There he sat with a goblet of wine; wine produced from the grapes of his own vineyard. He was filled with rage, anger and love. He stared into the flames in the fireplace and his eyes rested on the oil painting hung on the mantle, a family heirloom. It was a landscape depicting the vineyard and the land which seemed to extend beyond the horizon. It had stood there for years as if to remind him of the horrors of his childhood. Those grape vines…
He heard the cries yet again. With a piteous scream she was crying out: “Why are you doing this to me?” He truly loved her, but that was how it was to be. She had to stay in the dark along with his memories. Nobody was to know. Nothing was to be told…He had tried hard to keep them in dark all these years.
All these years he had lived in fear. He had managed to maintain his strength only by feeding on those fears. He heard her scream yet again. “Don’t do this to me!” The voice was now feeble. Only her sobs could be heard.
He had another sip of the wine. He leaned further back in his armchair and stretched his legs toward the fireplace. He stared as the memories came to life in front of his eyes. He stared at them as if for the first time. A very young boy wandering among the grape vines. It was quite obvious he was the lord of the household. He had raised his head. The sun was shining bright and autumn was near. The grapes had matured. The workers had started to work diligently.
Little time was left for the festivities. The aged wine would be out of the cellars and the new harvest would be celebrated. He was unaware how far from the chateau he had wandered off. Hehad always taken pleasure in wandering off far from the chateau, which would scare the staff in charge of his well-being.Suddenly he felt a hand grip his shoulder; he was caught once again! He turned round with a mischievous grin, but his capturer wasn’t whom he had expected to see! And what right did he have to grab him like that? He felt a thud and was thrown off balance just as he was to open his mouth. He was small, so small… He clenched his fists. His captor had a strange expression on his face. An expression which filled him shock and fear. He failed to understand what was happening. When he did, it was already too late.
The woman cried yet again. Her voice was feeble. She had no more strength to bang the door. He loved her so much!
He stared back at the painting. Her long hair was pulled back. Hair should be let loose and free. He himself abhorred wearing a wig… The grape vines…The most decisive moments of his life. The first place he had ever tasted death…And the pain…The moment when he had clenched his fists and struggled in vain. That was all he was able to do. And that voice…The voice he would never forget. The voice that would ring in his ears forever. “If you tell, I will kill you…”
After many a year, even when he had turned into a handsome dashing youth, the voice would still be there. He had grown up now. He could protect himself. Yet, he would never be able to protect himself from the fear that was rooted in him from childhood. A feeling he could never confess. And nobody was ever to know. The lord of this land and his dark secret! His would look proud as he walked among the ladies and admiring looks of young people; yet, the rage grew within him when left alone at night. His impulses and the feelings beyond his control. The sensations he knew he would never be able to let a woman experience.
Time was passing, and he had to abide by the land’s strict rule. He had to start a family and provide an heir. If not, he would have to explain to his aging father why he was unable to fulfill his obligations. And it was too late for this.
Nobody knew why he always kept so quiet. The image he gave to the outer world was an authoritative, yet just and noble landlord, proud of his principles. He talked little. He could not stand being challenged. His penetrating looks would not allow anyone to do so, anyway. He hid his destructive feelings by distancing himself from others. He respected others but stayed away. The times he felt any pleasure and possibly happiness were the times he was left alone with his books. He read, he questioned; he wrote…Only then the real world faded into the distance.
He did not realize that with the rage that kept boiling inside, he was condemning himself to a life where love could never flourish. He gathered people around him from time-to-time, to listen respectfully to him. He was so knowledgeable. He was the guest of honor at every reception. It was at one of those receptions when he saw her. She sat with her black elegant outfit, graceful manners and attentive eyes. Anyone could distinguish her from the rest at a mere glance. The fact that he had never seen her before seemed to prove him right. She was a distant relative who came for a visit, someone not from these lands. The thought appealed to him.
God had presented him a possibility. He had to make use of it. After the introductions and during their first get togethers, he was quite impressed by the young woman. The rest was as expected. A grand wedding ceremony but a lonely woman. A woman who would only be him and not allowed to be with anyoneelse. The image of the respectful husband turned into the brutal husband in the years to follow. As for the girl, she had fallen for him, had loved him in a way, and she felt and knew it all.
After all The Knight in Shining Armour, whom all waited upon, had fallen for her. As the folk talked about this for days, she kept her silence. She only presented a happy image. During the grand receptions, she would wonder around the guests in all her grace and elegance. She would attend to all her guests, ignoring none. All along she knew her husband’s watchful eyes were following her. Once in a while she would look at him and smile. She wore her black dress with the same elegance and knew that in her next life she would only wear white.
He got up from the armchair and walked into the deep corridors of the house. He could no longer hear her echoing voice.
He loved her so much!
He walked along the corridor he used to run along when he was a happy child. The corridor was laden with oil paintings, all family heirlooms. At one time the house was full of light. Now gloom had descended. He entered his wife’s bedroom. He glanced at the bed she slept in, and her neat belongings. He opened her wardrobe and touched the red dress that used to suit her so; yet, she was no longer to wear it. He tried to smell her. He wanted to cry. He had last cried at the vineyard. He had buried deep inside the need to cry over memories of her. He had never understood how his wife came to know the secret he had hidden so well and with such great care. The look of compassion in her eyes had always pained his heart.
He looked at the desk. The brown bound notebook stood there along with a quill pen next to it. He had never dared to open that notebook. Maybe one day when he felt prepared to face the truth, he might open it. Obviously, his wife had accumulated her silence there. She had poured all of it into that brown bound notebook. One day when all was over, he might read it. He traced the cover. He touched the quill. He turned around and left the same way he came in.
