Ch. 16 – Bonds

I’ve just posted Ch. 16: Bonds from my novel, A Quiet Moment. Sending out thoughts of peace and comfort to everyone in this difficult and most eventful time.

Bonds:

Chapter 16

She had a wonderfully comfortable kitchen filled with light and house plants. Shiny pots hung suspended over the stove on hooks. Her grandmother liked to cook, and Aimee liked being in her kitchen when she was doing so. It was soothing, comforting. But today, she wasn’t cooking. She had picked her up early that Saturday morning, and she assumed that she would be seeing Dominick Trevor that day. But her grandmother had told her no that she would spend the day with her. They had just had lunch and Marie Roussel had fixed two cups of rather strong chamomile tea. It wasn’t Aimee’s favorite, but she drank it. Her grandmother had something on her mind, had a reason for bringing her here. Aimee could feel it. And her grandmother was nervous about it, so she was nervous also.

She sat across from her at the round breakfast table in her kitchen. Marie Roussel slowly stirred her tea and Aimee waited on tenterhooks, saying nothing. The older lady glanced up at her smiling, but her dark blue eyes were calculating. “I wanted to talk to you my dear about some especially important and I must say delicate issues. Dominick thought you might feel more comfortable, if I was the one doing speaking to you, about this particular subject.”

“Okay,” she said quietly and took a sip of extremely hot tea.

Another pause, and her grandmother strummed her hand on the table. “I know you’re only fifteen, but I know with things being the way they are that you—”

Aimee straightened up in her chair, “Is this about sex Grandmother?” The blue eyes shot up to her face. “Because I know about sex, Mom gave me a book all about it.”

She frowned, “A book, how personal. Well my dear, I never doubted for a moment that you know about the, should we say, mechanics of sex, but there are other aspects.”

She nodded, really feeling uncomfortable discussing it with her grandmother. Her discussions with her mother had been pretty much periphery. “I know. She told me I should wait until I was married. Is that what you’re worried about?”

She sighed deeply, “All right Aimee, if I’m ever going to get to the point, you’re going to have to stop talking.”

Her eyes widened, but she did close her mouth. This certainly wasn’t like her grandmother to be so abrupt with her. Unless of course, it was important. “Okay,” she murmured, feeling a bit chaffed.

“Well, let’s start with this business of not having sex outside of marriage. I’m sure, even at your young age, you’re aware that this is not always the case.”

She waited, not being sure if she should speak or not, “Yes.”

“Right, but for religious, moral, economic reasons, it is discouraged.”

“Ah hum.”

“Well, my dear, there is a wholly different component to this that is rather masked by all this outward draping.”

She just listened quietly because she had no idea where this was going. “As you know, we all have a spirit which was created by God, and as Dominick had told you this spirit has passed through many lifetimes.”

She nodded in affirmation.

“Well, although many in the world would have you believe that your body that encases your spirit is only that, a body, it is not. It is the house of the spirit, and so what you do with does affects and touches your spirit,” and then she cleared her throat. “And some things, more than others.”

“You mean sex.”

She nodded, “Yes dear, making love is something that profoundly affects the spirit, actually creates strong energy bonds between the participants. And so, should be taken very seriously. As you can imagine, it can either leave a powerful imprint on someone, or it can leave you very vulnerable. It shouldn’t be treated lightly in any scenario.”

She frowned, “What do you mean by vulnerable?”

She shrugged, “I spoke to you of energy bonds that are created. It wouldn’t due to have these sorts of bonds with someone who wasn’t right for you. In a sense, it would give them sway or power over you. You have to be incredibly careful about whom you entrust with such a gift.”

She felt jittery, jittery, unsettled, bothered, all the adjectives. Some things were clear, one being that it was a mistake to be around Jacob right now. His presence around her was continuing to perpetuate this odd hazy, thick atmosphere that they had begun last night, which they had yet to surface from. The kind where clear thinking was not a component, where they were just floating along in a romantic sort of gooey, alternate reality. He was working on sketches at his kitchen table across the room, and once and awhile he would walk over to where she was on the couch, editing a stack of papers from a legal volume. Then, he would softly kiss her on the neck or touch her shoulder or something of the like, putting her back into that tingly, complacent place. And, it was all making her extremely nervous.

