"Well I just assumed that I was going to meet his parents, that wouldn't be so unusual. Right? But the stone was like decrepit and then he started sobbing. I didn't understand why he was freaking over someone he never met."
"Death sucks, and part of it is because our culture continues to see it as an end and not a transition and transformation." I chose that inappropriate moment to air my views about death.
"Yeah sweetie, but I need to finish."
"Okay, sorry," I amended.
Lila lit a cigarette and continued, "I hated to see him suffering and that's when it hit me that I love him. I mean I've fallen for him. Everything about him resonates, you know?"
"So when did you realize that he was grieving his wife who's been dead for over three-hundred years?" I asked.
"I thought it odd when NightShade knelt down to put a small piece of lace at the grave site, so I looked at the engraving which had grown faint."
"When did you realize that she had been his wife?" I prodded. Then my doorman buzzed, our grilled chicken salads had arrived.
Lila picked at her salad and I could see that she needed to talk. Honestly I was too distracted to eat, so I made us two cappuccinos and waited for Lila to calm down.
"I asked why he was so broken up about someone who lived more than three-hundred years ago. Then he looked at me with such exquisite pain and told me that she, the bones or whatever, had been his wife."
"How could you process that?" I asked.
"I got really dizzy and felt like I was blacking out. Then he explained and I think I did lose consciousness for a few minutes."
"What did he say, honey?"
"That he was a form of the undead known as a Purgatorian. They can't move on after death because they are tied to someone or something on this earth plane. They've evolved sufficiently to be able to interact and live as humans, only they're not. They continue to grow and develop skills, like NightShade was passionate about music before he died. WHen Jazz came around he was hooked and became an incredible jazz musician. You remember, I met him that first night when he was playing at the Blue Note."
"Yes," I said trying to hide my alarm at hearing about a new kind of supernatural.
"The only thing is," Lila started to cry then. I just rubbed her shoulders and tried to make comforting noises.
"What is it? It's okay, tell me."
"Once they achieve their desire, they die. They don't get to stay and enjoy it no matter how long they've waited."
"Well it seems like you have to hinder his progress. What is his desire?"
"To love another woman the way that he loved his wife and to have her return his love."
I reached for another tissue and avoided the urge to cry for my heartsick friend.