slide1 slide2 slide3

Eternal Love, Paris, Deja Vu, Reincarnation, Spanish Civil War,
New York, Paranormal, Courage, Sacrifice

Read a few pages - Enjoy!

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

1934

 

 

 

Analise wanted to be just like her friends Sarah and Miriam, Connie and Agatha. Their lives were spent in the warm, safe cocoon of matrimony, untouched by the gloom of the Depression or rumors of war or whispers of rape or talk of robbery. Tuesday followed Monday with pleasant regularity. Milk and bread arrived on their door step each morning and later the morning paper; they knew the butcher and the baker and the grocer by name and they in turn knew theirs. Their lives were normal. She wanted that; every girl did. Each of her friends had been rescued from the hovering shame of being left behind – of growing old and unmarried and unwanted and unloved.

Analise was slender with thoughtful green eyes and a young girl’s open smile. By nature self-critical and anxious to please, she would seldom argue or raise her voice. Her dark hair was worn in a chignon that kept her slender neck clear and free. She was careful to follow the fashion of pleated skirts and round collared sweaters. Everyone who knew her said she was nice and considerate and inoffensive. And she was. Still, beneath it all was a hidden streak of determination that would later shape her world in a shocking fashion. She was what followed the word “but.”

To prepare herself to be like everybody else, she thoughtfully read the “textbooks” concerning matrimony. There was the Ladies’ Home Journal’s Book on the Business of Housekeeping, and McCall’s and Ladies’ Companion explaining the intricacies of refrigerators and mattresses and linoleum flooring. The “text books” quietly advised the good wife to know who Babe Ruth was and that FDR was the president and that Communists were bad and – sometimes – one might find an oblique reference to a thing called “family planning.”

Girls of her class were often encouraged to attend college, not primarily to get an education, but to find a husband and when she was a sophomore, Analise was thrilled to find herself among the chosen. She became engaged to Jacob Miller. She was ecstatic. She was successful. She would soon be a married lady like everyone she knew!

Yet now, three years later, she felt him slipping away like a soapy, expensive platter. She was making an effort to catch the platter before it shattered on the floor. It seemed she could almost measure the distance growing between them. Then the diamond ring on her finger felt like someone’s borrowed jewelry.

Occasionally, to persuade herself that her engagement to Jacob was not in jeopardy, she caressed her engagement ring with her thumb, treasuring what it meant – a culmination of her having grown from a little girl playing with dolls to a young woman experiencing a handsome man saying, “I love you” and making her feel especially chosen.

But she knew he was slipping away and the devastating fear of being left behind seemed more real now that she had had her chance.

***

When she was fourteen, in private school in Manhattan, still too young to fully understand the nuances and implications of boy meets girl, she had begun learning the intricate dance of courtship with Saul.

He was a tall, awkward boy who pretended he had friends when he hadn’t any. He would stand near groups of popular kids as though he were a part of their group. They resolutely ignored him. Some of it was his own doing because he avoided any activity with the other boys that could cause him a bruise or a bump.

Analise felt he needed looking after.

Saul liked to hike in Central Park searching for odd colored stones that he collected with an air of triumph. One day he finally marshaled the courage to mumble an eye evading invitation. Would she like to hunt rocks with him?

Her first thought was, “Ugh!” It sounded dirty! But she smiled and murmured, “Yes,” though it meant going into the woods - that domain of ugly, crawly insects that raced up your legs and over your arms and even down your back! They bit you and flew and beat against your face! She scrunched her shoulders. Still she went. She wore a long sleeve shirt and hugged herself.

Determined to acquire an interest in rocks and stones, she borrowed books from the library that showed pictures of pink and blue and gray stones and she studied their names and shared what he knew with Saul. She even pointed a delicate finger to a stone or two that lay half buried in dirt, refraining from picking them up herself.

When his parents lost their money in the Stock Market crash in 1929, they could no longer keep him in private school. They drifted apart.

The summer she was seventeen, she met Manny while she and her mother were on vacation in Connecticut. He took her canoeing. She went although she was afraid of the water because she could not swim. They spent afternoons on a nearby lake. Since both of them had to paddle, she found the task exhausting and, smiling, had to beg off frequently to rest.

Manny said she would be more comfortable in a swim suit. She sensed a danger in that. Smiling, she demurred. They quarreled about it; it was more a thing of pouting than anything else but she stopped seeing him.

