"I stood on the porch, trying not to look at the police cruisers parked in the driveway. And when I did look at them, I tried not to let the memories come. But that was like trying to stop water with your hands. Enough of it got through that you were going to get wet."
The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.
Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.
Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…
“How would you know I was there?”
His gaze locked on mine and I stilled, barely able to breathe. All trace of laughter disappeared from his expression. His stare was heavy to the point of paralyzing.
“My soul would recognize you and wake me.” His voice was gravelly and low, barely above a whisper, but it filled my ears and raced straight to my heart. I felt a keen familiarity with this moment and with Dylan himself. It was more than déjà vu. It was something inside me recognizing something inside him.
“I want to,” I answered, breathless and aching.
“Are you sure?”
I didn’t even have to think about his question. Our past was heartbreaking and our future uncertain. All we had was this moment. “Yes.”
Llama – Fact. When I was about thirteen, my parents got me a pet llama that we named Dolly. We brought her home in the back of our minivan and she sat still the entire ride. She was adorable and sweet and had the saddest eyes. I used to walk her around the neighborhood on a leash, like a dog – except taller. We tethered her to the yard one day and a car spooked her. When she tried to run, the rope got tangled and it snapped her leg. Surgery for that kind of animal, with the way she’d shattered the bone… we ended up putting her down. Oh yeah, this is a sad story, I forgot to tell you.
We never got another llama. Stuck to goats and chickens (eww, yuck, I know.) and even a husky for a while. Still, Dolly will always be the coolest pet I had. Which is why Whisper needed a pet that special.
I don’t know about you, but commercially speaking, when I hear “llama”, I think of Tina. She was Napolean Dynamite’s llama and he was always fussing at her to eat her food.
Please say you get the joke… #itsaplayonthenameI told myself it was nothing; fancy fabric couldn’t manifest a destiny any more than a person could fight it. But, although the sun still blazed with late afternoon heat, the day felt ominous. Or maybe it was me.
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