Better Late

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What follows is just a story. A love story. It involves the supernatural, but I would not describe it as scary. The sexual content is not great or over explicit. If you want that sort of story please look elsewhere. If you enjoy it please comment and tell me. More important, if you do not like it then please give me feedback and I will try to do better in the future.

Who am I? My name is not important.

What am I? We have many names around the world. Different ones depending upon language, of course, but also depending on where we are. We appear in many sorts of literature, some folk tales, some religious books, some horror stories, and even in children’s stories. Were you to meet me you might see me, probably as an instantly forgettable person, or you might just look through me and not see me at all. Just think of me as an observer.

Ann Smith and Peter Jones were both brought up in a rural village not far from the coast. The village was not much more than one big house, a small church, a couple of farms, a few farm-worker’s cottages and a shop-cum-post office. They lived in a pair of tiny cottages a little way from the main village.

Peter’s father was in the merchant navy, and was away most of the time. Ann’s father had met someone else, and was no longer on the scene, but he sent a little money to her at birthdays and Christmas; if he remembered.

Both mothers went out to work. Peter’s mother worked at a pub in the next village in the evenings, Ann’s helped in the post office during the day. It seemed natural for one mother or the other to look after both children when the other was working.

In the countryside, around farms, children learned the facts of life soon enough. Anne and Peter shared bath-times, in the tin bath beside the kitchen fire, so were well aware of their different anatomies from an early age. The two of them played together, went to school together, and were simply best friends.

Then Peter’s father found a place for him at a boarding school specialising in naval families, and targeted at naval cadets of the future. Ann went to school in the nearby town. Peter was away at school for much of the time, but their friendship continued.

They both did well at school and earned places in college. One thing Peter had learned, however, was that he was not destined to be a sailor. He got horribly sea-sick. Instead he chose to train as an engineer, while Ann went into medicine, training for nursing.

They were two friends — and they were close friends, but had never been tempted to take their friendship to the next stage. They had perhaps been too close, more like brother and sister than girl and boyfriend. But now, they had both qualified and were taking up their first jobs. They had come home from their colleges for he last time. They had been apart for stretches of time, and were now all the more appreciative of their times together. They had had a couple of weeks break. They spent much of it just wandering around the countryside that had been their childhood playground; remembering what had gone before. But time passes.

It was raining hard. The two of them now sat in a stone built shelter waiting for the bus that would take them from the village. Both were starting new lives. Two new futures, with hopes and fears, All they had they were wearing or carrying — each had a large suitcase and an umbrella. They sat, close to each other, not knowing what to say. Their hands touched for a moment. Obviously during childhood they had touched each other many times, but now they were starting adult life. This touch was different. Something had changed.

They turned and leaned towards each other and they looked at each other. Both had tears in their eyes. Should they kiss? Both wanted to, but they heard the motor horn that signalled the approaching bus. They had to get up and out into the rain to signal to the driver to stop for them.

As it happened, there was no need for this, as a couple of passengers were getting off there. Still, they had to get their suitcases up into the casino oyna bus, get their tickets and find a seat. With the rain, and all the passengers’ damp coats the windows were steamed up. Conversation was difficult. Whispers could not be heard over the sound of the engine and they did not want the other passengers to hear what they wanted to say.

They agreed that they should write to each other — the problem was that they did not have addresses to exchange. Ann was to be allocated a room in a nurses home when she reached whichever hospital ward that she was assigned to, and Peter would be assigned lodgings on his first day at work. He had booked one night in a room in a pub. They agreed that they would both write home to their mothers when they had addresses, and ask them to exchange them.

They arrived at the railway station. It was a small station in the middle of nowhere. It was a single track line, and the main purpose of the station was as a place where the track split to allow trains to pass each other in opposite directions. Peter and Ann were travelling in opposite directions, so they stood on different platforms, with the rails between them, waiting. Ann’s train arrived first, and she got on and found a seat where they could still see each other. Peter’s train arrived. He found a seat as near as possible to Ann’s. They sat, a few feet apart, separated by two dirty windows and falling raindrops. They could not speak, but tried to mouth their messages to each other. As Ann’s train started moving they both mouthed “I love you”.