She was quite sure there was a happily ever after tripping along soon, but this was all making her a bit crazy. Yes, she could easily be drawn into some perpetuation of domesticity here. All felt well and calm, but then she recognized it. It was different here from the last time. The air was different, clearer. All those emotions, the pain, it was as though it had been largely swept away somehow.

She glanced around the room. Evidently, he’d left for the moment. She hadn’t noticed. She frowned. This was no good. She was losing her edge. She closed her eyes and cleared her mind. Calmly, she traveled throughout the house, room by room. And everywhere she looked was clear. They were gone, the drainers. And then, she went down into the studio. They couldn’t possibly be there. There was too much energy, but she would check. With a deliberate purpose, she pushed past any barriers to inside. From the hall off the stairway, she entered. She saw Jacob there at a table near a far wall, sifting through sketches. She allowed her vision to travel everywhere in the room, scan every nook, but they were absent, nowhere. And then slowly, Jacob turned around and looked toward where she was focused. He sensed her there. She felt it, clearly. Staring for a moment, he whispered, “Aimee?”

Her eyes snapped open, her heart beating powerfully. He recognized her. His perception had grown. She heard the sound of him ascending the steps, and strangely her first instinct was to flee, flee wildly. Overwhelming, all of this was overwhelming. She stood up, as he entered the room. With a puzzled expression, he stopped a few feet from her, when she had begun to step backward. “What were you doing?” he asked simply.

“I,” she felt nervous suddenly in his presence. What was the word her grandmother had used, vulnerable? “I was looking for them.”

Again, he stepped forward to her and again she stepped back instinctively. Now he looked more disturbed than puzzled. “Them?” he repeated her words.

“The drainers, I was trying to find them.”

“Oh,” and then he stated flatly, “they’re gone.”

Her eyes widened, “Gone, how—how do you know that?”

He was still looking a bit confused at their odd conversation. “I got rid of them.”

“How?” was all that she managed. She felt afraid now, inexplicably.

“I got rid of the blasted things. Killed them I guess if that’s possible.”

She nodded a bit shakily, “It’s possible. I just didn’t know. You didn’t tell me.”

He smiled fleetingly. Her leg was backed up against the couch. There was no place left to move. “A lot has happened. I guess it got lost in the mix.”

She glanced away, “Yeah, a lot has happened.” And then, he was in front of her, his hands softly gripping her arms.

“You look very bothered. Are you all right?”

She shook her head, “I don’t know. Maybe, I shouldn’t be here right now. You’re progressing so much. It’s amazingly fast Jacob.”

His hand was softly caressing her cheek, trying to lull her back into that romantic haze, where things didn’t matter so much. “I can just tell when you’re around. You’re distinctive to me.”

“I feel very off balance. I think I need some time to,” she sighed, “I don’t know.”

An eyebrow went up, “Get some balance?”

“Maybe.”

He nodded, “Okay, but let me buy you lunch first. I promised you pizza. Then, I’ll bring you home.”

She nodded, “All right.” And then he kissed her softly, and she felt the concreteness of the pull that he now had over her.

His mind was beginning to clear now, or at least achieve some sort of tranquility. Something that he found was central to his existence. Last night and even well into this morning, had felt like a bit of an odd dream, unreal in many respects. But now, impressions were settling down, being put into perspective. Evidence of spring would begin soon around his home. He enjoyed the colors of spring here. In his mind, he could see a park near his house that he had walked in last year. There was a tree there that after the winter would come back to life in early April. Its leaves were a color that he could only describe as reddish purple, reddish purple against the dark green mountains. He’d meant to paint it but hadn’t. Just now, that detail bothered him. He’d always thought memories should be captured and frozen, so they wouldn’t be forgotten.

He drew his mind back to focus on the woman in front of him. They had taken a step closer toward each other or had they fallen into it? There was so much intensity between them now that it was nearly overwhelming. He could feel her nervousness on his skin. Things had changed, were changing, and how Aimee was fighting that change.

