Repeat After Me

My head jerks up suddenly.  I had apparently been asleep.  I feel both totally disoriented and, at the same time, totally reoriented.  It’s as if I’ve not known where I was for a very long time, even though I’ve known perfectly well where I was at every moment.  I know that I was dreaming while I was asleep, but I don’t remember the dream at all, at least not right now.

I’m in the conversation room.  It seems like a long time since I’ve been here, though I’ve really been here the whole time.

Three comfortable chairs are arranged near the center of the room, facing each other in a circle.  (I thought “circle,” but I also thought “triangle” at the same time.)  I am seated in one of them.  In the chair to my left sits…  Sigismund.

“Anna?”  I’ve spoken to him before I even realize that I intend to.

“Needed she is not.  Not today.”  It’s Frank Oz’s Yoda voice.  I expect a Viennese accent, and what I get is Yoda.

I look to the chair on my right.  I’ve seen something like this before.  It’s something like the projection of a woman, in black and white, seated in the chair.  She changes to a different woman every few seconds.  Oops, was that one a man?  Not sure.  All women now.  “She” maintains the same posture throughout the visual shifts.  She is looking at me with an expression that’s impossible to read.  Her right hand is in her lap, and is holding something.

It’s the shard.  Of course.

I look down at my body, and hold up my hand to examine it.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing me today.  I think about that for a moment.  “Death.”  I’m not sure if I just thought it, or if I actually muttered it.

I look at Sigismund again, and try to remember what’s been going on.  “We had lunch yesterday, right?”

He shrugs and says nothing.

“What are we supposed to do here?”

He makes a vaguely circular, inviting gesture with is hand, as if indicating that I should continue.

“I’m supposed to talk?”

He shrugs again.  “Repetition, this is about.”  He leans toward me, his eyes widen, and he repeats the word more slowly.  “Re-pe-ti-tion.”

I look back at the shifting images in the other chair.

“The shard is repetition.  I am repeating something.  I have been repeating it my entire adult life.”

Sigismund’s smile widens, and he nods approvingly.  “WE.  Repeating it, WE have been.”

“The whole selfsystem, you mean, right?”

He nods again.

I look at his face.  Though the smirk is still there, so is the pain from his oral cancer.  I notice for the first time that he is holding a cigar, but it is apparently not currently lit.

“You’ve been waiting for me here for a long time.”

“Yes.  Been here the entire time, we have.”

I feel as though a great many things dawn on me all at once, but also as though the realizations have been accumulating since I awoke.  Watching the shifting images again, I now know that they are a definite set, cycling through in the same order each time.  Some of them are a bit vague in outline and detail, but some of them are very clear.  Three or four of them, the ones that are the most clear, seem to evoke a slight pain in my chest whenever they appear.

As I watch, the figure of shifting images lifts “her” (I’m still unsure whether ALL of them are female) hand from her lap, and extends it a bit in my direction.  She is offering me the shard.

I stare at the shard itself for a long time, motionless and speechless.  The shard never changes.  Only the image of the person.  She says nothing, and does not seem to tire of holding her hand out toward me.

Finally, I speak to Sigismund again. “What will happen if I take it from her?”

“Take it from her you will not.  Not today.”

I’m very uncomfortable, but very excited, and I shift in my chair a bit.  “Haven’t I known all along that this is a pattern I’ve been repeating?”

Another “go on” gesture.  I’m supposed to answer this myself.

“It’s been in my soul all along.  My psyche, that is.  But I have not known it.”

Know it now, do you?”

I’m still looking at the shard intently.  “I’m obviously realizing it today in a way that I have not before.”

“And Avram would say what?”

I look at him.  Avram?  I haven’t thought about him for quite a long while.  I look back at the shard, and visualize Avram.  Then I smile.  “He would say, ‘DUH!! Told you years ago!'”

Sigismund nods.  “But know it now, do you?”

I remain silent for a full three minutes, still gazing at the shard.  He waits patiently.

“I’ve only made some kind of beginning today toward knowing it.  Is that correct?”

He doesn’t answer at first, so I look back at him, directly meeting his pained eyes.

“Or…  I need to WANT to know.  I’m beginning to really WANT to know.  I mean…  WE are.”

Relaxing his facial muscles a bit, he nods.  He places the cigar in his mouth, folds his hands in his lap, and closes his eyes.

The figure in the other chair still wears an unreadable expression, but she too has relaxed, the hand holding the shard back in her lap.

I mutter:  “Gordon-Levitt.  Death?”

I close my eyes too.  Has it really been since Easter?


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