photo by alicepopkorn
You have a way of carrying the reader to places that could only be experienced by highly trained individuals, places that a mind can get lost in. What a book! I mean, it gets you questioning things beyond the book....is this the real Katerina we're seeing? Maybe one of her other parallel lives is more dominant, is the real life? Do we all live parallel lives? Can we access them? etc, etc, etc.....you see? It's got me asking a million questions and I love it. -- Annia Lekka , Author of Fish Tail Mountain
Installment 19 of 22 of the serialization of Sacred Vow (Dragon's Beard Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9774271-4-7, paperback, Fiction: Visionary/Metaphysical).
Eyes of Another
On Monday Ian called Liz to let her know he’d gotten home safely. After thanking her for inviting him to such a lovely party, he asked that she pass his thanks to Djalma.
“I love you, dear friend,” he said.
“And I, you, sweetie,” she replied.
“I’ll let you know when I’ve made another visit,” he assured her.
A couple of days later, Ian realized he had not taken the teapot into the study since the evening of his last visit with Katerina. Remembering Djalma’s speculation that he, not the items in the room, was the portal now, Ian removed a few more items from the study. In an act of daring, he moved the Fauvist painting into the guest room, and the cane-bottomed chair to the living room. He had really wanted them in those rooms for some time but had not dared take the chance. He also made a note of what he had moved and where, just in case he still needed their psychic assistance.
Just so his friends would not worry, Ian called Liz a little later that week. They had a good talk. She had not seen Djalma for a few days. Ian told her he was not considering attempting a visit until the following week.
As eager as he was to see Katerina again, Ian’s inner wisdom seemed to provide a contented patience. He could not say why he felt he needed to wait. But as long as the respite felt right, he would wait.
In time that same judicious part of him gave Ian the go-ahead for more time with Katerina. The next few visits, however, made him question whether that supposedly wise self really knew what it was doing. He did not know what made the difference between the visit that had introduced the Sacred Vow and the next few that followed, but it turned out not to be an easy time for him.
With no more rational understanding than Ian had when he knew not to attempt a visit, one day after work, Ian’s intuition led him to go into the study and sit on the couch. For a little while, he leaned back thinking of nothing, shaking off the workday. Without particular forethought, he pulled his legs up and crossed them.
Katerina and he (or the person whose eyes Ian saw her through) lived in a city. They were in a windowed apartment of a multistory building. Their large living space was not without considerable evidence of affluence. There were expensively framed, original paintings on the walls. Much of the furniture was ornate, solid wood. Several of the articles had the uniqueness of handmade work, and Ian felt certain a number of the pieces were antiques. The floor had an exotic pattern of inlaid wood, covered with finely crafted rugs. The technology of appliances and the buildings he could see through the windows suggested this life took place in the present, the very near past, or in the near future.
Only intuitively did Ian recognize the woman in the room as Katerina. Maybe Djalma would have said it was honing in on her energetic signature. Her behavior and appearance was different, but Ian had no question this was she.
“Where have you been?” Katerina asked, sounding mildly annoyed.
“Visiting friends. What difference does it make?” The tone of the voice Ian felt resonate within his host body, her partner’s voice, showed he was unconcerned.
“More likely, visiting a friend,” she said.
Now Ian understood the environment and was having a hard time imagining the purpose of this visit. It took too much effort to make a journey just to watch this annoying alternate life where Katerina and her partner so thoroughly disregard each other.
They have no idea who they are or what we all share, Ian thought to himself.
The words between the couple made it obvious the husband was having an affair. His responses sometimes implied that they were both frequently unfaithful. With that kind of wounding behavior, Ian expected some strong emotion to be flowing with their words. Ian, though not his host, seemed to be the only one in the room feeling any such passion about what was happening to their relationship. Katerina and her mate stepped through the conversation with a choreographed precision, without any real emotional effect.
What the hell are you people doing? Ian thought. He felt no lack of excitement: he could assure them that the field of play was not completely without passion on this day.