Finally there was Jacob, a medical student at NYU. Almost from the first, she wanted to own him. He was tall, a little stooped and he wore wire rim glasses; his hair was parted in the middle and it made him look like an artist. Jacob had a disarming, boyish smile and he didn’t mind in the least that she was a little thin, slender really.

That was when she began to think of the glorious state of marriage and was surprised to feel twinges of jealousy when other girls were around. It made her feel a little ashamed; they were her friends, but still she monitored the distance between him and them.

He cared deeply for people and wondered when the Depression would end and why no one cared enough about the people who suffered and went hungry or stood in block-long soup lines and couldn’t afford medical care. He almost shouted that it was obscene. She treasured that about him and adopted his pure, clean outrage as her own.

So it surprised her when he unexpectedly sneered at the victims of the German Zeppelin, Hindenburg. The newspapers were filled with pictures showing the huge dirigible descending in flames to the ground at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

It was all anyone talked about. To be burned alive like that, falling from the sky with no way to escape - it was horrible. She scrunched her shoulders just thinking about it.

Jacob was unmoved. “Serves them right. They’re all Nazis and they’re doing worse than that to Jews in Germany!” His eyes were harder than she had ever seen them. For a moment it unnerved her. Arm in arm they were on their way to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He paused on the sidewalk to scold her for showing sympathy for the people on the Hindenburg.

“I’m surprised you don’t know about the Nuremburg Laws, Ana, and what those Nazis do to Jews! Hundreds, thousands brutalized every single day, children even!”

“I know about the Nuremburg Laws, Jacob,” she replied quietly, “but they weren’t all Germans on the Hindenburg.

“Then they shouldn’t have been on it!” He was livid. “They should never have set foot in Germany. The whole damn crew was German.”

It was their first argument. She strongly disagreed but did not pursue it. Would anyone say the same thing about a ship at sea? The Hindenburg was a ship of the air which was supposed to be the future of transatlantic passenger travel; they said that it was only a matter of time before ocean liners disappeared altogether. In the days that followed, she chastised herself for not having spoken up and defended her beliefs. He even declared that the only good German was Bruno Hauptmann because he was dead - executed last year for kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.

But mostly they laughed and did silly things at sporting events and parties to call attention to themselves. They kissed passionately in dark places and wrote letters back and forth. He told her the things he wanted to do with his life and she said encouraging things to send forth her knight in shining armor.

Once when they were parked in his father’s car behind Maxwell’s gas station, kissing passionately, his fingers, like an advancing army, captured her knee and then part of her thigh. Emboldened he sent troops sliding between her thighs headed for the Golden City. Alarmed, she caught her breath, snatched his hand away, pressed her knees together and crossed her ankles.

“Aw, come on, honey,” he pleaded softly in her ear, caressing her face with kisses, “– we’re already engaged.”

“But we’re not married, Jacob. We’re not married. - Why can’t we wait?”

“- That’s old fashioned,” he murmured with a chuckle. “Nobody cares about that ‘virgin’ stuff anymore. It’s 1936, honey, not 1836. Everybody does it. We’re going to get married, aren’t we, so what difference does it make? We’re practically married already. You’re going to be my wife, Ana.”

“- I won’t feel right about it, Jacob!” she pleaded. “I’ll feel like…like a whore. I can’t help it; it’s how I was raised. And suppose I got pregnant! That’s not ‘old fashioned.’ I know a girl who got pregnant. Her parents won’t even speak to her anymore and another girl tried to get rid of it and died. - I’m sorry, Jacob. It’s all my fault. I should have stopped letting you do things a long time ago….”

Disgusted, he blew his breath out and sat back and hit the steering wheel with the heel of his hands. Silence took a seat between them. Several minutes squirmed by.

“- I know you’re disappointed, Jacob, but so am I. - What makes you think that I’m that sort of girl?”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore! It’s asinine. You sound like somebody’s grandmother. ‘That-sort-of-girl!’ You should hear how you sound.”

Silence nudged them farther apart. He was on the verge of starting the car up when she held out her palm. Her engagement ring was in the middle of it. For a second he stared dumbly at the ring before lifting his eyes to hers. There were no tears. Maybe there was anger; her eyes were steady. He tried to gauge her resolve.

“I want to marry you, Jacob. I love you and I want to give you children, and…and I’ll give you the most precious thing I have – my body. When you give me the most precious thing you have – your name.”

He shook his head as though to clear it. He stared at her in mild disbelief. After a count of three, he reached out and closed her slender fingers around the ring. “I’m sorry,” he said. It was then that she cried and he took her in his arms and let her cry and then he took her home and kissed her on her forehead and on her face.