Remembering

Abstract in snow at kent falls

“Aillen, how can any of your individuality re-incarnate? Your body structures and sustains memories, emotions and perceptions. When it dies, all is lost.”

Because I know Aillen so well, I sense his smiling beyond the speaker-phone, “Ethan, you know about quantum mechanics and quantum computers. Well, microtubules in your brain which have a known biological function, are also ideally suited to be carriers of quantum information.”

“Go on.” My sciency brain is being seduced.

“This information includes consciousness-related states or memories received from the fabric of space-time.”

“You mean like a radio receiving signals already in space?” I ask.

“Ethan! You’ve got it! When these tubules are destroyed with the body, the quantum information is distributed back to that fabric. Another body can then receive it.”

“Can multiple people have the same soul like multiple radios playing the same song?” I say to myself “checkmate”.

“No, the radio is really a cell phone, each with its own DNA giving it a unique sensitivity.” He pauses. “Ethan, as a scientist, you’ve always been asking me about past lives. How about you experience it for a change? Let’s see what your quantum memory reveals.”

Aillen says his memory spans over two thousand years. Once, in the mirror, he saw himself with long red-hair holding a shield of two lions. Richard the Lionheart was a gallant and splendid soldier who fought to capture the Holy Land. He is now embodied as Aillen the physicist fighting to capture lost memories.

“I’m open to it”. I assert.

“So now Ethan, are you sitting comfortably in a quiet room?”

“Yes, I am Aill.”

“Close your eyes, and let my voice guide your awareness. OK?”

“OK”

I easily follow each of Aillen’s instructions. My awareness progresses from my toes, slowly onto my ankles, and moves up my torso stopping at each feature until I reach the top of my head. Then, as guided, I am looking down on myself from three feet above my head.  Moving further up, I see my roof twenty feet below me; then my neighborhood’s entire valley with its green tree tops and sparkling waters. Not stopping there, I move further away, I see all of New England, our continent, the planet, our solar system, even the entire galaxy. I then see the darkness swallow the galaxy whole as its crown star is the last consumed. I pause, alone, and then progressively return to my room’s ceiling and hover over my body. I notice that my hair color is no longer chestnut but blonde; my limbs seem larger and longer.

“Sit in this quietness and allow early memories to return.” Aillen softly says.

At first, I conjure my early experience of being in the crib, tossing and turning, sometimes chewing on the loose stiff plastic covering the wooden bars. I hear Mom downstairs laughing. As that fades, another image appears.  I’m standing and wearing soft, light tan leather that’s wrapped around my feet and extending to my knees. I’m deep in the woods, next to a log cabin. My awareness floats to its cramped interior, where I see a large blackened hearth. I feel the soft and warm presence of a woman who is not there.

Suddenly my shoulders feel heavy and then a female voice whispers.

“Why did you abandon me back in Jake’s Hollow?” Silence. “I bore you no child, but still, I loved you dearly.”

I’m startled out of that scene and back to my room. I must return and reply to that voice. “Jake’s Hollow”, “Jake’s Hollow” It feels vaguely familiar but I don’t know where it is or if it ever existed.

Again, I conjure another early memory, sitting still in my playpen where my foot is caught between its wooden floor slats. No one is around. My mind becomes silent for a moment, and then I think my lawn mower needs tuning. Yeesh.

“Aillen, my thoughts are now staying in this universe.” I describe my journey, I tell him that I have always felt at home in the woods but I didn’t mention the voice.

“Each of these experiences is a piece in a jigsaw puzzle.” Aillen calmly explains. “In the beginning, you only have a few unrelated pieces. As you continue, more will appear and meaning will coalesce.”

I delight in his analogy. Later, I realize that a puzzle has finite pieces but my thoughts are infinite. Aillen encourages me to regularly perform this meditation on my own and we say goodbye. I stand and yawn loudly.

I hear my wife, Gina, downstairs. “Ethan, sounds like you’re ready for lunch. Come on down.”

Gina disdains my otherworldly interests so I avoid eye contact while describing the log cabin but I never mention the voice and Jake’s Hollow.

Gina interrupts, “Our appointment with Dr. Hanover is tomorrow morning. I think we’re getting close, maybe we’ll see something in the ultrasound. I wish they’d retrieve my eggs without putting me to sleep. I’ve heard of people not surviving.”

I look at her nodding as if I’m absorbing her words, but I’m still distracted by that voice.

“Ethan, you seem distant. Are you sure you want children?” Gina says in a hesitant voice, her eyes pleading.

I shake my head to return to her presence, sit next to her and put my arm around her. “It’s what I’ve always wanted, Honey. I know you’re sacrificing, and I’ll always be with you as we go through this experience together.”

During the next morning’s visit, Dr. Hanover injects Gina so that her eggs become ready for retrieval in a day or so. This is the furthest we’ve gone in the process after trying all these years. For the first time, I’m imagining holding a baby completely dependent on me.

That thought changes me for the next day and a half:  I often feel I’m in a fog. I lose track of what I am saying in mid-sentence and forget why I entered a room. Gina, on the other hand, maintains her usual busyness of cooking and watching the birds. Almost everything she does has no friction. Each of my deliberations is burdened with fear and disturbing thoughts.

We arrive early for the egg retrieval and Gina disappears for preparation. Soon her gurney with a drip bag is wheeled into the inner hallway where I am sitting. She is staring at the ceiling expressionless until she sees me. The dull gaze in her eyes instantly transforms into onyxes, shining two beacons into mine. I touch my nose to hers as Gina’s lips press into mine. Shortly she will lose consciousness and I promise, until she returns, I will remember everything about our lives together. The nurse pulls her bed away from me. The double doors down the hall swallow her whole as the crown of her head is the last consumed.

I do not read a magazine. I do not finger my phone. My breath counts the minutes until Gina returns.

After an hour, the doctor asks me to join him in Gina’s room where she lays regaining awareness. He said that the harvest went well and will let us know in two or three days what to expect. Eventually, Gina stands up and I hug her tightly and blurt, “I love you.” Would I say the same to a life preserver that came to me just as I was sinking?

Three days later, the doctor’s ID appears on the ringing phone. My excitement is throttled with dread. I don’t move. Gina speaks only a few words before she slowly puts the phone down. Her eye reveals a tear and heavy darkness envelopes us. My limbs are filling with ants and my skin is shriveling from a fire, I jump up, lunge for the outside when suddenly I am halted by two words screaming inside my skull, “Jake’s Hollow”.

By Jeff Ginsburg

March 21, 2016

3 thoughts on “Remembering”

  1. Jeff,
    What an enticing piece this is. Your account of microtubules that convey “consciousness-related states or memories received from the fabric of space-time” sounds so plausible that the reader is hooked early on. Then the journey through his “quantum memory” seals the deal. I was wondering what you were going to do with the images of the cabin in the woods & Jake’s Hollow. Then you returned to them at the end. Intriguing.
    Tom Kersting

  2. I like this character, “itching under his skin” at all times, while Gina remains for the most part, calm and reasonably assured. The tension builds nicely while Gina undergoes “harvesting.”
    As he blurts out, ” I love you.” ” Would I say the same to a life preserver just as I was sinking?” speaks volumes about his reticence toward…all commitment, love, life? I like how Jake’s Hollow circles and ties up previous psychological dilemmas he has struggled with. Enjoyed the ideas presented here.

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