Somewhere along the journey of reliving myself, of re-birthing and killing myself, the multitude of my lives began to take on more shape and definition. Spotlighting their range of hues for my perusal, as they saw fit.
Here, I am a young monk. The epitome of the Renaissance devout in dung-colored robes, a crown of pin-straight hair. I can smell the heat of melting wax dripping down stems of candelabras mounted to the walls. Can hear the soft scraping of my companion’s sandals, while we hold to leisurely pace down the dim, stone corridor. Large, square stones, like the castles of western Europe that can never quite keep the damp out. He is two decades my senior, at the very least, and I know he’s my mentor. His tales of devotion enthrall me to my very core, for I am young; filled with passion and the strive for a kind of humbleness I’m still too optimistic to tame. I haven’t felt the fear of never achieving it, yet. I’m still in the throes of the fever. But the demon of doubt is ever patient. He waits in the gaping chunks of crumbling mortar to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. A plague of unanswerable questions, the contradictions that will inevitably smother the life of passion from my soul.
It explains much about my last life, earmarking it as the one just before it. I can sense the stranglehold of it. The bleed-over of deeply rooted things and the affects they would have on who I became as a woman. A pagan. A sexual deviant. I can still feel the power of my defiant convictions against God in my core. As if he’d wronged me on a far more personal level than my most recent life experiences could justify or ever hope to define.
Yet the climatic encapsulation of these revelations cannot touch me here, or if they have, it’s too faint to notice. One past life melds into another and I float on. My thoughts like random strokes of infinitesimal epiphanies.
Life kills. Isn’t that a clarifying thought? Put it in black and white, sweep away the gray. Statistically, it is the number one cause of death in all living things.
At one point, I was abruptly and distractedly aware of the fact that I was unafraid. That with this secreting grasping of all things endlessly oozing into my spectral brain, I’d somehow skipped the initial moments of disorientation and shock. I felt no helplessness, no loss of those left behind. Perhaps, it was because my death had been a natural occurrence and not a sudden end. Not a violent end. I knew this truth with the same unquestioning acceptance that I’d come to know all other things. The way you died held sway over the way you entered the afterlife.
Not the whole of it, of course. Eventually, we all come to the same place, but the introduction… that’s individual. I was still there, in this beginning after my last end. For how long?
“There is no time or space here,” An outside voice stated calmly.
I knew that already, though, so did not seek out the owner of the voice. It seemed a part of me had been aware of their presence all along, just as I was aware of everything else that was and was not there at all. This place shifted, remained continuous, held no particles of reason to make any substantial patterns. Yet it had purpose. Purpose was the only thing that mattered now and I could feel my curiosity increasing, as the rest of my lives played on and on, a broken reel.
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