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The tiny baby cooed in my arms as I rocked her back and forth. "She's so tiny!" I exclaimed. Her mother looked up from her bed and smiled. "She may be tiny but Ophena is a strong child" Ophena's mother, Cameron, said proudly. I did not reply and instead sat back and continued to rock Ophena back and forth. She's so beautiful I thought as Ophena cuddled into me. Wisps of light golden hair haloed her face giving her a cherubic image in combination with her adorably full chubby cheeks. "Aren't you a pretty baby" I murmured quietly to her. She sighed a sweet little baby sigh in what seemed to me a response. Within a matter of seconds she fell into a deep sleep. I watched her for a few minutes longer, savoring her sweet breath on my arm. Gently I stood and carried her to Cameron laying her down with minimal disruption. Ophena stirred for a minute then cuddled into her mother. I kissed Cameron's forehead and then left closing the apartment door gently behind me.
Once I was out of the apartment I walked at a slow pace savoring the sights and sounds of the city. Cameron's husband had been out of town when Ophena was born and would not be returning from Guatemala until tomorrow. Cam had assured me that she would be fine on her own for one night, mentioning that I'd been with her ever since Ophena was born nearly three weeks ago. I knew that Cam was feeling much better now, perfectly capable of taking care of Ophena on her own. I was reluctant to admit it but in truth my desire to stay with Cam and Ophena was less out of concern and more out of a burning desire to be near Ophena. In all my many years I had never had a child. Though I wore the body of a young woman of 19 it was but a guise for the ancient soul contained within.
Many spiritual leaders and more then a couple scientists had theorized about reincarnation, but they had never been able to find a true, living, example. I was the living proof that through the ages so many people had been desperate to find. I'd known who I was from the moment of my birth. The memory's hadn't come gradually, they'd always been there- as natural and simple to me as breathing. 27 sets memories, lives, and deaths. It was like having hundreds of sisters. Twin sisters. Each mind I contained was identical to my own. The memories often blurred together until I could not remember which belonged to me and which belonged to the countless others before me. The memories were not too bad. There were amazing things that my past lives had seen. One life whom had once been known as Queen Elizabeth had been lived in the palaces of England as there beloved regent for many years. Hers were some of my favorite memories to peruse. The deaths were the worst to remember. Two lives before this one another me called Carissa was strangled to death in a dark alley. Her murderer was never found. It had taken a long time for my immediate predecessor to deal with. The memory of that night still haunted me sometimes. Throughout the centuries my spirit had survived there had never been any children. Countless fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles but never in the 27 lives encompassing over 950 years had I lived was there a single child.
I suspected that the reason I was still here was because of this. There had never been any husbands either. Throughout the ages of women being married of as little more than beloved slaves there had been many attempted marriages, but all had been stopped for various reasons. There had never been another soul that could understand what I am. I didn't fully understand it either. I had never been able to find another like myself. Was I truly the only one allowed to come back? There were so many others with unfinished business in this world. People who had never gotten to live at all, children who had been aborted before their first breath was even made. It seemed so unfair, so unjust that I could return again and again when I had lived for so long already. Not when there were others who needed this cursed gift so much more than I. I hoped as those before me had hoped that this would be the last life left for me to live. That no more deaths after this would come. That I would finally fall into the golden halo of light that has eluded me for so long. I'd been searching for so long to find the cure. I was so very, very tired of the cycle of life. Living had never been unpleasant to me, and if there was a way for me to attain mortality differently I would probably take it.
My thoughts were interrupted when I reached the bottom of the staircase I'd been descending. I blinked in surprise as I realized that I'd descended 15 floors and couldn't remember a single step of it. Pushing my dark red hair out of my face I stepped out into the busy streets of New York City. Everybody was always pushing their way through, in a hurry to get somewhere, meet someone, or just not be where they were. Many a philosopher has attempted to warn us that we rush through life. My repeated existence has only shone to me the truth in their words. One of the joys of existing so long was getting to take your time. Although I had graduated from High School with the highest honors available and was currently attending Princeton there was no true drive for me to do so. I was going to Princeton because I hadn't been before, for that reason and no other. My parents were of course, quite proud, but their expectations meant very little to me. In truth I had very little purpose in life other than finding another like me.
As I walked through the streets past the bright lights of the city I hugged my coat tighter around me, trying to keep warm in the frigid air. As I hurried on I bumped into a young man wearing gray coat. An electric shock went through me as our wrists bumped. Startled I looked up at him. He looked to be around my age had dirty blond hair that framed a pale face. He was quite handsome but what truly grabbed me were his eyes. They were sapphire blue and ancient, exactly like mine. I knew then that I had found another of my kind.
"Who are you?" the man asked in a tongue that had not spoken in nearly 900 years.
"Krishta" I answered, giving him my first name, the name I'd had before eternity made it's claim to my soul.
"I am Terrsun" he told me. I knew that he too had given me his first name.
In that moment I knew that he was the reason I kept coming back, and that I was the reason he had kept returning.
"Would you like to go get some coffee?" Terrsun asked hesitantly his eyes boring into mine.
I smiled, put my hand in his and nodded. Together we walked hand in hand down the crowded street, and in our minds it was only us.
~Now and Forever~