Veronica remembers asking her mother about it one day.
“Mom, do you remember the first time you and Dad met?”
Her mom just laughed. “Of course I do! It was only a few years before you were born-“
“Not like that!” the tiny girl interjects. “What was he like the first time you met him?”
Her mother just smiles at her, tells her that nobody actually remembers their past lives, and sends her outside to play.
Veronica knows that’s not true, though. She knows what happened the first time she fell in love.
The very first time.
She was sixteen, and she fell hopelessly in love with a girl in her old village.
She remembers her soft hair. Her dark, endless eyes. Her bright smile.
She remembers every detail.
She’s seen it before, after all.
She’s seen that exact smile on Heather Duke’s face.
JD always really liked bright colors.
He wonders sometimes, what that might mean about his past lives.
He wakes up sometimes in the middle of the night. When it happens, it’s hard for him to go back to sleep.
The nightmares, the fire and smoke and gunpowder smell, keep him awake at night.
The first time his dad took him hunting, he nearly had a panic attack as soon as he was handed a gun.
Sometimes he wakes up crying.
Crying for his mother.
He doesn’t like thinking about what probably happened to her last time.
He prefers to spend his days thinking of pretty girls wearing blues, reds, yellows, and greens.
Yellow is nice. Cheerful. She feels warm like a summer afternoon spent watching the clouds. He feels warm when he thinks of the pretty girl in yellow.
The girl in red riles him up. He thinks they might have been friendly rivals. He admires her ferocity. He wonders if she’s as stubborn as he is.
Green makes him think of cozy corners and old, dusty books. He thinks he’d like to stay up all night talking to her. He wants to meet her soon.
And Blue. Blue feels… soothing. Thinking of blue feels like being wrapped in a blanket with a hand running through his hair as he dozes off. Even the nightmares are no match for blue.
JD isn’t quite sure what it says about his past lives, but he loves bright colors.
Heather Chandler had never heard of someone remembering how they’d died in their past life.
She learned not to say anything. Adults looked uncomfortable when she talked about how it felt to die.
She’s not sure how she figured out that Heather and Heather were from her past lives. Nobody really knew how people could keep finding each other. She just met them one day and knew.
But it’s weird not being able to tell them about how she recognizes the noxious smell of chemicals.
How she can feel a burn in her throat every now and then.
How trying to drink something just brings back the taste of poison.
How all she can see sometimes is flashes of blue.
Blue and brown and black.
Heather McNamara didn’t like feeling scared. She hated feeling weak.
Sometimes, she would imagine a past version of herself as a warrior. A knight, perhaps.
She imagined protecting people who felt scared.
She imagined being able to save everyone.
She imagined being strong enough to save Heather.
She wasn’t sure if Chandler remembered, but she wanted to make sure, no matter what, that she never felt that scared again.
She wanted to make sure she never lost her like that again.
She started taking self-defense classes. She learned the best ways to keep the people she loved safe.
She wasn’t going to let her fear take over again.
She was done being afraid.
Heather Duke was used to coming last.
She wasn’t quite sure why, but she got the feeling that the last few versions of herself had been left out of a lot of things.
She felt… lonely.
Sure, she loved Heather and Heather, but they already had each other. She couldn’t help feeling like a third wheel a lot of the time.
She hated it. The claustrophobic feeling of never being good enough. The acidic taste of bile rising in her throat.
But still, every now and then, she would be swept up in a fantasy where there was nothing but deep, soothing darkness.
If she let herself slip deep enough into the all-encompassing blackness, she could sometimes feel cool, soft fabric between her fingers. She could feel someone behind her, brushing her hair. She could feel their breath tickling the back of her neck as they whispered praise and sweet nothings to her. She could hear the other person singing to her in a deep, soothing voice.
She could slip away to her two dream lovers and let herself be carried away by the idea that she finally wasn’t so lonely. The idea that someday, someone might put her first.
As she floats away in a sea of blue and deep, dark browns.