“How’s the pizza?” She glanced over to him, preoccupied definitely summed it up.

There was a brief smile that wasn’t sustained, “It’s good. I’m just not very hungry.”

He nodded, “I like this place, don’t really know why. I just find it calming.”

“It has a nice feel.” She remarked absently, swirling the straw around in her iced tea. Decidedly, Crozet wasn’t a town that had much to offer in terms of culinary establishments, but this was one place he did enjoy. It was rustic, at least the building itself, the chairs and tables made of all different shades of natural woods. They were at a corner table near the picture window overlooking what could loosely be called a main street. At least, it was the busiest street in the town. He couldn’t say that he really enjoyed small town life. He wasn’t really part of it. He came here infrequently, never while he was married. What he needed, he usually reserved for trips into Charlottesville, or even Richmond.

“How did you find this place?” she asked quietly.

Her eyes seemed luminous to him in the afternoon sunlight reflecting through the window. Of course, everything about her seemed luminous to him right now. He felt sure that he was fairly intoxicated with her—a ridiculously giddy feeling for a man of his age. “Stumbled on it, really, I was hungry one day and stopped on a whim. Total accident.”

“Kind of like us.”

“No, that I’d rather think of that as something along the lines of destiny.”

There was a brief surprised smile. Then, she looked away, “Why did you move here? I mean originally. You don’t seem to have any ties to this area.”

It was an understandable question. He just wasn’t sure, if he had an understandable answer. Feelings, emotions, unseen pulls guided him or had in the past before Talia before all of that became buried. “I don’t know — the mountains, the scenery. It seemed like a good move for an artist who wanted to sell his stuff. People are always buying pretty landscapes.” It wasn’t the most truthful answer, but as close to the truth as he seemed able to get at the moment.

“I suppose that’s true.” She picked up the slice of pizza in front of her and took a bite. “It is good.”

“Yes, that is one of my strengths. I do know good pizza when I find it.”

She smiled, “Well, you should be able to parlay that talent into something.”

Spontaneously, he reached out and touched her hand. Her eyes darted up to meet his. There was fear there, slight, but he could see it. “What is it?”

Her eyes widened, “What do you mean?”

He could so acutely feel it on her, confusion, turmoil. “What’s upsetting you so much? Was it last night?”

She glanced down, but he squeezed her hand intent now on clearing the air. “I’m not really sure. It might be.”

“I know it wasn’t something we planned, but was it so unexpected?”

Her eyes were guarded and serious. “You don’t look at this step we took in the same way I do.” She glanced around, as though making sure no one was earshot of this suddenly serious conversation that they were having.

He leaned back in his chair, trying to sort out what they were talking about. “I know you waited a long time. Were you hoping to be married first? Is that it?”

“Not necessarily,” she paused, as though she wanted to say something but didn’t quite know how to.

“Then, you were waiting for a very serious relationship. Do you think I’m taking this at all in a superficial way?” He asked with real concern.

“No, I don’t feel that. But there are ramifications, not just emotional ones. I know this is not the perspective of popular culture, but from my viewpoint, how I’ve been taught, what we’ve done can have serious consequences.”

He stared at her, trying to puzzle through what she was saying. “I have a feeling you’re not just talking about pregnancy.”

She glanced up at him abruptly, “No, that’s not what I’m talking about or anything physical.”

“Then, I’m afraid you’re going to have to be a bit more specific.”

She sighed, “This notion of recreational, casual sex, it’s a myth.” Again, she glanced around calmly, but the room was virtually empty.

He said quite gravely, “It’s all right, we’re alone.”

“The reason I’ve never rushed into this sort of involvement before, is that I knew it would be quite serious from a spiritual standpoint. The only way to describe it is that powerful bonds are created aside from the emotional ones, profound, spiritual bonds.”

He tried to absorb what she was saying, “Is that a bad thing?”

“Well, I suppose it depends on who the bonds are created with.” She looked at him quite seriously. “I’m not saying that there is anything negative between us Jacob, just that now things are more complicated.”

“I’m not following.”

