Revisiting the Past

My job wasn’t glamorous (sales clerk at a large department store in a nearby mall), but it gave me the extra money I wanted and I could work it around my school schedule.

I had taken the job primarily because I felt I needed to “meet” someone, yet I hadn’t quite figured out who it was yet. I felt pulled toward the mall, toward this particular store, so here I was, waiting on customers, making friends with my fellow clerks and trying to determine why I felt such a strong need to be there at that time.

I’d been there about six months when the headaches started. Actually, they were more of a pain in the neck, literally. In the mornings when I got up I’d be fine, then after a few hours the throbbing started. The pain was always in the same place—at the back of my neck about an inch or so from the base of my skull.

At first, I tried aspirin and hot packs, and then I tried just ignoring it. But soon the pain began affecting my life. I’d find myself growing crabby and irritable because my neck and head were hurting so badly.

About this same time, a new girl, Deb, joined the crew of clerks. I never really got a chance to meet her, as our schedules never seemed to connect. Several times when our schedules did overlap for a few hours, I still found it difficult to meet her. I’m not the most outgoing person myself, but she made me look positively gregarious in comparison. She always took breaks by herself; rarely spoke to anyone; and just basically stayed to herself.

When she had been there about a month, I finally had the perfect opportunity to “meet” her. Reporting to work, I found I was assigned to share the same register with her. Heading over there, the throbbing in my head suddenly grew more fierce. Trying to ignore it, I rang in. Deb was busy with a customer, and soon so was I.

This dance of one of us always being busy continued, and I thought I was never going to get a chance to talk with and get to know Deb. The few exchanges we had managed made me think that this was the person I was meant to meet, yet somehow life just wasn’t giving me a chance to confirm it.

As I reached to get a pen for the customer I was helping, my hand brushed hers and suddenly I was no longer in the store.

Deb and I were in a small coach. Another woman was also in the coach sitting next to a young boy. The clothes we wore looked like something out of a period play—all satin and lace and flouncy skirts. It gave me the impression of being late 1600’s or early 1700’s.

Deb’s hand moved, and now I was back in the store. The customer was looking at me oddly, and I tried to smile as I fought to remember what I had been saying to her. The customer finally left, and I absently rubbed at my aching neck.

Deb came up behind me and asked if I was all right, and placed a hand on my shoulder. Instantly, I was back inside the coach.

It was growing dark outside, and we were traveling through a large forested area. Several men on horseback were riding near the coach, and I “knew” somehow that they were also part of the troupe of players to which I and the others in the coach belonged. In fact, I also “knew” that we had just finished performing for some party at a nearby nobleman’s castle and he had given us this small coach for our use as part of his gratitude.

Shouts from the men outside directed my attention to the coach window and I saw flickering lights approaching rapidly. All of sudden the dusk was filled with the sound of gunshots, horses screaming, and men shouting.

The coach came to a halt and the doors were flung open. We were manhandled through the doors until we stood outside surrounded by an angry mob of men. Some of them were holding torches, others held staffs, while a few had swords or guns. Most of the men who had been riding with us were dead. I saw one being held by several members of the mob, but he looked stunned and was bleeding from a gash to the head, and there was a great amount of blood on his shirt.

Everyone was speaking French, but I realized that I understood them perfectly well. A man stepped forward, thrusting the torch at my face, and I took him to be the leader of the mob.

The world swirled around me, and I was back at the store, sitting on the floor behind the counter by our register. Deb was leaning over me, a worried frown on her face, and I began to have an inkling of why I needed to meet her.

The manager came over to see what was wrong, and she decided that I needed to go home. Not sure if I could manage to drive myself or not, Deb offered to take me.

The drive didn’t take long, my family and I didn’t live that far from the mall. But Deb drove slowly, and as we neared the house, she finally spoke. As we pierced that reticence that kept us apart, we found that we had quite a lot in common. The more we spoke, the more the headache lessened, and by the time she pulled into the driveway, we had the blossoming of a fairly strong friendship—or rather, the rekindling of an old friendship.

Over the next few weeks, Deb and I picked our way through the pitfalls of getting to know each other. Soon we were going on breaks together, and sometimes even having lunches together. At first, I was reluctant to make physical contact with her, so when she would hand me something, I would make sure to avoid coming in contact with her. If she noticed, she never said anything, but I wasn’t comfortable enough (yet) to explain why I was behaving that way.

Eventually, however, we both reached for a bag for our customers at the same time and our hands brushed. But this time there was no shifting of reality. I stayed in the store instead of slipping sideways into some other time and place.

I had thought the pain in my neck gone once Deb and I had rekindled our friendship from the past. However, as the days slipped by, I found the annoying and painful ache returning. At first it was just a small muscle ache, easily ignored. But as the days passed, the pain grew until it could no longer be ignored.

One day when I came in and the ache in my neck was particularly painful, Deb saw me rubbing at the back of my neck. It wasn’t the first time she had seen me do this, but this time I, guess, I was doing it much more often. Finally, Deb asked me if I’d ever tried chiropractic manipulation. I wasn’t even really sure what that was. The only thing I knew about chiropractic was that there was a chiropractic college near us.

