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Even in Another Time

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"Someone will remember us

I say

Even in another time" - Sappho


 

The first time it happens, Juliana is asleep and it wakes her up in hysteria.

 


She’s running through dry valleys she doesn’t recognize. The air is heavy with heat and there's also a blurriness she doesn’t know how to define. She’s afraid. She’s absolutely terrified of something she doesn’t know. Her feet are hitting the rocky ground with such force that she feels the roughness of the earth in her bones. When she sees the warm beige stonewalls of a city she doesn’t know either, she both feels an immense sense of relief and fear.

She’s seeking something she doesn’t know but she knows it’s the only thing that matters to her. In the distance, she notices a group of people. They make her heartbeat in her ears. Their clothes announce their purpose a mile away. Juliana doesn’t know who they are. She doesn’t understand anything that’s happening but she knows. There’s something inside her that tells her exactly what they are. She notices large crosses on their clothes, around their necks, carried over their heads, and she’s filled with terror. She doesn’t understand why because crosses have never been a source of fear. But somehow, here ... now ... it is different.

She’s screaming a name in a voice that’s not hers. She’s still running, seeking. She’s breathing loudly and unevenly. The air in her lungs is getting thinner but she won’t stop, she won’t give up.

She’s looking for Valentina. She doesn’t know how she knows that but Valentina is the one thing she’s sure about in this world; in all worlds.

She’s screaming that name again.

Suddenly she hears a name that’s not hers being screamed in the distance. Yet she knows it’s hers. The sun is shining brightly and it’s blinding her. When she can focus, she sees a girl fighting against priests and guards. She’s wrestling and screaming and crying. Juliana’s heart is thumping and she feels her world disintegrating. The girl screams in pain when the men shove her into an old wooden cart. She doesn’t stop calling Juliana’s non-name.

When the men move away and she doesn’t reach them in time, she's still close enough that she can finally the girl’s face. She’s beautiful and not so much older than she is. When their eyes meet, she knows it’s Valentina. She looks nothing like her with her dark hair and her tan skin, but her eyes speak through and she knows. She sees beyond the foreign face, the foreign name, the foreign city. Something is calling to her from beyond. The girl’s eyes speak volume and it’s Valentina’s.

 

When she wakes up she’s screaming for a girl she knows and doesn’t know. She’s hysterical and crying and seeking Valentina. Except she can’t see anything, there are shades of brightness, indecipherable spots of the beigeness from the rocks, mixed with the greens of the trees, and diluted within the bright blue of the sky; but it's not the blue of Valentina’s eyes. She’s grasping hysterically around her trying to find Valentina but she’s only finding cold bed sheets.

It takes a subjective infinity for Valentina to storm into the room with a matching panicked look.

“Juls?” she whispers confused.

When she sees the state Juliana is in, she doesn’t hesitate and climbs into their bed. She throws herself towards her wrapping her arms protectively. Juliana laches on to her. Valentina is running her hands over her arms trying to offer comfort.

“What is it? Mi amor, what happened?” She asked softly but Juliana doesn’t answer.

She’s shaking so much and Valentina tries to ease her trauma with kisses. She leaves kisses on her forehand, on her neck, on her shoulder blades. She runs her hands over her hair. She’s whispering truths in her ear. Her whole body is wrapped around her. Anything to help her feel safer.

Valentina has never seen Juliana in this state of panic. She’s never seen her so scared and worried. And this is someone who said she was perfect after being kidnapped.

They don’t go to school that day. They stay at home and watch tv. Or more accurately, Valentina watches tv. Juliana is curled into her, grasping onto her. She doesn’t watch the movie, she doesn’t say anything, instead, she watches Valentina. She alternates between her face, her jaw, her hands, her collarbone. The truth is she’s afraid of looking away and have Valentina disappear like the girl in the cart.

Valentina knows not to ask, she gives her space and waits for when she will be ready. She’s happy to let Juliana watch her. Every so often, which is quite often, she reminds her she loves her and goes back to the movie. She never let's go. She doesn’t think Juliana would let her. She doesn’t want to anyway.