Lives Together

June 22, 2018

by M.N. SNow
Key West

“Jesus, David, you forget every time!”
“Do I?”
“Yes, and I still can’t believe it. It’s only been about a thousand years!”
Hannah should’ve been used to it by now, but it still bothered her. She felt a piercing stab of loss thinking that he could’ve forgotten her. Her head was bent and her long, dark, ringlet hair shrouded her face.
“But I remember now. Does that help?”
Hannah felt a sigh of release ease out—a pressure valve deep inside providing relief. Fifteen times, maybe seventeen, and it always hurt, and it always passed. What she always forgot was that it passed. Maybe they each had their forgetting to get past.
“Yes it does, David. We’re together again and that’s what counts.”
A question by David had precipitated the conversation—as it always did, every time.
“We’ve been together before, haven’t we?”

This time he had just come out with it. He hadn’t caged it with any “you may not believe this” or “this may sound weird,” as he had in past lives, although in the late 1500’s he hadn’t used the word weird. He’d used whatever equivalent there was then, which Hannah had long forgotten. Heretical may have been the phrase then. But the point was, the point would come where they would be brought together, have an instant connection, and fall in love. This happened over and over throughout history—their history.
Hannah could count fifteen times and fifteen lives they had been together. It may have been seventeen, there were two hazy connections shimmering on the dark ages of her beginnings, but she wasn’t absolutely sure of those two. She was sure of fifteen.
Hannah would be born, and as she was growing up a sense of waiting would creep into her life. She thought that she was born with the knowing and the looking, but would forget by age three or four, and then it would seep back in by eight or nine. By adolescence it was a certainty and the waiting would begin. There had been lives when they’d met as early as ages ten or eleven. Once in Scotland they had been cousins and, after her parents had been killed, had lived in the same hovel as family. She was seven that time, and it took him years to break them away from their people and unite with her.
Each time she would recognize him immediately for what he was: her husband, her mate, her half for life—or for lives, was a better way of putting it. He would instantly recognize something. She was glad for that, anyway. He never failed her in that way. He would know something, just not what that something was. It would come eventually and they would live their lives together.
“This is fifteen isn’t it? I remember now.”
They were sitting on the couch in his apartment near the beach in Hollywood, Florida. It was small, an efficiency really, and he’d been insecure about that.
Men and size, Hannah laughed. So what else is new?!
He was happy enough by himself, in the small apartment, but if he was to propose he wanted to make her happy as well. Hannah could care less. They always did well together. They more than got by and the nearness of each other was all the life they were looking for anyway.
“Yes, it’s fifteen, unless we count that time in Mesopotamia and that time in Japan. I’m never really sure about those.”
“No, you’re right,” he said, “It is seventeen. Remember? We lived in that cave on that island north of Japan. We had all those kids. And those snakes in Mesopotamia. Remember? They killed us. I mean really killed us. We’d gotten lost looking for water and wandered for days. God, we were just kids that time.”
Hannah remembered now. And then remembered that she always did.
“It is seventeen. I had twelve kids that first time. Jesus, thank God for birth control and modern science. Don’t even think about that this time.”
David leaned and bit her ear.
Hannah marveled how he always had the same sense of humor—every life, every time. It was predictable, but he still got to her.
“Makes perfect,” she finished.
This life was going to be a new set of challenges. She was born to a mother that was half African American and half Native American, and a father from Ireland. David was your basic white atheist from Chicago. Over the centuries she had watched how things had changed and how things had stayed the same. He’d been a slave once, while she a minor princess. That had had its complications. They’d made it into their fifties in that life. Pretty good for 900 AD.
She didn’t know how they came to be together each time. She didn’t know if there were many others like them. She had met a woman once and talked to her about it. She had been like them, but she hadn’t seen her in ages. She hoped the woman hadn’t lost her mate for good and had to keep on living lives alone. As far as Hannah knew it only happened to her and David now. This served to make their connection deeper.

Read the rest in Issue #7 of Decimos