Short story: A promise of Love in Death

To sleep no more

“If I die, I won’t blame you, I promise,” Amelia said earnestly.

Dipender flinched and he stared at her for a long moment before walking over to her and kneeling down so they were eye-level.

“Don’t say that. Don’t even think like that, you can fight –”

“I heard you talking to the nurse earlier,” Amelia said taking the oxygen mask off her face, “and I just want you to know that I don’t blame, just don’t lie to me.”

Dipender blinked a few times, swallowing the lump that was forming in his throat, he told himself that crying in front of patients was wrong especially children who looked at him with eyes aged beyond their years.

“I’m going to call your parents. I’m going to make sure they are here.” He promised taking her hand and he saw her try and hide a wince as the monitor beeped, Dipender let go immediately.

“You don’t always have to be so strong, it’s okay to tell me when it hurts,” He said, annoyed at himself for letting his voice break, angry at the world for wanting to even try and take this little girl’s life and powerless in his need to save her.

“It hurts all the time, so I have to be strong all the time.” Amelia said her voice modulated her gaze unwavering.

Dipender felt the moisture build in his eyes as he held her gaze. He carefully put the oxygen mask back on her face.

“It’s okay, it really is,” she said reaching forward and patting him on the arm lightly, as if he needed reassuring, as if the action didn’t cost her everything.

He didn’t even want to imagine the level of pain she would have endured to become that resilient.

“I’m going to call them, I’m going to…” he trailed off as she shrugged as though it didn’t matter to her.

Snapshots through time: Liana’s decision

Forever and always

Liana noticed both Sanella and Ezra locked in an intense conversation and she walked in.

Ezra looked a little stricken and Sanella looked smug, which was strange because ever since he had gotten her pregnant Ezra had stuttered around like a peacock whereas Liana had become a recluse, embarrassed at having fallen pregnant because of a one night stand; she very rarely left her office.

Liana walked in, and they both jumped.

“You want to publish it?” Ezra asked, recovering some of his composure.

Liana met Sanella’s distressed gaze.

“Why do you hesitate?” Ezra asked,

“Morally, I’m not sure if it is the right thing to do.”

Ezra looked confused for a moment before nodding.

“Both Jonah and Eleanor are patients at the institute, and you blame yourself for making them recount their lives.”

He phrased it like a statement but Liana nodded.

“The more they remembered of their past lives the –”

“The crazier –”

“We don’t say the word crazy!” Sanella reprimanded.

“Fine, the more they remembered of their past lives the more mentally unstable they became, and from the looks of all the other people you interviewed it appears that this is a trend.” Ezra said nodding, as he began to pace.

“So now your fear is; that people will think that there is no such thing as mental health issues, just people who have remembered something they shouldn’t.”

“We are not supposed to remember our past lives.” Sanella said softly.

They were all quite for a long time.

“Do you ever wonder how many things have been discovered and kept a secret because we are just not ready to face some truths?” Ezra mused.

“It is for the greater good,” Liana said, “tragedy has plagued Jonah and Eleanor for decades, because their love was too strong, it overrode any commands of the brain to not remember. Maybe if they are lucky; in their next life they can forget enough to enjoy a love they have waited two life-times for.”

Snapshots through time: Eleanor remembers the past

Embrace me Jonah

Embrace me Jonah

Jonah waited beside Eleanor’s bed, the doctors were confused, a woman of thirty with no history of health issues didn’t simply have a seizure and slip into a coma for a month. Jonah didn’t care what the experts said, he would wait for his Eleanor, he had already waited one life time for her and he didn’t mind waiting another.

It came as no surprise to him when she awoke and called out to him.

“I remember,” she said softly. “My darling Francis, I remember.”

“If it hurts you, then don’t.” He had said to her, brushing her dark her away from her forehead, so different from the lighter shade she’d had in her previous life, with the thought came a piercing pain in his head but he fought through it.

