Repeated Lives (Excerpt)
She had everything a girl could possibly want: A telephone, a secret diary, posters of her favorite movie stars and pop groups, a secret closet and her guitar which she sometimes played. She stared at her telephone and sighed. Why hadn’t anyone called yet? It was Saturday, and although it was raining heavily, at least she could walk over to a friend’s place or have them come over- storm or no storm.
Just then the telephone rang.
“Hello?” she said, picking up the phone, and wondered if it was one of her best friends Shania or Carla.
“Talia? It’s me.” A boy said. Michael! Talia groaned. Talia had been going out with Michael for two months and she was already tired of him. He was cute and sensitive but he was just too much to put up with.
“Oh hi!” she said, and hoped she sounded enthusiastic.
“I was just wondering if you’d like to go…someplace.” Michael said.
Talia sighed. She was bored and since none of her friends had called, she’d better make most of her Saturday with Michael.
“Umm… okay! What time?”
Michael hesitated. “Uh… can you make it seven?”
“Okay. But where should we go?” Again Michael hesitated, and Talia started to get irritated. What’s his problem? Why does he take so long to answer all the time?
“It’s a surprise. Just trust me okay?” he said. Talia made a face. Why should she bother to trust him when she was going to dump him any day soon?
“Okay, bye!” she said and slammed the phone. She walked over to her closet and pulled out a pair of faded jeans and a light brown shirt. Why bother to dress up for him, she thought. She removed a denim jacket to wear on top of her shirt. It was still raining and was getting colder by the minute. I wonder where he’s taking me?
“Ah!” the gypsy woman said suddenly. Michael leaned forward expectedly. Talia crossed her arms and prepared herself to disbelieve everything the gypsy said.
“You both are meant to be!” the gypsy said. “ You both have been reincarnated.” Michael’s eyes grew wide and nodded his head, his dark shoulder length hair bobbing.
“Oh?” Talia said. “Really? What happened in our previous life that we had to come back to this planet again?” she asked sarcastically. Michael frowned at Talia but the gypsy seemed unperturbed. She stared at the crystal ball intently.
“You two were separated by tragic death.” She said morosely. “You two have been reincarnated to be together again. You both are meant to be!”
If she says that again, I’ll puke, Talia thought. But she suddenly started to get nervous because Michael actually believed what the gypsy was saying, which could be a problem, because after tonight Talia never wanted to see Michael again. She was going to break up with him tonight, but she didn’t want it to be messy. She would tell him that enough was enough, she couldn’t take this prophecy nonsense anymore, and that they should see other people. And then they would go their separate ways. Perhaps that’s why she had agreed to go with Michael, so that he wouldn’t feel that bad. But she had never expected this. Her whole plan was ruined.
Michael put his arm around her and smiled. Talia smiled back and hoped Michael wouldn’t make a big deal about this. But deep inside she knew that Michael was over-sensitive, he was over superstitious, and to top it all, reacted badly in every situation. The last was one of the biggest reasons why she was breaking up with him in the first place. She could remember a party she had been to. It had been her best friend Shania’s birthday and just for fun she was paired with another guy for the treasure hunt. Michael had been a spoilsport and had waited in the corner until the game finished, not talking to anyone, only staring at her. She had been so uncomfortable and had a huge fight with him after the party. To her surprise, Michael had cried and said that he couldn’t see her with anyone else.
From that day onwards Talia had decided to dump him. She was only sixteen for goodness sakes. It wasn’t like she was married to him or something. And then she realized that perhaps Michael was thinking along those lines. He was just that weird. Oh great!
Michael hastily paid off the gypsy and took Talia’s arm. As they were leaving, Talia turned around to see the gypsy smirking at her.
“We have to talk.” Talia said. They had parked their car near the ravine and Talia had gotten out for some fresh air. It was now or never. Talia had expected these words would trouble Michael and that he would get the gist of what she was going to talk about. But Michael only smiled widely at her and put his hands in his pockets.
Talia took a deep breath. “Michael, I don’t think…”
“Wait, let me.” Michael said, and took out a little box from his pocket. He went down on his knees. “Talia, will you marry me?” he asked opening the box. Talia stared at the ring. It had a small diamond on it and Talia wondered if it was indeed a diamond. Michael worked part time in a small hardware store, and considering his salary it was probably a zircon- maybe something even cheaper! Talia stared at Michael.
“Are you nuts? I’m barely seventeen! I want to go to college, have a career…”
“You can still do all that.” Michael said. He was still smiling, and Talia realized she would have to go to extremities to make Michael understand. Was he really that dense?
Talia took a deep breath. “Michael, I think we should see other people.”
“What do you mean?” Michael asked innocently. He was still kneeling and the whole situation was getting ridiculous. Talia started to get angry.
“I mean lets break up! I can’t take this anymore. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. You embarrass me, you believe in all that gypsy nonsense, you think I’m a piece of your property and what you don’t get is that… I… CAN’T… TAKE IT…. ANYMORE!” Michael stared at Talia as if she had just struck him and Talia started to feel sorry. She had wanted to end the speech with ‘I hope we can still be friends’ but apparently that wasn’t going to happen now. Michael slowly got up and mumbled something. At first Talia didn’t get it. “What?” she said.
“We were meant to be!” he whined.
Talia stared incredibly at him. Was he serious?
“I don’t care what the gypsy said, I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore, okay? You’re really getting on my nerves.”
“You can’t do this to me!” he yelled. But Talia noticed that his voice had wavered. What if he starts crying? How was she going to handle that?
“Michael its over, okay? I hope we can be friends though.”
“Friends?” Michael asked. “You’re kidding right? I can never think of you as a friend.” Suddenly he grabbed her arm. “Talia…please, I really love you. If you want I’ll change. I CAN change.”
“Michael I’m sorry, but it’s really over. Now let go of my arm, okay.” Michael let go of her arm and stared at the ground.
“Want me to drop you off?” he asked quietly. Talia considered and shook her head. “No I’ll catch a cab or something. You okay?” Michael nodded his head but he kept his eyes down.
Talia started to walk and glanced back several times to see Michael still standing that way. Is he in shock or denial? As soon as the cab arrived she turned around to look at Michael and suddenly shivered.
Michael was still standing the very same way she had left him, except that he was now clenching his fists tight.