A young man misses his fiancee more than he ever thought he would.
It wasn't that he missed her when he was hundreds of miles away. Those days, flying around, he could spend without her even crossing her mind for more than a second. Easy distraction, some may say, but he'd take it over any of the alternatives.
It was the times when he was back home, or when he was in his car and not moving, or when he was walking to the store, and he just wanted her there. He was starting to understand what it meant to miss somebody. To really, really miss them. It wasn't about how frequently you spoke or managed to meet up or to give them a hug or something. It was those days when you just want to see them and to talk to them and to have them around more than anything, so much that it almost hurts. It was this that he tried to escape from more than anything; it was this that he just couldn't avoid.
The memories, too, the memories that just wouldn't stop. This morning he'd woken up and had been convinced it had been the day after that picnic in the park. There had been sandwiches, and pork pies, and chicken and eggs and cake and lots of chocolate. She always made sure that there was chocolate around. They had floated over to the kiddie's playground and swung on the swing and he had told her he loved her for the first time and it was magical. It was the sort of day that doesn't happen often, and he found himself willing himself to go back to that day. It didn't work, of course, and as much as that pained him, he took comfort in the fact that he wouldn't have to endure this again.
Their song played on the radio that morning. He was making porridge and stirred in some maple syrup. He didn't much like the stuff, but she had, and ever since she'd... He'd taken a fondness for it. It smelled homely, and tasted... Not completely terrible, if he was honest. The song came through the tinny speakers and he just stared and three minutes later he was still staring and the next song started and his porridge was starting to go cold, so he left it, threw on his jacket and left the house. That day, he forgot to lock the door behind him.
She was everywhere that day. He could smell her perfume on a woman on the tube, and it felt wrong for somebody else to be wearing it. A girl had her boots on, a boy was singing that lullaby she always used to sing, a model in a shop window was modleing her coat, and not doing it justice to the way it looked on her. He just lowered his head and plodded on, and it started to snow somewhere in the north. At one point, just after lunch, when there was a half eaten apple sitting neglected on his desk, he could have sworn that he'd heard her voice, ringing in his ears like music, just like it used to when she'd call him with a story.
"What do you think about ghosts?" his co-worker had asked him shortly after that.
He looked up from his desk, curiously. "I don't think they exist or anything. Weird stuff happens, but that can be explained. Coincidences. Science. Why?"
The question haunted him as he made his way home. Climbing up the stairs to get out of the tube station, somebody had grabbed his wrist in an all-too-familiar fashion, but when he looked around, nobody was there. So he shook it off and hurried back home, and booked another of his helicopter holidays, when he could go far away from the city and fly for a bit and forget for a while.
There, she existed purely in his neglected memories. Here, she was everywhere.
Her mother called him that evening. "How's today been?"
"Pretty normal... Why?"
"You know why I'm asking today. I just wanted to check that you were keeping it all together."
"I am. Thanks for your... Concern."
Secretly, he thought her worries were misplaced. It couldn't be easy for the family. They'd known her longer than he had, and they probably hurt worse, every single day. They did their best, campaigning for their cancer charities and doing their sponsored events and making sure the world knew what had happened to her, to know that they could stop it. He could only sit here and remember. Most of it, with travel and alcohol, could be forgotten with ease. It always came back, though, her smile and her laugh and her weird obsession with autumn and the fact that a year ago today would have been their wedding day.