Past, Present and Now, blended in the one Tapestry of Life, these points can collide and momentarily you can be immediately back in a life that happened before. Last night when I went to bed the energy was weird, surreal, swirling.
I lie down in the bed and the room swirls, I sit up and swing my legs over the edge of the bed and fall, literally right into another life. I am sitting on a highly polished floor, there are fringed rugs, of prussian patterns around me, I am in between the fireplace and the rugs, my side and back to the heat of the fire. I look at my legs, they have pristine white thick stockings on them and the leather of my shoes has been polished to high reflective black. I am a child, I look at the blue of the skirt, high quality, but thick for warmth. I sigh... What have I come back for?
In my lap is a small wooden carriage, painted beautifully with working fittings painted in cream and gold hues, small black horses, with flowing manes can be taken from the carriage, heavy and metallic feeling, cast lead, unharnessed to be played with individually. My hands are still for the moment. It is a terribly disconcerting feeling. I reach with one hand and feel my face, childlike, short nose, my hair pulled back severely into a plait and running down my back, tightly braided, matching ribbon. I look around the room, the warmth of the fire comforting, and warm. I look to the windows, they are high, curtains slightly apart, snow falls on the outside, sitting on the sash and the sill. I close my eyes for a moment, why can't I remember where I am.
This life is an unfamiliar one, I look around the room curiously, there is a long settee in expensive creams and golds, rolled edges, chaise lounge springs to mind. I know I am not allowed to sit on that, that is for Mother only. Delicate footstools in matching expensive creams litter the rug elegantly. I am uncomfortable in this room, I'm used to the Nursery but I have been told to stay here and behave. My hair itches uncomfortably, stretched into place by the fast hand of Nanny, moments before the summons from the bell.
I frown and quickly change my features, a frown warrants a telling off. I change my features to blankness and try to still the churning of my stomach. I tell myself, it's just a recall, a life of before, only problem is I feel like I'm again to experience something. I glance around again. There is large double doors past the chaise lounge, the ceilings seem unbearably high, a hiss of gas fluctuates from the gas lights. The real me, the adult immediately tries to place the era. Victorian? Lord, I'm useless at history, mentally I whack myself.
I hear the click of heels across the floor coming towards the large doors, I drop my eyes immediately. There is certain behaviours that are not appropriate for children, I stay where I have been placed by Nanny for optimum effect of cuteness. I cannot be more than 7 years old. My stomach swirls with dread. While I am aware of being older and younger I am still in this body, experiencing all, it is so disconcerting. I inch closer to the fire.
The doors swing open and a capped, broad, warm face peers in worriedly. Nanny! I breathe a sigh of relief, I think I may get a reprieve from Mother again today. She hurries into the room and quickly stoops beside me. Leans and rubs my hands, "So cold in here" she whispers. She turns in a swirl, removes the fire stand and stirs the fire, adds more coal from an elegantly decorated bin beside the hearth I haven't even noticed. "Not much longer" she whispers, straightens an imagery loose hair on my head, "just stay here" I nod quickly at her concerned look. She straightens, listens for a moment and quickly disappears through the same door.
The fire pops merrily beside me, I move slightly as the heat on my back strengthens to an uncomfortable wave, the fire stand not back in place, I look again at the horses and carriage in my lap. Beautifully and elegantly crafted. The fire suddenly explodes with a burst of coal embers, flying from the fire onto the rug in front of me, a splattering of orange embers, large and small. How it missed me I don't know, but the embers burn blackening holes into the rug, tendrils of smoke curling from each in small waves.
I stare fascinated as the holes blacken and small flames appear, tiny, in little bursts around the embers, tracing towards each other like old friends reunited. I shift a tiny bit away from the flames. I don't know what to do. Nanny has told me to stay that I will get in trouble with Mother if I make too much noise. What do I do? The flames fan out across the rug, flickering to the edge of the chaise lounge. It seems forever, they climb in different directions, consuming and moving. Even though they came from the fire, I still remain where I am. Someone will come, I have been told and told just to stay. My fear of Mother remains ingrained, lessons from Nanny, punishments.
Flames crawl lazily over the chaise lounge while others shoot up the curtains towards the gas lamps. I cough, the air thickens with smoke tendrils tickling at me. I am fascinated, repelled, terrified all at the same time. The flames criss-cross tracks across the rug and the floor, up walls and curtains. A band of flames block me off from the doorway. Where is someone? One of the gas lamps pops noisily and the glass cracks audibly around the fitting. I pull my toes back from the rug as the fringe is consumed by hungry small flames, the heat from them startlingly intense.
I have pulled my legs and feet back under me and moved to the side of the fire, leaning against the coldness of the fire surround, the metal cold against my back. I watch the door anxiously, waiting for the arrival of someone, anyone who can tell me to move. I cough again, quietly muffled, it feels harder to breathe and the flames seem to have the intention to crawl all over the room. Smoke seeks out the cracks in the doors and I look up to the ceiling to see thunder clouds inside almost, smoke curling and descending from the high ceilings back down to me.
I hide my face in my pulled up knees, I have made a decision, fear of punishment or blame seems suddenly a small thing in the face of the changes in the elegant room I was sitting in. I scream "Nanny!" into my skirt as loud as I can and listen. Nothing, the chewing noise of the flames and the crackling, more glass pops like a shotgun and I jump. The heat suddenly seems searing and I draw a breath to scream, the heat bites at my throat and I scream a pipe whistle scream to end in coughing. Clattering footsteps, multiple, on the wood in the hallway and the door is wrenched open, in a blast, in one second the whole room seems to hesitate for a second, a breath and then the roar as the fire seizes new oxygen, in a blast I am consumed.
Gasping, I flop back on the bed. I touch my face, it's me. I struggle still to make the connection from that life to this. I draw in breath and nothing hurts. I am staring wide-eyed into a darkened room, my husband snoring gently beside me. A life, a past, the seconds of Past, Present, Now, part like the wings of a butterfly. I'm back, in this life, years away from that life.
It takes me ages to get back to sleep. "Mathias?" I whisper into the darkness, "Come get me, I need to come home for a moment". Gentle arms cradle me as I watch my body drift off to sleep. All of my lives have had value, but the startlingness of reliving them at times when the Past, Present, Now collide sometimes seems more than I can bear.