additional chapter to This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
insert before Chapter 6, please
Epifanio Dang Tells His Story
August 22, 2040
Clara asks me to write my version of “our” story, but, as you may already know by now, readers and listeners, there is not just one version of any story, especially “ours.”
I tell her I cannot do that, I do not have time, I have a lot to do that is more important. However, she insists. “Do it for my birthday!” she pleads. “They need to know how you feel, what you think, what this is all like for you.” Then she adds, “Oh, please? Also, could you write in present tense as much as possible, to be consistent with our new understanding of simultaneous time?”
I know her birthday is a big event for her, so I can tell I am going to have to agree to do something. She won’t stop nudging me until I do this, so I promise her: I write it today.
I walk away.
I come back.
All right, Clara. I am writing this for you. Use it as you wish.
When Clara and I first meet… No. Can’t start there.
When Clara first tells me about our possible future… Which time? Which future? Not there, either.
When Clara first tells me, around New Year’s of 2012-13, about her visits from the MWC, I feel a combination of fascination, disbelief, and irritation. I do not feel excited, glad, or trusting. (Sorry, Dear, but you ask me to be honest.)
Clara’s track record, so to speak, of telling me things about myself, or us or others, is that sometimes (percentages range from 0% – 100%, hence my wavering) her versions do not turn out as she predicts or believes. Aliens? Holograms? In her bedroom. I really do not think so.
Yet, something about the way she tells me: her descriptions, particularly of their physical appearances, and the detailed nature of their conversations, show me that these are different from her usual timult tales. I begin to pay closer attention.
As we now know how things unfold, I won’t go into my entire journey from disbelief to understanding. I’ll just say that even before I meet The Band myself, I am a firm believer.
I have more trouble with the permutations, alternate timeline versions, multiverse options, what we now know as the timultaneity of my relationship with Clara. Let’s lay that out first.
I do not love Clara in that way. For many years, and apparently in many timelines, we are not together as lovers, partners, husband/wife, or even close friends. I find out a lot later (remember, I’m writing this in 2040), which version “prevails” in her “fiction” books, which makes it even more problematic for me to write “my” version, here.
Clara is the timulting expert, but I can timult a bit, myself, after a while. Training, practice, some innate talent and motivation are all it takes. To sort through the various ways our relationship plays out because I want to have more than just her versions in my mind, I learn to timult. I tell her I learn it as a kind of mental karate; I often feel I need to defend myself around her. (Sorry, Dear. True, though. Need to find and stand my ground, keep you at leg’s length, so to speak.)
I enjoy the image of our 80-something-year-old selves standing in our living room, right here in front of the couch, in karate suits. We bow. Then, quite quickly, my leg is raised perpendicular to the ground, foot placed squarely in your belly; not as a kick, just keeping you at bay. Makes me smile. Wonder if my leg could make that move these days?
Nope. Hip flexors are too tight. Weak connective tissue in there. Need to do more yoga this week.
Do I love her? Of course, I do. (Happy, Dear?) Do I want to be with her, live with her, marry her? Sometimes. Usually, not. In most timelines, we do not have that kind of relationship.
Clara tells me that, in all the versions we “miss” connecting deeply, our failure to become intimate is due to my reluctance/recalcitrance. Also, my refusal to admit my actual feelings and stubborn resistance to her charms. She also condemns my apparent inclination (and successes, I remind her) to be with women I can dominate, am a lot older than, work less hard with, rather than be with a peer, a challenging partner like her. She makes even more critical comments I won’t repeat here, depending on her mood.
However, Mick tells me that, in some Re-Sets, when Clara and I are together, one of us dies a lot younger than in this version, or she is not even the CC, or other things go awry. Not that our relationship is the cause of those changes. It is somehow hinged to them, though.
I love her and she irritates me. I like and enjoy her and I have to get away to be alone. I am an artist, a writer, a meditator, often a hermit. So is she, she tells me–all of those things. Well, not an artist, but a musician. “Same thing,” she says. “Not really,” I say. She is definitely more of an extrovert than I, I prompt her. “Only when I have to be,” she claims. “Proves my point,” I state. “You love to dance” she cues me. “You need others to dance with.” “I don’t do partner dancing,” I point out. “You are my partner,” she responds. Off we go.
That’s our dance, apparently. On, off. In, out. With, without. Yes, no.
To be fair, I think it’s more my dance than Clara’s. She is steady in her love, dedication, commitment, belief, faith. I do not know anyone with more perseverance, patience, hope…. She has unshakable confidence in what she calls “the rightness of us,” unwavering love for me and steadfast faith in this version of our life.
In most versions, we are not together; in one I am aware of, I barely see her after she becomes the Chief Communicator. Clara says pieces of some of those ‘lines appear in her books, so I won’t go on.
Before I write this, I read the letter she writes me (which she puts later in this book) and my heart aches. The loneliness, the sadness, the grief she experiences make me weep for her. If I ever miss her as much as she misses me, I believe I would just stop breathing.
I don’t know how she carries all of these versions in her psyche. Whenever I timult, I have to make myself deliberately suppress alternative timelines, forget as much as I can about them, or it’s overwhelming. I know this: in the versions in which we’re not together, I don’t think of being with her at all.
I try to be here, in this moment, whatever it is.
I can’t say, exactly, how we get here. Too many ways. Maybe she drags me in, maybe I come willingly. Could be a trick, a seduction, a persuasion. Perhaps, fate just bops me upside the head and carries me over.
I am here. With her.
(Clara comes over and reads what I’m writing. She looks at me with tears in her eyes, then pulls me over for a deep, long kiss. And, more. It is her birthday, after all.)
(A while later, I return to finish this.)
I am passionately in love, glad and grateful to be with Dr. Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator of Earth for the Many Worlds Collective since 2013. We are having this amazing, unique adventure for the twenty-seven years we now have and however many more we get.
Despite what others might think, our marriage is mostly harmonious, delightful, interesting, sweet and wonderful.
Clara is correct about this. We are right together. (Happy Birthday, My Love.)