He turned to the mysterious room—the room no one was allowed to enter but him alone. Here was his real world. His rage, anger, his love were all hung on the walls of this room. He turned toward the window. He could see the garden with little effort. In the garden a woman with her hair fixed in a bun came to life, walking gracefully. What beauty!
In the beginnings she was just a woman walking around with a sad smile, and the eyes that viewed the surroundings with wonder. She took interest in every flower. She gazed upon each one as if to converse with them. With a book in her hand, she would sit in a corner, calmly open it, and soon be absorbed in it. Every now and then, she would raise her eyes and look around to see if anyone was coming. Then, once again, she would return to her reading. Then she would kneel on her knees and touch the earth, and she would become one with it and the energy of the earth, all the while keeping her eyes closed. Once she opened her eyes, she would look up to the sky with eyes full of gratitude for receiving from above what she had been deprived of on earth. He always wondered what she thought about those moments; what she felt as she touched the earth. He had never asked her; he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the response. During those moments he felt he was being touched.
One day he notices a difference in the scene that he had come to memorize as he watched her: the look in her eyes and the sad smile. A sadness that awaited the time her husband would speak to her. The waiting in silence while her husband disappeared. The moment when she would tell him her love. Just a single moment.
Her cousin would sometimes join her. He would never know what they shared, but his jealousy further infuriated him—the silhouette of the cousin who appeared following those unsuccessful nights and the brutal behavior he had adopted. The room he left without uttering a word. And upon waking he saw her lovely face, sometimes caressing his face with sympathy. The look of admiration mixed with love in her eyes.
All these pained him. He could not stand pity or the ever-growing feeling of betrayal. He was now certain about the cousin and her. The wife he loved so much; the lonely woman who had come from afar.
When he came to his senses, it was dark; the shadows had appeared, and the lady was gone. Only the barking of dogs could be heard.
Drained, he returned to his bedroom and lay on the bed with his clothes on. Little could be heard from downstairs, only a few sobs and a meek “Don’t do this to me.” He looked up to the ceiling. It was dawn and he was still there, eyes wide open. How many hours, how many days had passed; He knew not. Was it important?
He got up slowly. His face carried no expression. With eyes staring into emptiness, he started descending the stairs. The further he went down, the darker it became and the smell of rust increased. He pushed the heavy door. At one time his wife used to paint behind this door, but she was never able to show her paintings to her husband whom she dearly loved. She had poured out her love on those canvasses and adorned it in color. Her paintings signified her love for him.
With the opening of the door, the deadly cold hit him. He had always despised the cold. He watched the woman on the floor for awhile. He kneeled and touched her throat. Her breathing was weak. She was too meek to open her eyes but knew he was there. Her expression was one of pain of not being able to tell. She knew he was there, and at last she had surrendered with all her love. If only she had the strength to open her mouth, the only words she would have spoken would have been “I love you.”
He grabbed her throat with his strong hands and started wringing her neck. The woman had already been worn out and gave no struggle until she stopped breathing.
When he opened his eyes, he was lying on his bed, still dressed; next to him lay his wife with a calm look on her face. There was neither hatred nor fury. Maybe this was the happiest night they had shared. On this night they had witnessed love and being loved.
He turned and looked at her. It was as if she were asleep, beautiful, just as in the beginning.
He felt the pain in his eyes and unaware of the time. “This was how it was meant to be,” he thought. He slowly got up; there were things to be done.
It was a quiet funeral. She was now in repose at the best spot facing the grapevines. She was buried there only with him and his memories.
With empty eyes, he walked towards the magnificent structure and started climbing the stairs. He entered his wife’s bedroom and walked to the writing desk. Without hesitation, he opened the bound notebook and started reading. After a few moments, he almost collapsed in the chair.
When he lifted his eyes from the notebook, he didn’t know how much time had elapsed. His eyes were fixed to the quill pen. He could not control his flowing tears. He got up and ran downstairs. Again, he opened the heavy door, entered and looked at the paintings for the first time…with tears in his eyes.
He came to the tomb, knelt down on his knees with head in hand and cried and cried. Finally, he was crying.
A rumor went round the town folk for years. A rumor about a man who never spoke or ever went out, and the phantom of a graceful lady roaming the house.
A love story never to be known.
It was on Facebook in real life that they met. The question he asked interested her: “Are you comfortable where you are?” She had recently divorced and thought it was her ex-husband playing a trick on her. “Who are you? How did you find me?” she asked. The response was yet more interesting. “I would find you anywhere.”
Here the chat began, and soon after they met. During their year-and-a-half relationship, they attended the light bridge work. The previous story happened there.
The Marquis and his love.
Now as two good friends, they correspond. They still love each other very much, and in a strange way, try to avoid hurting one another. They still find one another everywhere.
Love and pain do not end with our work; yet, the past lives do.
Publisher’s Note: This is a story of past lives which surfaced during one session of a Bridge of Light study. Bridge of Light is a spiritual practice through which we reach out and find events in our karmic pool of knowledge. Bridge of Light brings to light these experiences and heals their effects in our present life. The work done with Reiki symbols is not a part of the classic system. In other words, it is not taught in Reiki’s three forms of degrees. Its roots go back to Tibet. It is taught especially to practitioners in higher levels of spiritual training. It’s named Bridge of Light because the techniques work by building a bridge between the past life and present. The technique is safe because it employs Reiki energy. The person being treated is fully conscious. They are fully aware of their surroundings and conscious while relating their past experiences. Thus, no outside interference is possible. In many cases, very serious results have been achieved. This Bridge of Light study has been written with the permission of the people involved under the condition that their names are not revealed.