I found this short story between some pages of a dream journal that I kept in 1981. I had typed this story. On a typewriter. Talk about time travel!
At the signal of the latch clicking and a breeze mixing the stale office air with a sudden whiff of outside, I gladly lifted my head from the pile of papers to be filed, and glanced at the woman who pushed open the door. She was neat and brown in a vested suit, with the inevitable business case and crisp walk. She looked around for someone in charge, and after giving her a smile and the polite interval of attention, I returned to the alphabet and file drawer, trying not to look responsible. The head secretary stepped forward. It was a typical scene in the office, but not always was the customer a handsome woman who looked so competent. My attention strayed to her as the business transaction began. I had ascertained that her face was unfamiliar to me, but there was something about this woman that made me lose my place in the file. i tried hard to place exactly who she reminded me of, but I knew no one with that golden brown hair color, and the way she carried herself was very unique. She had a familiar air, the way her eyes seemed to catch every detail caused a bell to ring in some dusty corner of my brain. I was growing rather curious. Was this some kind of deja-vu; the more I looked a her, the more certain I became that I knew her, yet for what reasons I couldn't pinpoint.
Well, I couldn't stare all day - she was beginning to feel my eyes on her, and glance dartingly in my direction.
There was nothing to do but get back to work, I was behind as it was. and had a pile of things to run on the copy machine, too. She was delegated to a salesperson and left the outer office. A quarter of an hour later found me shuffling my originals and warming up the machine. Hearing a soft tread behind me, I looked around to see her jerking her head down quickly and perusing a company magazine. She had been studying me! Now that she was close, I could feel a field of almost electric energy exuding from her and holding my attention. I couldn't concentrate on my trivial task. It was as thought some inner mechanism tracker her path around the room behind me. her steps circled until they prudently stopped, and she made a little rush over to where I stood. "Who are you?" she huskily breathed. "Have you ever seen me before?" I dumbly shook my head and felt overpowered by her energy at such close range. There was a long silence as we stared unabashedly into one another's eyes. There was something going on in my head that I can barely explain. It was as if all my though processes were abruptly turned off- the memories, the sensations, the calculation of reality - all was silenced. From somewhere else, although I guess it must have been from my brain, a story began to weave itself. not a memory, in the usual sense, though it was names and images and thought, just like a slow recollection. This entity was "informing" me very faintly of things unknown until now. Set off by this woman's presence, a new part of my mind was shifted into gear, and the parts I'd used til then were stunned at the innovation.
There was no way I could assume she was having a similar experience, and no way to describe to this complete stranger my reaction to her. But she spoke first, grasping my arm as she stuttered, "We- we were together once - do you remember it?"
"I don't know you but something in me is recognizing you - when were we together?"
"It's the same with me - almost as though we have shared some distant past. I think we could draw it out if we try - just looking at you and talking wih you seems to remind me of a thousand things." She was filled with excitement, and still gripped my forearm.
I didn't find it difficult to speak to her, but I felt so confused with the flood of new sensations that I hardly could form an answer. "I..I..guess.. it was long ago.. Could it be another life? I've thought about that but I never know one could be so clearly revealed. Could that be it?"
"I'm nearly certain - my mind is filled with images of a kind of camp - a primitive existence - women sitting around fires, in front of huts-" Her eyes still riveted to mine, she added, "Don't look so frightened, Lyana."
I jumped back at the shock of hearing the name. It wasn't my own, but the sound of it matched the memories coming out of nowhere.
"That's not my name." I was frightened.
"It's what I remember," she tried to sooth me, and reached for my arm again.
"Yes - it is familiar," I admitted. "Look, this is too much for me to take in right now. Can't we talk this over later?"
"Where can we meet tonight? When do you get off work?" In her competent way, she quickly took my phone number and address, told me she'd stop by tonight or call if she couldn't and turned to leave.
It wasn't easy to look away from the face. Our eyes were meant to be staring at each other - or so it felt. The strange memory was being warmed by her presence. "Don't worry, Lyana, I'll see you tonight. Let's try to straighten out these new stories and share them later."
Stunned, I watched her leave.
Somehow the day stumbled to a close. I was nearly useless to anyone in my stupor of new ideas and the search for some kind of explanation. In the quiet of the car during the drive home, I reviewed my life and tried to arrange my most recent history as I knew it, in order to force my brain to organize itself.
