Dusk turned to evening by the time he arrived in his apartment. Before he could turn on a light he saw the silhouette of someone sitting in the club chair near the window in the living room. No one ever sat there these days, not since...well, it belonged to him, the one who left. The one whose name was never spoken anymore. "How did you get in here? Who are you? What do you want?" He fired off questions instead of bullets but just as fast.
The lamp on the table adjacent to the chair turned on, apparently by itself. "I think it's time we had a talk, Jason. Passed the time for it actually. Come in and sit down."
Jason complied. Jason always did whatever he told him to do. Most of the time. "How is it you are here? You died. Your body was cremated. Your ashes are on the mantle in the lidded vase you bought that time at the Paris flea market. It's what you told me you wanted. So why have you come to haunt me?" Jason's tone was direct, to the point. He wasn't afraid. He was angry.
"I've tried to reassure you that I'm all right. That every thing is all right. You won't listen to me, Jason. You don't talk to me. You have never even cried for missing me."
"You ordered me out the door of your hospital room and then you left by another way. You didn't want me with you at the most critical time of your life of our lives. And yes, I cried. I have cried plenty!"
"Jason, my love. You have not cried. Not really. I've watched you. You do that Doris Day thing. You hold tissue up to your nose and talk in a crackly voice, but there have been no tears. At least in her movies Miss Day can be forgiven for her lack of tears. She had to think about her eyeliner and mascara. You have no excuse."
"You came all the way back from Hell or wherever to criticize the way I cry? Really? Go away. I'm sure you must have a soul in the oven. Maybe it's mine." Jason searched his coat pocket for a tissue. He blotted his eyes and wiped his nose. "See there, Mister Know-How-I-Feel! The tissue is damp with my tears!"
"If you miss me so much why don't you use my name? Go ahead. Say it. Say 'Sammy, I miss you.'"
Jason stuck his hand into the other pocket, but came up empty. "Excuse me. I'm out of tissues. I'll be right back."
"Sorry, Jason. The box in the bathroom is empty. You'll have to use either some toilet tissue or a paper towel. You forgot to buy a new box while you were out."
"Show off! Go to Hell!"
"Why do you keep saying that? What makes you think that's were I am now? Do you think that's what I deserved?"
Jason just stared at Sammy. He searched Sammy's eyes for some proof this was really him and that this visit was actually happening. "You know, Doll, I may have been a sinner, but all my best sins were committed with you," Sammy grinned that triumphant grin when he thought he had scored a point. Then he winked.
Jason leapt from his seat to hug his lost love. "Sorry, Doll. No touching. It's a rule," Sammy explained as his spontaneously translocated to the fireplace.
"Fine. You still haven't told me why you're here," Jason pouted.
"I want to stop you from completely shutting down. You see none of our friends. You don't go anywhere except the grocery store."
"That's not true!"
"Yes it is, Jason. You're becoming that weird guy people talk about. You're playing the role of the designated mourner, but you're using it as a ruse to keep the world out. That's not the Jason I knew and loved. I want to help you find that guy again. You're young-ish yet. I know there is someone waiting for someone like him, like you to share some good times and who knows, maybe even fall in love."
"No. You're wrong. No one wants me. No one ever wanted me. It was you they clamoured for. You're the one they invited to dinners and parties. I was the plus one. That was fine. I enjoyed it. Without you there is no plus anything. It's fine."
"It isn't fine. It isn't a life. Not like you deserve to have anyway. I'm sorry I left you. You think I wanted to? You think I like the way things are now? No touching, hell, no seeing except for special occasions. Straining to listen to your heart? Now I don't have much time. Christmas is almost here and I want you to enjoy it the way we used to. Let me help you open yourself to the world again. Will you?"
"So I'm to play Ebeneezer Scrooge while you present the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future?"
"You read the book?"
"No, saw the movie. Your version starts at midnight?"
"It starts now."