She sighed deeply, looking away, “Quite honestly, before last night, I was planning on leaving.” And then, she brought her eyes back to his coolly, “I still am.”

A chill seemed to fall over him. “Leaving, leaving Charlottesville, you mean?”

She nodded, “I never planned to stay here indefinitely. In fact, I only planned to stay here until the spring. That will be five years.”

“Five years, what does that mean?”

Her voice was low and measured, making him a bit crazy, “It was an agreement I made to leave my home and come here for five years.” She sounded so controlled, but clearly, he could see tears glistening in her eyes. “It’s been very difficult for me here, but I did it because I was asked to and—” then she stopped and looked down at their hands. He’d scarcely noticed, but his were still on top of hers but now gripping them, perhaps too tightly.

He removed his hands and looked back at her, “And?” was all he said.

“And I didn’t expect—” her voice sounded like a painful whisper in his ears. “I didn’t expect you, Jacob, and all of this. I just thought come spring I’d pack up again and leave.”

He nodded, “With no complications.”

She pursed her lips a bit, “You’re angry. I’m not trying to hurt you, just trying to tell you the truth.”

“I’m not angry.” He looked away, feeling like he now wanted to throw these lovely little natural wood tables in the restaurant against the walls. “Well, maybe, I am angry. I don’t know.” And then he looked at her with a deadly calm, “You can’t really believe I’m going to let you pack it in and walk out of my life now.”

Her green eyes all of the sudden took on a wariness. Had that sounded like a threat? He certainly didn’t mean it to. “Jacob don’t think that I don’t care about you, of course I—” She couldn’t let go. She had forged such control around herself all her life that she would not just let it go.

“Well, I’ll do you one better Aimee. I’m in love with you.”

Her eyes widened, and mouth opened a bit with a stunned look. And then, she stammered, “Jacob, I—you don’t understand, I can’t stay here. I don’t just want to. I need to go home.”

And then, she did something completely unexpected. Her hands flew up to her forehead and over her eyes. He felt something tangible go into her, like an electrical shock. “What, what is it?”

Her eyes were sort of clenched closed. He tried to clear his mind and pick up on what she was seeing, but it was barred from him somehow. Evidently, this was not for him. “Aimee,” again he asked, “Are you all right?”

Slowly, her eyes opened. They looked reddish from upset. “What is it?”

“Someone needs help.”

He reached up and put the palm of his hand gently on her cheek. “All right then, where do we need to go?”

The vision that came was rather broken, more like flashes than anything coherent. But the emotions were strong and definite, waves of it pain, depression, thoughts of unbearable despair. She breathed deeply trying to clear her mind and locate the source. They were in his car, Jacob beside her waiting quietly. As soon as she mentioned the vision, all talk of their situation dropped. Moments before, he had been aggressively confronting her, and now he was content to be calmly supporting whatever she felt was necessary to do.

“It’s a food place of some kind.”

“What, a grocery?”

“No,” she continued to breathe deeply, allowing her complete focus to be drawn into the task at hand. “No, I see tables, but also a store like a gas station. But there are people, um people eating.”

“Eating what?”

“Ice cream,” she said quietly.

There was a pause, and then he turned on the ignition. “Must be the Freezy Time.”

She opened her eyes and turned to him, “How do you know which place?”

He smirked, “You forget where we are. There is only one of everything here if that.”

As he sped down the road, she leaned back and closed her eyes, allowing herself to receive more impressions. She could be easily drawn into another’s problems. That was and had always been much simpler than dealing with her own.

Jacob and Aimee sat down at one of the few booths in the Freezy Time/convenience store combination. It wasn’t a place he frequented often, but he was known to have darkened its doorstep. He definitely had a sweet tooth.

Aimee was across from him, eyes cast downward. Evidently, she was trying to pick up vibrations. Hesitant about disturbing her, he gently nudged her arm, and she glanced up at him. Her gaze was clouded over, as though indeed she’d been somewhere else. “Anything?”

“He’s not here yet,” she murmured.

“I thought you saw him here.”

“Sometimes my timing is off. Not everything I see is happening right at this moment.”

