A Shift of Time

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I love adventure, and when I moved to Germany I got quite a few normal ones, and one totally frighteningly unexplainable one that has remained strongly rooted in my memory to this day.

I rented a tiny one-bedroom apartment a few miles outside a US Army base in a small quaint town in Germany. I was a single female officer, and about six months into my tour, I’d begun dating a very cute Army pilot, Dave. He was sweet and nice and terribly in love with me. I didn’t feel exactly the same way as he did, but I did enjoy being with him, and the lovemaking was, well, extraordinary. We were quite exuberant and, admittedly, I was a bit loud in my passion, and I often wondered what the neighbors thought. However, being young, I admit I didn’t try and tone it down much.

My apartment came furnished, with green-and-orange throwback furniture from the 70s, and some matching psychedelic wallpaper with huge swirl patterns that was so outdated it was funky chic. The kitchen was like most European kitchens, extremely tiny with barely enough room to cook. But the bedroom was lusciously large. The beech wood bed frame held a huge mattress and there was a matching wardrobe that lined the entire west wall. I spent many hours there, beyond sleep, and my favorite time was Sunday mornings. I’d make a breakfast of hearty German-bread toast with fresh jam, deliciously strong coffee, and then spend most of the morning lying in that bed reading my favorite books.

One spring afternoon, Dave and I lay naked atop the bed, the sweat cooling off us from our recent long lovemaking session. The windows were cracked open a bit to let in the fresh air, and the bedroom door was open so we could hear the light music on the stereo. The sound of our panting breaths dominated the room, and I laughed aloud from happiness. Dave laughed too, then turned on his side and propped up his head on his hand to look at me. With his free hand, he began to lightly run his fingers all the way up my arm, and then down my side. He gently dragged his fingertips to the center of my stomach, and did a quick tickle of my bellybutton. I laughed, softly this time, enjoying the light touch as his fingers trailed upward between my breasts to my neck, “That’s nice,” I said.

His fingers caressed my jaw, then trailed over my lips, and traced their outline. I kissed the tips of his fingers, and Dave pulled them away, “Uh, uh,” he said. I glanced at him, pouted for a second, then gave in. “Ok, I’ll stay still,” I replied. I watched as his fingers gently settled once more on my lips. Then he began to trace a path up and over the ridge of my nose.

A shadow crossed the room and I felt a sudden chill, but Dave was unaware of it. The room grew noticeably darker, and behind him where the wardrobe had stood, a large stone fireplace appeared, its low flames barely lighting the interior of its dark box. The walls of the bedroom turned to a dark paneled wood. The outline and then the full colors of a tapestry emerged from the wall directly in front of me. The window on the east wall was gone, replaced by more paneling, and a low chest with ornate carvings was shoved against it. The bed changed too, with ornately carved bed posts appearing at the corners. They held back a dark green fabric at their corners, and an attached wooden canopy shimmered into existence above me.

I heard the angry stomp of boots advancing toward us, a menacing sound that made the hair stand up on my arms. Everything became clear, and I knew, without a doubt, that I was in another time, and it was my husband I heard coming toward us. He shouted out viscously, and I was terribly afraid for my safety and for the man lying next to me. My husband banged on the heavy wooden locked door, and then threw his body mightily against it. The door shook hard with each try he made, and I prayed it would hold because when he finally broke through, he would kill us.

I grabbed Dave’s arm, and I tried to get out of bed. “What?” he said, “Are you okay?” I turned to him, and grabbed him by the shoulders, and tried to find my voice to warn him. Yet in that moment, as quickly as it had appeared, the room dissolved into the present day. My knees gave out and I sat back down on the bed. Dave pulled me protectively against his chest while I shook hard from the adrenaline and fear.

I tried to explain all that had happened in the time it took Dave to trace his fingers from the ridge of my nose and over my eyebrows, but I was pretty sure Dave didn’t believe in what had happened. I know the difference when someone truly believes what I am saying, and when they are just acting like a supportive parent who listens patiently as their child explains a make-believe world.

I have faith that there is more to us than this one single life. Was it a reincarnation memory I had – a past-life episode -- which suddenly sparked into existence with Dave’s gentle caress? And who was that jealous husband? Was any of it real?

Try as I might, I never did have another experience like that. But I am absolutely sure that the room I saw for those few seconds was real, and had existed some 500 years earlier, and that I too, had existed there for that brief moment in time.

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