Music that goes over a lifetime

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
When your life ends, it doesn't just end. You will walk through hell and eliminate all memories of your past life. Almost everyone forgets about them, but not Musetta. Young Musetta, with a love towards her former husband, recalls different things from her past life. She yearns to reconcile with her love, but when she does, will things go her way?

Submitted: March 03, 2014

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Submitted: March 03, 2014

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“Jaden, I’m coming after you now.” I breathed my last words and took one last look at the world I was born in, grown up in and about to die in. Then, I closed my eyes peacefully.

 

Many people think after death there is a better place to live in heaven. In truth, no. We are reborn in phoenix flames and wiped clean of our memories of the past life we once had, and start a fresh new life again from the stage of babyhood. We don’t remember this process because during the process of cleaning our brains, it will automatically clear everything, including the memory of the horrible process. Only very, very few people who has a very, very important memory to hang on, then the process cannot be continued, and it is a very, very rare case. Approximately one death in a thousand billion occasions there will be someone like me, who remembers their previous life. I don’t remember specific details, but I do remember some rather harsh ones.

When I died, I floated straight out of my body. I thought for sure I was going to heaven, but just as I thought that, I dropped right into Death’s arms. I was embraced by Death and passed to a fiery incinerator. I think it was phoenix flames. I don’t know how, I just knew it. I was tortured beyond boundaries of sanity, but when I remember that I’ll will be able to see my beloved soon, I miraculously survived.

 

I walked down the street absentmindedly. I always did that when I started remember things in my past life. A little cat chasing a butterfly in my garden, Jaden laughing cheerfully at my jokes, Madame Cassandra next door offering cupcakes.

“Etta. Etta. Musetta.” A voice summoned me back to the present. I looked around, startled, to find a rather annoyed Linnie beside me. Linnie had been my best friend since pre-school. They all like to call me Etta instead of Musetta.

“Whoa. Hey, Lin. When did you get here?” I tried to smile, and failed utterly.

“I’ve been walking beside you for the past hour, Etta. You sure you feeling okay?” Linnie glanced at me oddly. “Having your flashbacks?” Linnie was the only souls I would trust with my secret. Humans weren’t supposed to recall their past life. Those who do are hunted down by Death. Or so I’ve heard.

“Yeah. I guess.” I sighed sadly. With the world so big, I didn’t even know if Jaden was on the same continent as I was. I’ve been tracking Jaden ever since I was old enough to remember. Telephone books, Internet, newspapers. If he was trying to avoid my careful attention, he was doing a splendid job.

I changed the subject. “Where are you going? I heading for the bridge.” Somehow, I was born with the talent of music. Weird since I couldn’t tell one note from another in my previous life. Rather than performing in concert halls, I preferred playing for the homeless people below a bridge, its name which I had forgotten. Linnie replied happily, “I’m going home. I’ll walk you partway.” 

Soon, I arrived at the bridge and gave some bread to the beggars. I took my viola out from my case and rested it on my shoulder. Then, I started to play. It was gentle in the beginning and a bit fast in its climax, but overall sweet and slow. It was a song Jaden once wrote for me. He was a musician then. In the middle of the song, I turned around to discover a man not from the homeless bunch, standing in the bank of the river. He looked bewildered. I widened my eyes as he walked closer. It took a great effort not to fling away my viola. Although his features and face were different, there was this aura about him that never changed. It was Jaden. I was sure of it.

“Jaden,” I whispered. I put down my instrument and ran towards him and threw my arms around him. “Jaden, I missed you so much. Oh, Jaden” I breathed.

“Um, pardon me, miss, but do I know you?” He pulled away uncomfortably. I stared at him.

“Jaden, it’s me. It’s Seraphina. Don’t you remember? The song?” I held my breath.

“Nope. I think you’ve got the wrong guy. I heard some music here and I thought I’d come over and listen. And by the way, my name is Jaron, not Jaden. You got the first two letters right though.” He grinned.

“I’m Musetta. You can call me Etta.” I was dazed. Jaden didn’t remember me. He didn’t even remember my former name. He doesn’t remember our song either. 

Jaron frowned. “I thought you said you were Seraphina. Or did I hear wrong?” He arched one eyebrow.

“Never mind what I said just now. Since we’ve met, you wanna be friends?” Better friends than nothing.

“You are rather straight-forward, has anyone ever told you? Well, since you asked, there’s really no reason for me to refuse.” He grinned broader and stuck out a hand. “As you know, I’m Jaron. I’m twenty. I work as a businessman. I’m getting married soon.” He seemed pleasured with the last idea.

Getting married? “Musetta. Nineteen. Working as a musician. You’re getting married?” I blabbed, only focusing on the last question.

“Not really.” He admitted. “Next month, we’ll have an engagement party. You want to come? The more the merrier.” Engagement party. I felt the last breath in me go out like a light bulb switched off.

 

A few weeks later, Jaron and I became really good friends. He was really cheerful, and I was willing. But I wanted something more than friendship. The worst part is he uses me as an advisor. He asked me all sorts of questions about what girls liked and each time I had to force an answer through my fake-smiling teeth. It was worse than tortured. Seeing Jaden- I mean Jaron, talk about another girl so enthusiastically and excited. Jealousy was never one of my signature traits, but it is now. Every now and then, I would lose it and snap at Linnie or Mom. And I’d feel horrible and lose control. It was an endless and vicious cycle.

“What are you going to do?” Linnie demanded. “Jaron’s party is next week! And you haven’t even told him about you.”

“I know. But whenever I want to tell him the truth, I just can’t do it. I just can’t .” I knew I was useless. Maybe it was better to just leave him alone. Maybe it was just me who missed him. Maybe we weren’t really destined to be together forever. That night, I packed my bags and left the house I grew up in.

