Imagine that someone is going through successive lives and that those lives (or individual events from those successive lives) come together to develop a person’s spirit. With this in mind, write three stories; each story should come from a different reincarnation of that person but that person must be a different entity in each story. The result should (at least somewhat) resemble the character development you normally find in a novel but without keeping that character in the same body. You could also use this challenge to show how your selected person or character became the way they are or to speculate about what they’ll be like in their future lives.
“Dude? Is that you?”
“Love being trees. GREAT incarnation the tree. I’m just going to stretch down into the nice cool earth with my roots and hang on.”
“Looks like it.”
“Oh wow. That’s awesome. Not long-lived, but blossoms and bees and fruit that I LOVE whenever I’m human.”
“What were you last time?”
“Hate that. So complicated. So fraught with crises of conscience, mistakes, love stories and all that. How did it go?”
“I learned one thing. Not to sign up for a Crusade. Sure, it sounds good when the priests come through your town telling you it will save your immortal soul, but, fact is, it’s just nasty.”
“Wait. Did you say ‘Crusade’?”
“I was there.”
“There were a lot of Crusades, Dude. Which one?”
“The one where all the people died in battle, you know the one? And their blood soaked into the desert sand?”
“They’re all like that. Did you kill me that time? Was that you? Were you the infidel with the sword who swooped down on me, knocked off my helmet and severed my head?”
“I hope not, but it’s possible.”
“Thank goodness we’re trees this time. You want to cross pollinate when the flowers come out?”
“That would be awesome, Lamont. I’m a golden delicious.”
“I’m a Rome Beauty, so that will work.”
After several years of leisurely discussions and bearing fruit, Lamont found himself leaning suddenly toward the west. Dude saw his friend fall, his branches softening the impact.
She loved the waving, shimmering reflections of streetlights on the wet streets once the rain had stopped. She wanted to see him so badly. How he got a job in a vegetarian restaurant was beyond her, but, no doubt, he’d known someone. Done someone? Even more likely. He was nothing if not a prowler.
“They don’t mean anything,” he’d told her. “You mean something, you mean everything. All I want to know is that when all this is blown to bits and there’s nothing left, and I’m old and you’re old that you’ll be here, that we’ll be old together, sitting on the floor, wrapped in each others arms.”
She knew there was no guarantee of that. She knew it was abysmally unlikely, but she nodded. “I’ll be here,” she said, knowing he would not be. He had death written all over him, a barcode on his being.
“Hey, you made it! You want some lasagna?”
“God I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too. Why do we do that? We KNOW better, after all these times we KNOW better.”
She sighed. She loved him. Adored him. Yearned for him.
“We just hit the same wall. I wish I were different.”
“You’re who you are,” she said. “It’s just a fact of life. You can’t change it; I can’t change it.”
“Did you read The Temple of the Golden Pavilion?” He seemed to change the subject.
“Yeah. Mishima is a very interesting writer. I’m not sure about that reincarnation thing, though. It seems that every time, in every story, the ‘soul’ in question falls out of grace with God.”
“That’s why he has to come back. When he’s able to stay in God’s grace, he will not have to come back. He doesn’t learn so he’s trapped. I’d better get back there and turn in your order. Can you hang around until I get off work?”
“When is that?”
“9:30-10:00. I have to break down the hot table and the salad bar.”
“I don’t know. It’s only 7 now. I can’t see what I’d do here for two hours.”
“You didn’t bring a book?”
She shook her head.
“OK, well, let me turn in your order. Maybe I can go on break.”
She watched him walk away from her, knowing, perfectly, that there would be a moment when that walk would be forever away from her. “We love soul-to-soul,” she thought, “sometimes our bodies have other ideas.” The lasagna was good, but he couldn’t take a break and sit with her while she had supper.
He came back with the check, “$0.00.” “If you tip me, I’ll die,” he said.
“Don’t worry.” She smiled. “What’s 15% of 0, anyway?”
“I love you so much,” he said sotto voce. It was then she knew that Gary, the owner of the restaurant was his lover. “Can we have dinner Sunday?”
“Sure,” she said. “Call me. I have to go. Thanks for the lasagna.”
Outside the rain had started up again, this time mixed with snow and blown by the wind so it was almost horizontal. No use for an umbrella. She looked quickly both ways, and stepped into the street.
“Guess we’re slow learners.” They both sighed.
“Maybe there is no ‘enlightenment’. Maybe we’re NOT here to learn some mystical and profound lesson. Maybe we’re just energy that’s not wasted.”
“That’s what I think, Dude.”