Strike. Parry. Step and speak again. This “argument for display” that they were carrying on was unnatural to Ian. They must have been practicing that pattern for years in order to achieve such threatening accuracy without actually imposing any evident damage on each other. As their dance flowed, Ian was being drawn in ever deeper. Unable to resist, he responded, though silently, to the pernicious nature of their actions.
Then suddenly the couple appeared to throw in a new step. The cadence of their argument staggered at just that moment, and the man took the lead, seemingly out of sequence. Ian had to wonder if the performance was going as expected, because even his host seemed surprised by what he did next. Some evidence of true feeling started to filter into his voice. Ian had a strong sense that this direction was something neither of the couple expected.
“You’re being ridiculous,” he said as he—or he and Ian—stood completely immobile for just a moment, seeming not quite sure what to do for the first time. Then Katerina’s partner walked toward the door, as if to leave the room.
She followed closely behind him, “Don’t you walk away from me!” Her voice was full of an emotion that was more appropriate to the words she spoke. “I may be a fool for staying here, but I am not stupid. What do you think you are doing?”
Her partner turned and stared at Katerina, but did not say anything at all. She may have known what he was doing, but he did not seem to.
There Ian was, gambling with his health and risking his spiritual well-being for any possible hope of interaction with the woman with whom he shared a multitude of lives. What he was seeing instead was a time where Katerina and he—assuming that his host was some version of himself—had utter disrespect for the relationship they were then sharing.
What was the purpose of that particular visit? Ian knew there are always two sides to a coin. Undoubtedly, Katerina and he shared many happy lives and some Ian would rather not know about. But he did not enjoy paying the price required for an experience such as this.
Ian speculated that the couple had never dealt with the real issues that were causing their callousness toward each other. It was not each other they were dissatisfied with, but themselves.
“If you want to leave me,” Katerina continued, “have the courage to tell me so, but do not treat me with disrespect.” There was no question she was feeling truly angry now. She was crying.
After a little more delay, her partner snapped back. “Yes! It’s over. It was always a miserable mistake. We never had anything. I don’t know why we ever got together!”
No! I hate this reality! Ian screamed inside his own head.
Then Ian found himself back on his couch. In his own world, his heart was as broken as had been the heart of Katerina when he’d left their most recent parallel life. He did not want to accept that there would be unhappy lives, even if they were part of his great bond with Katerina. It seemed that they simultaneously lived in many alternate lives, and he could not control which Katerina he would visit at any given time. If what he experienced in this last visit was going to dominate the visits to come, Ian did not know if he could continue.
The next few visits Ian had with Katerina were not any more satisfying, nor did he ever visit the same place twice. He continued to be little more than a spectator, pulled along for some unknown reason. If he’d had any sort of control on over his destinations, he would have chosen to return to visiting the Katerina of the tea visits. He would have loved to meet her in that French country house again.
The new experiences were not completely without interest for him, however. He came to know many manifestations of his dearest Katerina, and he was blessed with the knowledge of many of their parallel lives.
At first, Ian tried to meet with Katerina every evening after work. But after a time, he began instinctively to accept a limit to the frequency of the visits. He allowed himself a period of recuperation after each visit. In due time, he would be moved to sit for meditation again.
Ian decided that the purpose of the recent visits was only to expand his definition of his relationship with the woman he first visited. The most frustrating parts of the experiences were his lack of control during a journey, and his inability to return to a particular manifestation of their lives together.
During a given visit, even if Ian was certain that his point of view was through his eyes in a parallel life, his consciousness from his primary reality could do nothing but follow along. He wanted to communicate with the Katerina of the other lives, and with the manifestation of himself as her partner in those places. What a benefit it could have been to us all, he thought. The couples he visited stumbled about, sometimes not fully appreciating each other, never understanding the scope of their relationship as Ian understood it.