 

Three months later...

 

I leaned out the window of my little apartment in Paris. After all these months, you’d have thought that I’d cast Jaron aside. He’s probably already married, I thought miserably. When I first recalled my memories of Jaden, I thought he would remember me too. I spent every single day investigating what I could find out. I had always looked forward to the day I reunite with him. But I’d never thought of this situation.

I walked towards the little dining table with an envelope with neat handwriting on it, addressing me Etta. Must be someone I know. I slit open the envelope and read the letter inside.

 

 

Dear Etta,

Hey, it’s Jaron. Linnie gave me your address. I’m getting married next week, and I’d love it if you could play your viola at my marriage. I never got to hear the whole song you were playing on below the bridge where we first met. It really touched me in way which words cannot express, and I’m pretty sure my fiance would love it too. Please, just come home for a bit. For me?

Love,

Jaron

 

 

Great. Good news is, he’s not married. Bad news, not yet.

 

“So? What are you going to do? He getting married, for heaven’s sake. Give me some reaction.” Linnie demanded over the phone.

“So what? What kind of reaction do you want?” The phone was placed between my shoulder and my ear as I was packing for the trip.

“I thought the two of you were bounded or something like that.” She sounded disappointed.

“Lin, we were bounded in the past life, not this one. We were all supposed to start afresh. Nobody was supposed to remember anything.”

“Fine. Do what you want.” I heard a beep and the phone went dead. I sighed and slipped the phone in my pocket. Everything’s changing now. Everything but me.

 

I signed my name at the wedding reception and went in the venue. It was an outdoor meadow. The band was on the stage, doing a rehearsal. Jaron spotted me and waved frantically. He rushed over and gave me a big hug.

“Musetta! You disappeared all of a sudden! Thank goodness you’re here now. I’ve missed you,” He smiled warmly. The crooked grin was the same as ever. My heart sank when I remembered that this smile would belong to someone else after this ceremony.

“Yeah, so I’m back. When do I play my viola?” I made my voice as piercing as possible, hoping he would hate me and not want me around anymore.

“Etta...” His face fell a bit. But it lightened back a few seconds later. Great. “Well, I was hoping you play your music instead of the wedding march. Can you?”

“Whatever.” I turned and headed for a seat. Someone grabbed my arm and I whipped around. Jaron was staring at me, stunned.

“Etta? Is everything alright? Did I-did I do anything wrong?” He looked upset. Great.

“No, it’s not your fault. It’s just that I’m not in a good mood and I’d rather you let me go now. I need to practice for a bit.” I managed to muster a cold glare at his muscular arm. His arm shot away immediately.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll...I’ll leave then.” He left down-hearted. I felt horrid doing what I did just now. I took out my viola and did practices on several parts of the song. This was worse than what I had imagined, or hoped to imagine.

Sooner than I feared, the wedding started. I readied my viola and looked for a signal. Jaron did a quick thumbs up and I started my piece. I remembered times when Jaden had played this music for me whenever I felt down. It had never failed to cheer me up. Not now. Now, it just sounds like a funeral march of my heart to me despite the much effort I put in it.

I barely saw the bride and her accompaniment as I desperately bit back tears sliding down my cheek. When my piece was done, I looked up, surprised to find Jaron wide-eyed and frozen. Yikes. Did my music really did turn out to be a funeral march? I stumbled back to the audience and took my seat beside Linnie.

“You did great. Better than I’d ever heard. Good job.” She murmured and put her arm around me, rubbing my shoulder as she did that. I placed my head on her shoulder. My tears fell like rain. They didn’t taste salty like they said in books. Bitter. Very bitter. And sad. The priest droned on and on. Finally, it came to the most dreaded time for me.

The priest turned to Jaron. “Do you take this woman as your lawfully wedded wife for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health?” That was the last straw. I would have burst crying out loud if Linnie hadn’t stuffed her fist in my mouth.

“No. I’m so sorry, Agatha. I know this is really unfair to you, but I can’t marry you. I’m so sorry.” I looked up. The bride had her hand clasped to her mouth, her mascara running down her face like a loose hosepipe. She looked like a raccoon in a wedding dress. The audience aroused and it was impossible to hear what Linnie was yelling at me. I left the meadow and sat under a tree to wait for the whole thing to pass. A man walked towards me. His shadow covered me when he was in front of me. I looked up slowly.

“Jaron, what are you-” I didn’t get to continue. His hand had flew over my mouth and covered it thoroughly.

“Do you want the whole world to know the centre of attention had crept out? Come with me. I need to show you something.” He hissed and pulled my wrist.

 

I found myself amidst a field of lavender an hour later.

“Jaron, what do you mean by this? This is-” I paused. This was where he proposed to me. Jaden did anyway. Jaron came closer and held my hand.

“Jaron, what are you doing?” I stared at his face blankly. “Why did you call off the wedding? Why are you holding my hand?” And stop giving me false hopes.

“You of all people should know. That song, the one you played in place of the wedding march. That was our song. No one else knows that.” He spoke with the gentleness I hadn’t heard him use with me for a lifetime.

“The-the song? I thought you didn’t-”

“I remember now, Sera. It took me two decades but I finally did. It was your music that brought me back.” Sera. Only Jaden ever used that name for me. I leaned in his arms.

“Jaden, Jaden, Jaden, Jaden.” I kept chanting his name over and over again. I felt him shake slightly with laughter.

“Why do you keep calling my past name, Etta? This is the present me, Jaron. The past is in the past. It doesn’t matter now. Let it go, love.” He stroked my hair tenderly.

“You can never let go of the past. The past always matters. It’s because of it that we are here now.” I retorted.

He smiled my favorite yet unforgettable crooked smile. “Yes. It sure is.”


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