As early as the age of three, I would have nightly visions of two, distinct past lives. These remembrances were vastly different from the recurrent nightmare I would have of being chased by an unknown, dark force. The latter was a Freudian journey into my childhood fears. The former was a visceral retelling of other lifetimes.
In my first life, I am a child of about six. I live near a vast beach surrounded by a few palm trees and some low greenery but not much else. On my last day as this child I am sitting on a piece of cloth watching the smattering of adults around me, thin men and women crudely dressed, most of them standing but some kneeling and putting things in baskets. I am a few yards from the deep, undulating water foamy and blue, a mirror of the cerulean sky heavy with cumulus clouds.
As I sit on the soft sand, I see in the distance an imposing wave as wide as a wall and as high as a building. Some of the people on the beach stop and look, frozen and uncomprehending. My mother and I turn toward each other, but it is too late. The entire beach is instantly enveloped by the large, hungry aqueous monster. I feel the water take me under, dark and deep, silent and still.
In my second life, I work in a two-story, wood house with very narrow, windy stairs overlooking a bluff. From the top floor, I am able to see the rugged shoreline from a series of windows. I watch longingly as the large white sails of ships sit upon the sulky waves. A lonely lighthouse observes the scene with me furtively in the distance.
I wear a charcoal wool dress with a red underskirt. There are other women similarly dressed and a few men, one whose hand I hold leading him up the tight stairs. Though I am a small child when I repeatedly have this vision, I somehow understand each time that I and the other women must entertain the men.
What stays with me most though after each of these visions is the strong pull of the ocean, one literally and the other figuratively. To this day, the salty water whispers my name as if it too remembers, wondering when will I return again.