Many years passed, but events had conspired. With their children gone, both mothers soon moved from their cottages. Peter’s to a room above the pub where she worked. Ann’s mother’s boss at the post office retired and she moved into the room above the shop. Getting a permanent address for both Ann and Peter took longer than expected. They were both busy with their new lives and duties. When they could eventually send forwarding addresses the letters were delivered to the old cottages, and lay on doormats for weeks until they were probably swept up together with the junk mail that always accumulates, and used to light a fire for new tenants.

Ann became a midwife. She spent her life bringing new life into the world or dealing with the sad cases where this was not to be. Peter eventually became an engineering inspector. His job was to travel the country visiting large projects to ensure that all was being done correctly, safely and in accordance with plans. He did eventually buy himself a small house near the company’s main offices, but he soon realised that he used it so little that he rented it out.

Neither of them could understand why the other had not made contact, but they both respected the other’s choice. They both spent long lives with a hole where their partner would have been.

A life on the wards is no good for nursing staff’s backs. Ann’s back gave her trouble for much of her adult life, and then arthritis further hindered her. She had to stop active caring and took on clerical roles. Eventually heart problems, angina, made even this too much for her and she had to take early retirement. Hospitals had been her life, so she still volunteered to meet, greet and give directions to patients and visitors.

Peter fared not a lot better. He had to be out and about in all weathers. Dust and fumes harmed his chest, but it was sun that eventually did for him.

He had been having aches and pains, and was prone to headaches, but he was on site when a pressure vessel failed. A shard of steel struck his leg causing a nasty open fracture. He was taken by ambulance to the local hospital, and while waiting on a trolley to be taken to the operating theatre he was comforted by, you must have guessed it, yes, by Ann. It was more than forty years since they had mouthed “I love you” to each other, but each could see the youthful face behind the ageing, the wrinkles, the greying and the hair loss. (The names on Ann’s lapel badge and on Peter’s notes helped as well.) Before they could slot oyna discover and communicate much more than recognition Peter was wheeled away to be anaesthetised.

Ann felt in her handbag for her drug spray. She felt her angina coming on. She sat and waited for the pains to subside.

Peter meanwhile had his leg repaired, but one of the theatre nurses noticed a growth on the side of his neck. She pointed it out to the surgeon, who made a phone call. A few minutes later a biopsy from the growth was being examined in the pathology labs. His leg X-Rays were checked, and there were suspicious shadows.

Back on the wards, in intensive care, Anne was now in one of the beds surrounded by curtains and drips and breathing apparatus. Peter was in the recovery ward next door. He was still groggy from the anaesthetic. The difficult conversation, the bad news, would have to wait. He was just awake enough to be taken to radiography where more scans were made.

Ann opened her eyes. She could not talk because of the tubes and mask. She indicated that she wanted to write something. She was given a notepad and pencil. Slowly she wrote.

“Tell Peter Jones that I love him. Always.”

They were her last living words.

The team, many of them knew her well, tried furiously to revive her, but it was not to be. After writing those words she had relaxed, smiled a little, and just let go. Her peace contrasted with the alarms and busy-ness going on around her.

I had watched her die. I saw the slight shimmer that I see around all living things slowly separate from the lump of dead meat that remained. The shimmer reformed into an image of Ann. I like to think that I helped her to make a gentle transition to her new existence.

When it was all over the team took a short break. Sitting round a table with cups of tea the nurse took the notepad out of her pocket The words mystified her. She had known and worked with Ann for years. Ann had been one of her trainers. She could not remember Ann ever mentioning a male friend. The name meant nothing to her. She passed the pad around her colleagues. One of them read the name out loud.

A voice on an adjoining table recognised the name and joined the conversation.

“We have a patient called that! I saw Ann talking to him earlier.”

He took the note with him back to his ward, where he scribbled an explanation and added it to Peter’s notes.

A day later one of the oncologists had the dreadful task of telling Peter that he was very ill, and that there was not a lot of hope. The growth on his neck was a tumour caused by too much sunlight. It had spread throughout his body. It was only a matter of time before the vital organs would start failing.

Peter accepted all this. He had no questions to ask about his health. He just quietly accepted the situation.

“Can I ask you about something else?”

The specialist nodded.