I had always felt I had been born somewhere in a realm of reality outside of the world most people see. There was something eerie about the way I managed to deal with the world as if I saw it from other angles. It had been pointed out to me increasingly throughout the years or else I might not have been aware that my consciousness was anything but similar to every one else's. A knowledge of what to expect had toned down my temperament - where there might have been misunderstanding, there was acceptance on my part, when outrages could be counted on, I was placid. It is not the same as being easy-going and having a sympathetic personality. I am blessed, or plagued, as you might judge it, with a personality that can assess a situation with a kind of certainty and play along, assuming the correct behavior that fits in best with the assessment. I had always been vaguely aware that I hadn't learned this ability - that rather, somewhere in the scheme of things, I had a given talent of adaptation. even as a child I felt I was only acting out a role expected by my contemporaries. I felt years older, and never seemed to age within myself. I could count up my various signs of maturation and match them with the expected behavior of my age group, yet there was underneath all of that a timelessness and a distaste for the "immature" behavior that my outer self displayed. This resulted in my blocking most of my childhood from memory - none of it seemed worthwhile at the time, and I merely regarded it as something to pass through and be forgotten. The closer I grew to adulthood, the more I could assess the reasons for my hatred of childhood and my insatiable urge to have it over and done with.
At last reaching an age where I could make decisions and move freely for myself, I felt more than ever in touch with this outer reality, this strange ability to know yet not to know, to have learned without having studied or experienced. And again and again I found myself in situations very familiar: in deja-vus too real to dismiss as mental fabrications or dream memories. I began to read about reincarnation and wondered if I had found a clue at last to the mysterious inner self that was so much wiser than I - or rather than this earthly I.
My mentor at that time had been a wonderful woman, fifty years older than I, who is fascinated with every form of self revelation. She encouraged me to search within myself for answers to the world's mysteries. She isn't in the role of being a teacher, she has the ability to push in the right direction needed at the moment, either intellectually or emotionally. She led me to my study of reincarnation and subsequently to a discovery of a religion meaningful to me. Unfortunately, we no longer lived in the proximity, or I could have seen her for advice on the startling revelatory experience I had just had. On second thought, though, perhaps her reply would be simply a recognition that something had happened, and she would let me take it from there. I was afraid of the unknown ahead of me and behind me.
The sound of gravel crunching under my tires brought me to the realization that I had arrived home: I had driven automatically, barely noting my whereabouts. Still in a trance-like state, I checked the mailbox, took in the paper, and straightened up the mess my cat, Luna, had spent the day arranging. No sooner had I thrown my clothes off and joined Luna, stretching wearily confused, in my sotest and largest easy chair, the knock jarred the purring silence. "Who is it?" I knew. "I could say it's Martha, but you know me as Naomi."
Wrapping myself in the afghan, I rushed to the door - her voice made my spine jingle with electricity. Her name fit my new consciousness and released images. They poured out of the secret chamber that held the past - or was it the past? The door flew open and her face and strong body crossed my threshold. She was flowing in a golden shirt and warm brown pants, big and comfortable. I shivered at the sight and from the breeze that accompanied her. "Sorry, I haven't had time to change yet." "that's ok, stay comfy, we have a lot of talking to do."
So I fell back into my chair enclosed in the crocheted blanket, and stared at her for a long time, letting my mind free itself and take me on that journey it was desiring. "What an amazing coincidence that we should meet again like we did. I wonder if this sort of thing happens to lots of people, but they cover it up for fear they are crazy." "Maybe we are crazy.. what exactly is happening? Can we be sure we are experiencing the same thing?"
So we decided to take turns, to carefully plot out the stories our minds had released, to fill in the blanks, to discover lost identities, to pick up where we left off, to rekindle (rekindle? what had there been?) our bond.. And we talked all night.
And as the windowsill dust began to glisten and Luna gave up her alternate pacing and purring for a long sleep, and the cars and trucks began to pass on the street, we stood as one and went into the dark curtained empty bedroom, fell onto the bed in a long warm kiss that made me feel I had been interrupted in an embrace years ago, and was finally satisfying what had begun. Our bodies fit like old lovers. The afghan lay on the living room floor, and later in the morning, Luna moved from it to lay upon our entwining legs. Laughter and muffled purrs.