If there is an emotion you can feel, there's a rope you can tie to it. If there's a person you can see, there's a way you can tie the two of you together. We've all been connected once, simply because we exist together. And if we venture into the unknown terrains of side-glances, we dig into the sudden chills we get out of seemingly nowhere, or look for clues in the familiar face of a stranger, we might find the type of connections we're not even aware of.
Those that were. Those that will be. Those that we won't discover in this life time.
Because we don't know if this is our only chance, so we can only wonder. Maybe we've had millions of lives, maybe we don't even have this one. Maybe we've been humans before and maybe we haven't. Maybe we shouldn't question it, and maybe we should.
So I will.
I will question the time that I locked eyes with a stranger in Paris, and we only exchanged but a nod. And yet, I saw myself in a life in which we were political rebels, hidden within the masses, but waiting for the chance to take over a corrupt government. I saw us fighting side by side, faces hidden by handkerchiefs shining in colors of freedom, our fists raised to symbolise the birth of hope, the death of the old king, the chance for a new beginning. There, then, we were allies, brothers, sisters, strangers.
I'm certain I've been married before, many centuries ago. Married to a friend I barely know now. I was a farmer, or a blacksmith perhaps, and by that time the concept of celebrating a wedding because of love was still ages away from being considered anything more than foolish. Our fathers arranged it all, and she probably hated me at first. I wasn't a particularly handsome fellow, and we barely spoke, but over the fifty years of marriage, we worked into loving each other in some way. I feel it when she fixes the buttons of my shirt, and it feels like routine. When she holds my hand without noticing, and I let her. And when we sit down together, not exactly in a comfortable fashion, but tolerating each other.
Another person that used to despise me was my political rival, or my neighboring king. I should clarify, that the situation hasn't really changed in this life. After all, we still waste our precious sleep in lieu of arguing and jabbing at each other's intellect. We've been plucking our feathers, drawing our swords, sharpening up our tongues for as long as we've had bodies. We once were fighting cocks, desperate and hungry. She killed me then, before dying months after. In another, we were both competing for the spot of Prima Ballerina in the Royal Opera House. I poisoned her, arsenic in her dinner plate. And lived haunted by the memory of her fouetté. So now, whenever our arguments escalate, my skin blooms with goosebumps, and my words tremble. Maybe I've grown weaker, or wiser, in this life. Maybe I'm just tired.
And how could I forget about her? In a world in which time is pointless, and everything is watered down to stories, I'm certain that this the first time I've met her. There's no other explanation, and it feels as absurd as it sounds. The first time I gazed at her, she looked like the entrance to a maze. It opened its gates, whispering at me to come in, to solve the puzzle and find its edges. Brand new freckles to stare at, laughter that surprised me. It caught a part of me off-guard. The other, the one of this life, didn't find it particularly interesting.
It wasn't until our first conversation, an endless blank canvas, sky full of stars waiting to be turned into constellations, that I realized I'd been given a chance to know a new Universe. Or even bigger, a new soul. I have no idea whether this is the only life I get to meet her, or maybe this marks the beginning of having the rest of our lives intertwined. Either way, I'm planning to get to know the maze as best as I can with the little time I've got.
I will never solve it, no matter how many years I try. But I can explore around the passageways, pick up roses, prickle myself with the thorns. I can sit down and chat with the lines of her smile, hear their stories. Dig up the secrets hiding inside her hands. Even go as far as discovering the people she was (were?) in her past lives, that is if she's discovered them herself.
And it all sometimes feels like making up stories based on foolish hopes. And maybe it is. Maybe that's just what everything we believe in is. Maybe I'm just scratching the surface of what Buddhist monks have been building for centuries, and thinking myself a pioneer. Maybe it's something completely different.
And I guess I'll never know. Not for sure, anyways. I can only hope, I can only wonder, and I can only question.