Every so often, Ian called Liz and reported to her—and through her, to Djalma—what was going on with the journeys, assuring her that all was fine. Djalma would periodically ask Liz to remind Ian that he might not be able to continue the trips forever. Ian had no doubt Djalma was correct. Transitions between his normal consciousness and his destinations were getting more complicated, a little tricky at times. Now and again, Ian was aware of being in a place that was merely a void, neither in his original world nor in one of the alternate realities to which he visited.
Liz frequently invited Ian to come and stay for the weekend, but he made excuses why he could not visit the mountains during that time. He could definitely feel the growing weakness within himself as he continued the visits. Ian knew that if Liz and Djalma laid an eye on him, they would be worried about what he was doing to himself.
More than likely, Ian thought, Djalma already knows, even without seeing me face to face. Djalma had merely acquiesced to Ian’s choice.
After a few more visits, still never returning to the same place twice, Ian had a visit in which he started to experience what he believed were the emotions of his parallel selves, during the visit. Up until that time, Ian had felt only his own responses to what he saw and heard. This new aspect of the experience was a little complicated, but it helped him come to some understanding of why Katerina and her partner made such foolish choices and failed to understand how precious their times together were. Gifted with his recently acquired perspective, Ian had the larger comprehension of the great web of his and Katerina’s many lives together. At the same time, the emotions of his host in the visited reality seemed to dominate Ian’s feelings during the visit—making it hard for him not to get lost in the same pettiness that hindered his host’s understanding.
The same thing happened several more times. And then it evolved into something more: Ian started to share the physical experiences of Katerina’s partner within the host environment. He would have liked to put an end to this added involvement. Once the bodily connection developed, he was subject to any physical ailments his parallel self was experiencing in the visited world. Further, after returning to his primary reality from such a journey, it would take Ian anywhere from hours to weeks to separate his actual, physical self from the parallel self’s sensations. This, along with Ian’s increasing weakness in his primary body, forced him to spend longer periods of recovery between visits.
Once, a host in the visited reality was sick with a fever. Ian’s body exhibited that fever after he returned home. Three days afterward, Ian still had the fever and was almost delusional from high temperature. In desperation, he went to the doctor. She ran test after test but found no organic cause for his symptoms. Ian had hoped she could give him something to combat the discomfort, since he had the symptoms.
Just as no tests explained the fever, nothing was effective against it. Luckily, the fever broke as mysteriously—to the doctor—as it had developed. Ian could only hope that his host had become well in the recently visited parallel life, since Ian knew there was no chance he would be able to return to that particular life and check on his parallel self.
One other possibility that dawned on Ian was his symptoms had subsided because his parallel self had died from the fever. The union Ian had experienced with his host only a short time before caused Ian a unique sense of remorse over that idea. Even more unsettling was the implication that the experiences of Ian’s parallel selves could have a direct consequence on his physical body in this world. What would happen if he landed in a reality in which that self was dying? What if the parallel self died while Ian was still in the host world, bonded to that consciousness?
Through all the changes in the visits, Ian hadn’t been able to forget the visit when Katerina and his parallel self were ending their relationship. It seemed like somehow they were comfortable with a well-traveled, though unhappy pattern. Then Ian began to wonder if the influence of the parallel lives went only one way. Might he have disturbed the emotional balance of that couple’s life together? Were they truly surprised when the repetitious path of their quarrel took a new turn that day? What had he done? Ian knew any impact he’d had on them would influence his life here in this world as well, even if the impact was immediately unrecognizable.
No matter the threat to himself, Ian knew he would not be able to stop going into the parallel lives. His life had been redefined: it was something more than he had ever imagined before the visits began. But, Ian didn’t know exactly what his life was now. The idea that he had been directly affecting the visited lives, without realizing just how or to what extent, was disturbing to him. His “visiting” was sometimes more frustrating than it seemed worth. But as little sense as it made occasionally, he was still certain there was a purpose to it and a need for him to continue on.
Continued next week, Dangerous Choice
Last week, Birthday
copyright 2006 CG Walters
C.G. Walters primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives.
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