She explained how it worked, and it sounded rather reasonable to me. And anyway, I had already tried almost every other type of standard treatment already, without any discernible result. I called the college and made an appointment. By going to the college to be worked on, the cost was within my budget; otherwise, I couldn’t afford it, and my parent’s insurance didn’t cover these types of “experimental” treatments.

As the time and date of the appointment neared, I was tempted several times to simply cancel it. I was getting mixed feelings about this appointment—part of me knew I needed to do this, and not just because of my aching neck; and another part of me was petrified of doing this. Yet when I examined the fear, it had very little to do with the procedures. There was something else about this whole experience that was bothering me.

When I got to the clinic, I filled out a ton of paperwork and signed all kinds of waivers, then sat and tried to wait patiently. Finally, I was led into a small room and told that the intern would be with me shortly.

Nervous, I sat on the odd-looking table, then stood, then sat, then paced, then sat again. When the door opened, I nearly jumped out of my skin in my nervousness. A blue-eyed young man stepped through the doorway, and smiled. All at once, I was back in France facing the angry man with the torch.

Again he thrust the torch into my face, and glared at me. In the background the voices of the mob called for us to be hanged immediately. While others had much more vulgar uses in mind for us.

The man turned and faced the mob and somehow quieted them. He then thrust the torch into the hands of the man next to him, and then pushed me around until my back was to him. He quickly, and tightly, tied my wrists, then shoved me forward. I felt myself trip and fall, and then the world went black.

The next thing I knew, it was morning and I was in a crowded cart surrounded by men with pikes. The cart was jouncing down a cobbled street, which was lined with people, all of them yelling and shouting. They gestured and screamed, all of them wanting to see blood – the blood of all of us who were confined to the cart.

The cart stopped and one of the guards began pulling us out of the cart and forcing us to line up. In front of us was a tall platform. On that platform was the dreaded guillotine. As the guard pushed me into line, I saw again the man who had led the mob. Next to him was the nobleman who had lent us the coach, and suddenly I knew.

We had been tricked and betrayed. The nobleman, now dressed as a regular peasant, had deliberately given us the coach, which contained his shield and coat of arms, so that we would be mistaken for him and his family.

I began shouting trying to make someone, anyone, hear me over the noise of the mob. But no one cared what I had to say. No one would believe that I was just an actress/performer/singer/dancer. They wanted blood and they intended to get it, even if the blood they got wasn’t that of a well-born.

As the rattle of the blade sliding down toward my neck filled my ears, I found myself back in the present. The intern was looking at me rather perplexed. Evidently, he had asked me a question, but instead of answering I had simply continued to stare at him.

I tried to smile, but I felt sick to my stomach. Here was the same nobleman who had tricked us. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t simply bolt through the door, especially since he was standing in front of it.

Instead, I forced myself to follow his instructions and rather stiffly, I laid stomach down on the strange table. I felt him pressing and kneading at my back and shoulders. Then he grabbed my chin and forehead and with a quick twist, I heard several loud clicks.

After a few more tweaks, he said we were done and he left the room. I sat there puzzled for a few moments then got up to leave. I couldn’t figure out why I had needed to come there. Was I supposed to have said something to him? Should I have confronted him with the fact that he had caused my death?

A nurse poked her head in to make sure I was all right, evidently I was taking too long to vacate the room. Pulling myself together, I left the clinic and headed home.

I continued to puzzle over the whole weird experience for several weeks, and during that time the pain in my neck began to creep back into my life, growing steadily, until I was as bad off as I had been originally.

This time when Deb insisted on my going to the chiropractor I refused. When she asked why, I finally told her the whole thing—not just the treatment, but the whole weird experience beginning with when I first met her. Her reaction was to stare at me as if I had grown two heads. To say she was dumbfounded, would be an understatement.

Finally, though she nodded her head and a grin lit up her face. She admitted that she had also felt like she knew me from somewhere, but not having really explored her feelings towards reincarnation and that type of thing, she had never even thought of that possibility. Still nodding, though, she said that everything made sense now. Now I looked at her as if she were nuts. What made sense about it?

She explained that evidently I was still holding a grudge against this guy and until I let it go, the headache was going to remain. Now it was my turn to be dumbfounded. It seemed so simple—could it really be that easy?

I made another appointment, making sure to specify that I wanted to see the same chiropractic intern as before. This time Deb drove me over there and waited with me. She wanted to meet this guy herself.

When the intern came to get me and lead me back to the room, Deb nodded and mouthed, “I know him…” I thought maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. After all, I had told her that whole long story before her encountering this guy.

Back in the little room, I studied the young man before me. At first I could feel myself getting angry. But then I pushed that back and really looked at him. This guy was not the same man—in essence, yes, but not really. He had changed, and as I studied his aura I realized that while he had grown past our encounter during the French Revolution, I had not.

Recognizing this, along with seeing just how much he had grown, brought to me the awareness to understand and let go. Yes, we had shared an experience, but it was over and we both needed to move on.

This time when he did his manipulations, my neck barely made a sound. In actuality, the pain had gone before he even treated me. Because the moment I fully accepted who and what he was now, along with who and what I was, the pain left.

Deb and I continued to be friends for many years, but over time we lost touch. But, who knows, maybe some day we’ll meet up again, and we can laugh about the crazy experience we had when we sales clerks dying in the French Revolution.

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