He nodded, “That’s interesting. Um, what do you want?”

Her brow furrowed a bit, “Want?”

“To eat? We just can’t sit here and visit. We have to order something.”

“Oh, I don’t know. What are you getting?”

“I think a strawberry sundae or maybe chocolate. I haven’t decided.”

She smiled for an instant, “Decisions are tough.”

“You have no idea. So, what do you want?”

“I don’t know maybe some iced tea.”

He frowned, “You’re kidding right. We’re in an ice cream parlor, and you want iced tea.”

“I’d hardly call this an ice cream parlor and don’t forget why we’re here.”

With a gentle smile, he reiterated, “Again, I ask the lady what she would like.”

She looked mildly amused and mildly irritated with him, “All right, get me some vanilla.”

“Now there’s a risky choice.”

“I like vanilla, but I’m beginning not to like you.”

“Fine, cone or cup?”

“Cup, now go away.”

He scooted out of the booth and approached the young teenage girl with the somewhat vacant expression at the counter. Just as he began to order, he noticed an old man opening the glass entrance door across the establishment. Ordinarily, it was someone that he wouldn’t have paid much attention to, but a shiver of awareness passed over his skin at his appearance. His eyes glanced over to Aimee. She also was staring straight at the new visitor.

“I’ll be going back to Europe soon, for a few months my dear.”

She nodded, feeling oddly out of sorts today for some reason. “Is it business?”

“No, not really, I suppose I feel it’s just time. When you get to be my age, you get a sense of these things.”

They had taken a walk that took them several blocks down from his house and onto the grounds of St. George’s, one of the larger Episcopal churches in the area. They sort of meandered around the grounds of the great structure for a while, and then stopped a minute to sit on a stone bench beneath an enormous sprawling oak. “I don’t know why, but I have a feeling there’s more going on. I feel unsettled,” she told Dominick with genuine concern.

“I know. I feel it too. But it’s not necessarily something to be afraid of. A change is coming, that’s all, a change. I think that’s one reason I feel the need to go back, to see my home again.”

She smiled at him but continued to feel a heaviness in her heart. “How am I going to find my way without you? I’ll be lost.”

He waved his hand and then nudged her softly in his grandiose manner, “Nonsense, your grandmother and I have given you a lot of tools to work with, but the best one is your own feelings, your own instincts. That will guide you well.”

The rest of their time that day was calm and uneventful. And then Dominick embraced her, kissing her softly goodbye on her cheek. The next time that she saw him was on that late-night visit in her house, never again in the flesh. They had both foreseen a change that was coming. But, the momentousness of what that change would be, neither of them had been privy to.

Her eyes fixed on the elderly man that entered the store. His shoulders were slightly bent from age and his dress casual, a denim shirt and jeans. She had the sense that he was a local, a farmer, from the outskirts of the town.

And then she let her eyes drop down, so that she could see in another way. Momentarily, the vision became clear. In her mind, she still saw him, but the aura that surrounded him was thick, a dark, smoky gray like an impenetrable fog. There was a woman walking beside him, his wife she felt, but he could not sense her, so encompassing was the veil of despair. Strongly, she felt his upset. His wife had crossed over only this past year, and today was the anniversary of her passing.

She sank backwards, allowing herself to further absorb the emotions. There were children, grown children.  They sought to help, but the old man shunned them repeatedly. His pain, his grief, was now what he lived for, an easier path than finding life again. He cultivated the grayness that was surrounding him, filling him. This barred his wife’s spirit from giving him comfort.

Her head began to throb. It was clear what she needed to do. She must part the fog that he’d created. He must feel hope, his wife’s presence, before he made a choice that would separate them for much longer.

Dominick had told her how difficult it was for suicides to find their way out of their own confusion. Sometimes it took many lifetimes after their terrestrial life ended to find their way to the other side. If this poor lost soul chose this path, it could be so much worse for him than what he was experiencing now.