“I have to know, I need to. On the train tracks that day, what happened?” She asked her voice urgent, as though she knew her mind wouldn’t last long in this fluid state.

“We were supposed to meet one last time, but the train it hit you,” Jonah said carefully, “I died a few years later, working on the railway, I couldn’t be away from trains from you.”

Eleanor smiled sadly.

“How can it be that we have loved each other for two lifetimes, but never really get to be together?”

Jonah hugged her tightly as his mind started to rebel.

“I don’t know Miss Marie-Ann, I don’t know.”

Snapshots through time: Marie-Ann’s ring

one-ring

Sanella looked up as Ezra stormed into the office.

He looked down at her, his anger a palpable thing in the air.

“How may I help you?” She said pleasantly.

“A letter? You think a letter was enough to convince someone – regardless of the amount of coincidences she shared with Marie-Ann,” he interjected when she opened her mouth to argue, “was enough, you’ve taken out something, tell me now!” He demanded, his eyes too bright.

“A little obsessed?” She said with a smile.

He gave her a strange look, “Of course,” he said so earnestly that Sanella actually believed him.

“Marie-Ann was given an engagement ring when she made the deal with the Mayor’s son. Expensive and oddly unique, the ring has been lost for decades.” Sanella said and reached into her desk and pulled out the ring.

“Eleanor knew exactly where it was,”

Ezra gazed at it, he looked almost fearful.

Sanella smiled and said softly, “It is one thing to believe, quite another to be proven right.”

Ezra met her gaze. He opened his mouth to say something and closed it again.

Snapshots through time: Marie-Ann’s The Letter

old-letter

“Her name was Marie-Ann, we couldn’t be together, back then people couldn’t mix like they do now. She was white and I was black,” Jonah told Liana, “we kept it secret for as long as we could but we were found out. To say life got unbearable would be an understatement, the tenuous peace we were working towards blew up. It split the whole town in half. She cut a deal with the mayor; Mr Hopkins, to marry his son, an ignorant and violent young man, but she agreed so they would leave us alone.”

Liana had then been presented with a letter, soft and worn with age, she had the paper authenticated. It was real.

Much as I love you, and I do love you, I can no longer accept what we are doing. Your nearness, it causes great pain when you leave. Despite knowing that I will regret this decision forever, I can no longer take the pain of your presence any more – even for you. I will not put myself through it. Maybe in our next life we can try again. – MA

MA had stood for Marie-Ann Jean who had been born in 1953 and died in 1975.  Eleanor Avenoso had been born nine months after Marie-Ann had died. When she had first read the letter, she had collapsed and slipped in to a coma that had confused the Doctors. But it was when she had woken up that the real problem began.

Snapshots through time: Jonah’s story

rocking-chair

Liana paused outside Ezra’s office, she could see him reading her research, her heart began to race as she saw him pick up the letter that had started her on this path. She could still remember the look on Jonah’s face when he had presented her with the letter.

She had been working at the Havers mental institute for four months wondering if she would ever match the success of her first thesis when Jonah stopped her for a chat. Usually out of his mind on multiple medication, he seemed lucid as he gestured her over.

“Do you believe in reincarnation?” Jonah had said.

Liana had sighed and shaken her head.

“I can prove it to you.”

Liana still didn’t know what had made her stay, maybe it was the small smile on his face, but she had listened to him, and what he had said on that day and the months that followed proved to her something she would months ago had insisted was impossible.

Jonah had always wanted to prove the existence of reincarnation, but it seemed like whenever he had gotten his story straight his mind would rebel against him, as if he wasn’t supposed to remember. As if his mind was self-sabotaging to stop him from remembering to prevent him from telling his story.

But it seemed like providence when a world-renowned psychiatrist had started working at the institute, it had taken his months to get his meds reduced to he could be gather his thoughts. Despite this he hadn’t expected her to believe him, but she had. It had taken her months to get the full story out of him, relapses dogged his footsteps, the more he remembered the more his mind rebelled. But the letter and the story surrounding it, that he would never forget.