“Its about the lady in the corridor. Ann”

The specialist fumbled in the notes and passed the paper to Peter.

“She wrote this for you.”

Peter read.

“Please tell her the same. Can I see her?”

“I’m afraid not. She passed away soon after you met. I’m very sorry to give you still more bad news.”

Peter lay back and closed his eyes but could not hide the tears that filled them.

Over the next week or so Peter slowly declined. He was not hungry. He was given painkillers for his aches and pains and his worsening headaches. He slept most of the time, and then, in the middle of the night he just stopped breathing.

I was observing. The shimmer drifted and formed itself into Peter’s shape. Its, his, eyes opened. He saw me first, but I directed his gaze to another. An older lady. Ann.

They drifted to each other and embraced.

The surroundings transformed. I realised that the hospital ward had gone to be replaced by a stone building. Ann and Peter were transformed too. They were back in their raincoats, seated in the shelter. Suitcases and umbrellas were to hand. They were the young canlı casino siteleri adults on their way to the railway station. Their hands touched. They turned and looked at each other. They stood up and embraced. This time they did kiss, at first hesitantly, but then in more and more frenzy. They unbuttoned their coats, and slid their arms under them around each other. They pressed themselves together.

A motor horn sounded. A bus stopped outside the shelter. It drove off again. The two passengers who had got off did or could not see the young couple.

The rain slowed and stopped. The sun came out. The couple left their coats, luggage and umbrellas behind when they walked hand in hand away from the shelter. The surroundings changed again. They were again walking around the countryside they knew so well. They felt so natural, naturally together.

In the middle of a field they stopped and kissed again. They did not change, but their surroundings did. They were in a large clean room. If Peter had thought about it he might have recognised it as one of the many hotel rooms that he had once occupied. Most of the features of the room were hazy. Only the large bed was sharply defined.

Peter was wearing a cravat, shirt and trousers, Ann, a blouse and skirt. Ann started to unbutton Peter’s shirt while he untied the cravat. Then she invited him to work on her blouse’s buttons. Moments later her bra was in a pile on the floor with the shirt and blouse.

Peter’s look towards Ann was asking permission to touch. Permission was given. In his life he had never caressed a female breast. Ann’s breasts had been touched by men, but only during medical examinations. Peter’s loving caress was a new experience for her too. She fiddled with the fastenings of her skirt, but Peter’s activity did not assist. She turned around, and encouraged each of Peters hands to caress one of her breasts while she, with increasing urgency, continued to undress.

The skirt fell. She relaxed, and allowed him to pull her back into him. She could feel the bulge in his trousers against her bum. She turned again. Peter was fascinated by the way that her breasts responded to her movement. Her hands moved to Peter’s flies. All those years ago fly zips were rare, and buttons more common. She struggled with them. Peter took charge. His underpants descended with his trousers.

Ann was not surprised by what was revealed. She had, after all, been a nurse for years, and had seen sights that would shock you and me — no, not me, I am an observer. I have seen sights that … no, now is not the time.

For the first time in his life and death Peter discovered that, when trying to disrobe elegantly, it was a good idea to take shoes and socks off before the removal of trousers. His struggles with them had them both laughing. As they hugged, his more than half erect penis was pressing hard against her old fashioned panties. They were made from a lot more fabric, lace, and elastic than modern day underwear. But to her credit, she took off her shoes first.

They were both unclothed.

For a long time they stood. Wrapped in each others arms. Enjoying the amazing feelings of their naked body pressed against their partners. Without noticing, they were somehow together on the bed. They had just moved. The surroundings had again changed a little. The room had moved so that the bed was not beside them but underneath Ann, who spread her legs to accommodate Peter, taking his weight on his elbows like a true gentleman should. With a little fumbling they were joined. Peter’s bum raised and lowered, raised and lowered a bit more, and again, until they were fully united.

As an observer I have my limits. People go beyond even my view. I saw Ann and Peter changing. The room was a blur. The bed was a white haze. Just as they had become new selves as they died, now they were changing again into beings that were beyond my view. The two of them became shimmers. The shimmers faded. The surroundings faded. It was their minds that created them, and now they were going beyond my reach.

The last thing I knew of them was Peter saying


and Ann replying



If you liked this story, or disliked it please let me know. Thanks.

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