She cleared her mind and focused on sending the directed energy his way. He was standing near the magazine stand, vaguely looking for something. As the energy was sent, Aimee felt a ripple in the dark aura. For an instant, there seemed clarity, but it wasn’t enough, the veil fell again. She concentrated once more, struggling, and then she felt a hand on her arm. Her eyes flickered open. Jacob was sitting across from her, his eyes calm. All he said was “Try again.”

She breathed deeply and then focused on the man once more. Suddenly, for a moment, she felt a massive rush of energy flowing into her. Somewhat shocked, she still managed to funnel it toward him. When it hit its target, spontaneously, a great jagged rip appeared in the darkness around the old man. It pulled it apart with a massive yank. The man’s eyes opened widely in surprise. For an instant, only a split second, he could see the woman who was beside him for so many years and who he now knew had never left him. Her thoughts, her love, rushed into his mind and Aimee felt his heart lift.

Then she quickly retreated back into herself. Her entire body felt as though it was shaking. She could still feel Jacob, his powerful spirit, the energy that they’d sent together. She opened her eyes, and he was sitting there across from her, looking equally rattled. She glanced down in front of her. There was ice cream sitting on the table.

He spoke a bit forcefully, “Let’s take this to go.”

He drove and headed back to the mountains. Beside him, Aimee was sort of slumped down a bit in the seat, melting cup of ice cream clutched in her hand. “Why don’t you eat some of that? It might help.” His head was throbbing painfully. Quietly, she had begun to eat a bit. “I’m taking you back to my house. I think you need to rest.” She looked at him briefly but didn’t answer. There was a distant look in her eyes that disturbed him. “So, what happened? I feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train.”

There was silence and then quietly, she said, “We overshot.”

He frowned, “What do you mean?”

“I was just aiming to lighten things up for him a bit. But once you added your energy, much more was done.”

“His wife?”

“You saw her?” she murmured.

“I don’t know, maybe. It seemed to mean a lot that he did.”

She nodded, “Yes, I think we helped him quite a bit, but we’ve drained ourselves.”

He sighed deeply, “Sorry, I should’ve stayed out of it.”

She shook her head slowly, “No, I was failing. You helped him quite a bit.”

“Don’t you mean we helped him?” She looked at him strangely, then turned quietly away to stare out the window.

There were voices everywhere, reverberating through the hallways of the house — loud, angry, intent on destruction. She backed away into a corner of the room. But they were coming closer, shouting, and then she felt his hand on her arm. “It’s all right. It’s not happening now.”

She opened her eyes and looked over at Jacob.

“We’re here.” She felt disoriented. She rubbed her eyes. For a moment, she’d been elsewhere. He turned off the car, still looking at her with a concerned expression. “Are you all right? You seemed like you were dreaming something,” then he frowned, “something unpleasant.”

She nodded, still feeling the fatigue dragging on her heavily, “Yes, but it wasn’t very coherent. I’m just overtired.”

“Let’s go inside, and maybe sort some of this out.”

She smiled, wondering with distraction, how one would even begin to do such a thing.

Copyright © 2019 by Evelyn Klebert

Jacob Wyss is caught in a rut, in fact on the verge of being engulfed by it. After an excruciating and disillusioning divorce, his life as an artist in a sleepy-college town at the foot of the Appalachian mountains has become quiet, routine, and maddening in its predictability. One wintry day, his deep restlessness drives him out in precarious conditions to a largely empty bookstore nearly devoid of another living soul, nearly.

Aimee Marston isn’t like everyone else. On the surface, she lives a sedate life working as a feature writer for a small local newspaper in addition to several other editorial jobs to help make ends meet. But just beneath, her existence is largely not her own. She is a sensitive, an empathetic psychic, guided by her calling to use her gifts to help others. Unfortunately, as a result, her secretiveness has made her defensive, protective of herself, and prevented her from having much of a life of her own.

A psychic call for help sends Aimee out on a freezing January morning where her destiny and Jacob’s collide sending both their lives spiraling onto an unexpected and often disturbing track. Two lonely souls connect, not by accident, but by design. Theirs is the intersection of two spiritual paths, two lovers who must struggle to overcome the phantoms of a past life, as well as the challenges of their own inner demons to carve out an extraordinary future together.


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