Prompt: Konrad tosses a penny down a wishing well: "I wish I could see Molly again even though she's dead." Lo and behold, the wish comes true.
Konrad Kiel was sitting on the bench at the Greenville Municipal Recreation Area enjoying the September morning sun, struck by the realization that the weather was not unlike that fateful September day fourteen years ago. He came here often to mellow out and think about Molly. They hung out at the Recreation Area frequently in younger days, taking a swim, reading while sitting on the stone wall by the river, having lunch in the picnic area, and taking walks on the trail by the river.
Konrad was lost in his thoughts when a voice disturbed his aloneness.
"You come here often."
Konrad glanced up to see a woman standing not far from him with some sort of white fur-balled yip yip dog at the end of the red leash she was holding. Konrad had noticed her on earlier visits. She looked to be in her early sixties, some sort of ex-hippie flower power type wearing maxi dresses and large sunhats, usually barefooted. Her hair was either bleached white blond or gray white (it was hard to tell which). She always had a black bag slung over her shoulder.
"Sometimes," Konrad admitted, not in the mood to socialize on this particular day of memory.
"I've seen you here many times."
Konrad shrugged but didn't reply.
"I'm Kate," the woman announced.
"Nice to meet you," Konrad said politely, though he had no interest in carrying on a conversation. The woman made him nervous.
"This is Henry," she said, tugging on the leash which caused the little dog to yip once.
Konrad nodded but looked away.
"Sad day?" Kate guessed.
Konrad turned and peered at her. "For many people," he remarked.
"Including you?" Kate asked. "You lost someone on 9/11?"
"My girlfriend Molly," Konrad sighed. "She was on American Flight 11 for Los Angeles. The one Mohamed Atta flew into the North Tower."
"I'm very sorry," Kate said, taking a seat next to him on the bench. "Why was she going to LA?"
"Vacation," Konrad smiled. "She was so excited."
"How sad," Kate sighed. "You didn't go with her?"
"I was still in school," he sighed. "I was her middle of the night ride to Logan after we made love," Konrad said. "I literally drove her to her death."
"Don't do that to yourself," Kate advised.
"She gave me a long happy hug and sweet kiss goodbye before heading for the gate." Konrad looked at Kate with a tear in his eye. "Fourteen years later and I'm still waiting for her to come back."
Kate sat back on the bench, uninvited. "I like it here," she said after a few minutes of silence. "Don't you think that wishing well over there is cool?"
The wishing well was bored through the cement abutment at the top of the walking bridge across the river. It was a long chute down into the water below and a popular attraction at the recreation facility, especially for kids. Konrad and Molly had tossed many pennies down the well over the years. Konrad glanced at his watch. He was waiting for 9:03 a.m. – the exact moment Molly's plane slammed into the World Trade Center. He wanted to be alone then so he could think about her at the exact moment of her death. He still got shudders thinking about her in her last moments.
"You should make a wish today," Kate suggested.
If it meant getting rid of this bothersome lady Konrad was game. He stood and pulled some loose change from his pocket, picking out the shiniest penny. Kate followed as Konrad walked to the wishing well by the bridge, but he didn't notice her digging through her black bag full of herbs, spices, potions and other concoctions she carried with her.
"Make a wish," Kate grinned as Konrad stood at the well construction wooden design on the top of the well.
Konrad felt silly but he was so emotionally vulnerable and spiritually sad at the moment that he really didn't care about anything. He tossed the penny down the wishing well. "I wish I could see Molly again even though she's dead," he mumbled just as Kate blew something in his face.
"What the hell?" Konrad barked with annoyance, sneezing and brushing whatever it was she had tossed at him away from his nose but when his vision cleared Kate was nowhere in sight and that was fine with Konrad.
He turned to return to the bench but stopped short when he saw a woman sitting on it. His breath caught in his throat and his heart thumped with disbelief. She was wearing a white dress – the one she had worn that morning. Her brown hair draped her face and she was smiling warmly at Konrad. He rubbed his eyes but the image didn't go away when he dropped his hands.
"Molly?" Konrad asked, trance like as he stumbled toward the bench.
"Hello, Rad," Molly smiled as she stood. "Let's spend the day together."
The sun was behind her, lighting her like an Angel, her hair looking aglow from the affect. She was still twenty-three – her age when she died – not thirty-seven like Konrad was now.
"You can't be real," Konrad whispered.
"We have the day," Molly assured him. "Don't be afraid."
He tried to say something but nothing came out. He had never seen a ghost – or hallucination – or whatever it was he was seeing – before.
"Let's go sit on the wall," Molly said, stepping closer to him. She was smiling and radiant and Konrad stared at her with wide eyes.
She slipped her hand into his – it was warm – not cold like death – and she led him across the walking bridge to the far side of the recreation area. They took seats on the stone wall of the river like in the old days. Konrad took in a deep breath but he still was at a lost as to what to say – or believe.
"Rad," Molly smiled. "There is nothing you can do except enjoy my company today," she explained. "Don't you see? Your wish came true."
"It's not possible," he said, still dazed.
"Sure it is," she laughed. "Don't question it."
He stared at the image with sadness, knowing none of it was real. "I miss you," he sighed.
"I know," she replied. "I'm sorry."
He hung his head and watched the fish swim in the clear water. "I didn't know that was our last day together," he said sadly.
"I was in love with you."
"And I loved you, Rad," Molly said. "That's all that matters."
"Thank you," he whispered, needing to hear her proclamation again even if she wasn't real.
"I thought we had more time," Molly remarked.
"Me too," Konrad replied.
"There was so much I wanted to do," she smiled. "Adventures I wanted to experience. Life I wanted to live. Loving you settling down when we were ready to start a family."
"But you died," Konrad said quietly.
"I died," she confirmed.
"And a part of me died with you," he sighed.
"You can't keep waiting for me, Konrad," Molly told him. "You have to go on with your life."
"I don't know how to do that," Konrad admitted.
(A/N – Kate also appears in "A Boy Named Sue". I combined two separate prompts into one – the wishing well suggestion with the seeing someone who had died idea.)