This is a continuation of my story called “Again“. If you haven’t read that, you might want to first. Or not. I won’t tell you what to do.
Joshua just arrived in Dublin. He was walking near St. James’s Gate when he sensed her. She was walking toward him in the other direction. He stopped as the fellow tourists made their way around him. As she neared, she stopped too.
He didn’t remember anything except her name and how he felt when she was nearby.
“Stacia!” he said as he looked into her piercing dark eyes.
“No. Not again,” she told him. “I can’t keep doing this!”
“I…I don’t understand,” he stuttered. “I don’t even know you. Only I do, somehow.”
“Look, I’m on vacation here. I can’t go through this again. Not in this lifetime. I don’t care how many times we are drawn together, I know how it ends, and I can’t do it again,” she said as she started walking.
“Wait!” he called after her, “I don’t even know what is going on!”
“Good!” she shouted back through tears as she walked away.
He turned to look as she disappeared into the crowds of people trying to take pictures of the Guinness brewery. Admittedly, that is why he was there, though he didn’t much care about that now.
“What the hell was that?” he thought to himself.
He continued the rest of his trip to Ireland and then flew back to his home in Seattle.
He returned from his trip exhausted and jet-lagged. He flopped down on his bed as soon as he walked in the door and went to sleep. As he slept, he had dreams, that seemed more like memories. Meeting Stacia for coffee over thirty years earlier in a coffee shop where the apartment building on one of the streets in his city now stood. Walking through Discovery Park and her running into his arms off one of the trails. Going to her house and making love to her. They were all so real.
He woke up at dusk and drove to the location of that coffee shop. He stood across the street from her and looked up at the apartment building where the coffee shop was in his dream.
He sensed her again. He turned around and saw her.
“It was called Neptune,” she told him. “We had coffee here, years ago. In another life.”
“I remember, ” he told her, “Or not really, but I had a dream about it. Is it always here?”
“No, she told him. We have been all over the world together. We always find our way to each other, even when we avoid it. In fact, I picked this place specifically because I didn’t think we’d find each other in the same place twice. I didn’t want to repeat this again. I guess that wasn’t in the cards.”
He trusted everything she said. “So if this keeps meaning to happen, why avoid it?”
“The end is always so hard. Think about your dream, when did it take place?”
“I don’t know, thirty something years ago.”
“And how old were we in the dream?” she asked him.
“Thirty something,” he replied. “Wait, does that mean?”
“We meet, and we die, and we find each other, and we meet and die again.”
“Which is why you ran away from me in Dublin,” he said.
“I thought if I could avoid you, I could avoid it. The pain. I know what happens every time and yet I still can’t seem to stay away from you. And now you are here,” she said as a tear formed in her eye.
“Well, I live here. My whole life,” he told her.
“I was born in California, but I figured if I came here, you wouldn’t be here because of last time. And I thought it was working out. But then I see you in Ireland on vacation and find you live here too. It just keeps happening.”
“So I’m going to die, then. We meet and we die,” he said.
“Not exactly, she told him. “There is a step in between.”
He thought back to his dream. He remembered making love to her in it. He smiled. “Well, we just don’t get together. How hard can that be?”
“Right, we stay away from each other, and do not give in to any temptation, no matter how great it might be,” she said as she eyed him up and down.
“Right,” he said as the thought of being inside her began to consume his entire mind. “I need to go. Stacia, it was a pleasure meeting you, again.”
He turned around and walked off. He got in his car, turned the battery on and drove back to his house. He took a cold shower.
The dreams were getting out of control. Every night, every single dream so real. More like memories. From one side of the globe to the next. From Ancient times, to Victorian times, to modern times. Near forty year increments of roughly the same events. He tried to stay awake to avoid them.
He was out getting groceries and sensed her again. He left his items in the cart and ran out of the store. He was at a bar and sensed her, he got up and left through the back entrance.
The dreams were now taking over his days too. He couldn’t focus, and was at risk for losing his job. He was sent home early when he botched a few lines of code, trapped in his memories and fantasies of her. As he walked from the office, he sensed her again.
She walked up to him. He grabbed her and kissed her passionately, right in the middle of the sidewalk.
As he pulled his lips away from hers, he said, “I don’t care if we have to do this in lives for eternity. As long as I get to be with you for eternity. I don’t care if it is over the course of a million lives, I want to be with you.”
“Yes,” was all she could manage to get out as he kissed her again.
When he was able to stop himself from taking her right there on the street, he led her to his car and drove her to his apartment.
They kissed as they made their way up the elevator, to his floor, through the hall, into his apartment, through his living room, into his bedroom, and onto his bed.
Their love was passionate and slow. Gentle and strong. Their sense of each other having been honed for thousands of years, they knew exactly what the other liked and did it to perfection.
After they both finished, he rolled over and waited for his life to end, so he could meet her again in the next life. She waited for him to go so she could take her life and start waiting until they met in the next.
He kissed her, he told her goodbye. He told her it was worth it, because he got her forever in their own weird way.