Evelyn Jameson's spirit clung to its host by feathery tendrils of light. Lexi knew Hades could not see it. She and Hades had experienced the death of a terminal patient in India, and while Hades sensed the woman's approaching death, he could not observe her spirit until it had been severed from her corporal form. They had decided it was Lexi's demigod nature that facilitated her unique ability, but it didn't make the experience any less heartbreaking, and it stayed with Lexi a long time afterward.
Hades held Lexi's hand, gliding his thumb over her skin in slow circles. She could always count on his attentiveness, especially during times of crisis. They both knew there was nothing she could do for Evelyn but observe. The woman had clearly reached the end of her lifeline. How long had the spirit been hovering there? A week? A day? Maybe Evelyn would go home after the performance and die peacefully in her sleep.
The auditorium lights dimmed, smothering the drone of voices, and Lexi forced her attention away from the spirit and toward the curtain opening on stage. She absolutely loved the symphony, and she was determined to enjoy the experience despite her feeling of dread. Lexi recognized the Italian-born conductor from the half dozen performances she'd attended before. He was a tall, animated man with thick black hair worn in an untidy bowl cut. She met him once at an event party and they spent an entertaining few minutes engaged in a discussion in Italian about the rain. The music began and Lexi was immediately drawn in, relaxing into the swelling refrain of the strings.
After a few minutes, Lexi noticed Evelyn's spirit swaying, keeping perfect time with the melody. Evelyn herself did the same, and the two engaged in a sort of etheric dance together, vibrating during crescendos and pausing during adiagos. It was then that Lexi remembered Evelyn talking about the many years she danced with The Rockettes in New York City. Was Evelyn remembering the days of her youth, or had her long-term memories faded as well?
The concert continued for an hour, during which Lexi kept a wary eye on Evelyn's spirit as it maintained its position as a celestial hitchhiker on her back. When the auditorium lights brightened to signal intermission, Evelyn had drifted into a peaceful-looking sleep. Hugh touched his wife's forehead then stroked the back of her hand as he leaned over to speak with Lexi and Hades.
"That was a lovely bit of music, wouldn't you say?"
"Yes. The pianist is amazing," Lexi offered, glancing down at the crumpled tissue she'd used to dry the tears brought on by the piano solo.
"Evelyn seemed to be enjoying herself," Hades added.
Hugh smiled at his sleeping wife and Lexi saw a million emotions touch his face, culminating in a teary twinkle in his pale gray eyes. "She has always loved the symphony. We have held these seats for thirty-five years. Evelyn was quite an accomplished dancer in her twenties, and she has the voice of an angel to boot. Of course, she has forgotten this. Since the dementia took center stage, she has stepped into the background. And now, with the liver failure..."
Lexi reached for Hugh's hand to offer comfort, although she wanted to hug him instead. He had already lost the woman he loved. Now, he had to wait for her body to follow. "How long have you and Evelyn been married?"
"Sixty-two years. A lifetime."
Lexi tried to imagine what sixty-two years would feel like with Hades. They certainly wouldn't look like Hugh and Evelyn, having the advantage of immortality, but would their love grow stronger or weaken with the passage of time? The sudden wave of nausea Lexi felt when she imagined her life without Hades gave her the answer.
"I am sure you have a lot of wonderful memories of your lifetime together," Lexi said. "I hope Luke and I are as fortunate as you and Evelyn have been."
YOU ARE READING
Let's say you found true love. And say you had eternity to spend with that lover. So what if he was the god of the dead and you had to manage his dysfunctional family. You would still count yourself lucky, right? Join Lexi and Hades in the third and...