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The Chance of Doing My Life Over - Part Four

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Life Two

My life, in this different dimension, moved unbelievably smoothly.

I had a real family. There were no arguments, no confusion, nothing but peace. Extremely boring, yes. Over testing my self control, yes, but peace.

To avoid any shred of myself emerging I took a number of physical education courses to deplete my energy. My folks thought I was trying to stay 'fit' not that I was putting myself into a framework in which I would be too tired to notice interplays and events.

I spent most of my time on the campus.

Where there weren't classes or guest lectures, or research I needed to do, I would just walk around, remembering who and what, and exploring the corners I had ignored in Life One.

My usual pattern was to get up early, have a small breakfast, then get to the campus to keep me out of the house. I'd return in the evenings, playing happy and excited to be home, enjoy dinner with my family, watch a little television, then sleep.

In Life One my parents and I had opposite views on just about everything. In this life, we couldn't have opposite views because I had none and was rarely at home.

If 'forced' to speak I discussed my courses as if I didn't know there was a world beyond. Mostly, I stayed quiet. I kept my real views, my truth to myself.

Trying to 'Pull my Tongue' and failing

Although I had overheard my parents warning my sister not to bring up the past for fear of provoking a memory, when our parents were out, that was her usual activity.

Acting and powerful she would proclaim how I used to be before my accident and the coma. I was overly aware she wanted to 'trigger' me for she needed someone to blame for her failures.

Looking through Life One, where she had been beyond my periphery, I was quite impressed I had been able to 'read' her without the 'Cliff Notes'.

In Life Two, hearing her blather was watching a rerun for the third time.

As she and everyone else was unaware I recalled everything as it had been in Life One, her inventions and lies were almost funny. But she didn't need to know I remembered.

I would sit blankly, keeping a thoughtful look on my face as if listening to her stories, then run into the bathroom, giving the impersonation of crying, but actually smoking a cigarette, relaxing, commending myself.

The role I had adopted was brilliant. Everyone saw me as I wanted them to; a quiet, unassuming minor person who had no opinions, a sheep who would follow and give no trouble.

My life flowed sweetly. I had no decisions to make, save what courses to take at school, no work beyond my homework.

Seeing the What If

One morning, walking on the campus I saw the man I would marry in Life One. For a micro second, I paused, for he had been so handsome, so magnetic, I forced myself to turn away, eyes defocused and walk in another direction.

If he even saw me it would be a passing blur.

As I moved through the building I thought, 'Let him find another victim', 'Let him abuse someone else.'

I recalled how we had met and avoided every venue he might be. In this life we would never encounter.


Different Direction

When Kent State happened, in Life One, I had been one of those who patrolled the campus and took a major part in the demonstrations.

In this now, in Life Two, I stayed home.

There was a morsel of my soul which wanted to be part of the protests and demonstrations, but I crushed it. I would never be that marching, chanting revolutionary who tried to 'make the world a better place'.

I would only try to make myself a better life. A life full of people, a life totally acceptable, boring and unstressing.

Having lived so much, done so much in Life One I took this now as I had as my retirement; a deserved rest where my biggest concern was what to prepare for dinner.

I would duplicate that disaffection here and now.

Although surrounded by people, I was, as I had been, alone in myself mentally. I didn't share my thoughts, didn't express opinions out loud. Kept all my revelations and ideas buried in my soul.