures

The last time I saw you,
you were running through the terminal,
trying to catch the redeye to Barcelona.
I was in the seat next to you.
You saw me and smiled.
I knew who you were,
but I knew not who I was.

I’ve met someone new.
His name is Charlie McCabe.
He saw me when others did not,
and that is how I knew.

I’ve told him my name is Althea.
It is a strong name.
I tell him that and nothing more.

He fell in love,
for I allowed him to fall.
I tried to curl up into a little ball,
like an unborn baby,
but he found a way inside.
I no longer wait for the inevitable,
but enjoy our last moments together.

My relationships are all short-lived,
for they end in death.
Their death.
I am a curse.

Hand in hand,
Charlie and I stroll through the terminal,
passing a Blue Angel Burgers kiosk,
then another café,
the waitresses dressed as skygirls,
as they were called years ago.
How I know this,
I do not know.
How I know anything,
I cannot say.

I tried to believe in Coincidence,
but Coincidence followed me wherever I went.
I’ve been running for so long…
drifting from one life to the next—
perpetually reincarnating.

Charlie goes to fetch his luggage.
A man in black stands near the baggage claim area,
but it is I he comes to claim.
“I know who you are,” he says,
and I say, “Please.  Tell me.”
He places his hand on my heart,
and suddenly I remember.

I wasn’t a curse.
I was the last good thing they saw–
a friend–
a hand to hold during their last moments.
It was always after the fear that acceptance settled over them,
and they would experience that moment of clarity—
that bright, shining moment of peace.
They would reach out to me,
not feeling,
not understanding,
but knowing I was there all the same.

I remember why I ran,
for I am the Angel of Death.
I didn’t want to do it anymore;
I didn’t want to be there.
I tried to forget myself,
but it was myself I was only kidding.

Charlie is coming towards me,
walking right through the man in black,
The Finder of Lost Things.
A strange sort of expression comes over him,
like he is seeing something or someone for the first or last time,
but he shakes his head and takes my arm,
and I let him,

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