I’ve been researching the idea of reincarnation lately. I’m not exactly sure why this particular concept has been stuck in my brain for several weeks, but it has. I’m in between books right now, having begun a new manuscript, but not sure where that one’s going, and the idea of reincarnation—a love story about reincarnation—keeps popping into my mind.
Last week, I posted a poll on my Instagram story to see how many of my connections actually believe in reincarnation, and the result was a resounding 50/50. I’m not sure what I believe myself, but the concept sure is interesting. I’ve met people in my life that I have felt I knew before—a feeling of familiarity so strong it can be unnerving. Have you?
I haven’t tried to tackle writing a fictional story about it; I haven’t outlined anything, and I don’t even know where in the world this story may go (whether it’s a short story or a full novel, or just this piece of flash fiction), so today, I decided to see what that story might feel like if I tried it. Hence, a piece of flash fiction to see what you guys think of it.
As writers, we write stuff, and most of the time we hate it, rework it, delete a lot of it, start over, try again, try again harder. That’s pretty much how it goes. This little thing I wrote this morning came out of my head in about 40 minutes. It was kind of sitting in my brain waiting to be written.
This is what a first draft of anything looks like. It’s rough, it’s raw, it could be crap, and it’s just the beginning (or the end, if I dump it and try something new). It also could end up being the middle of the story or the end, as a previous prompt I wrote became when I wrote Beneath the Mimosa Tree.
I’m in a total lull with my writing. Teaching four online courses and trying to finish out the semester takes an inordinate amount of time, but this morning I had to write something for myself.
It was there. Begging to be written.
And so, I share with you some FRIDAY FICTION. Who knows where in the heck it will go.
Be well, all.
Cassie and Dean – A Short Story for Friday Fiction Told in Parts
by Stephanie Verni | all rights reseved | copyright April 2020
Cassie sits at the table waiting for Dean to arrive. She sips her French 75, a drink she requested which required her to tell the bartender how to make it: gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and dry champagne. She knows what Dean looks like from a photograph her friend showed her when she agreed to this. And although there are quite a few men who are brown-haired, medium height with a medium build, and olive skin who will most likely walk through the door to the restaurant at this busy time, she inherently believes she will know him without second guessing. When she saw the photo Elaina showed her, she felt something unusual course through her body, a feeling that perhaps something in his makeup, his character, and his demeanor would prove that after all these years, she may have been right about all the dreams and visions and déjà vu moments she has had since she was a little girl.
Dean has only known Elaina for a little over two months, ever since she moved into the apartment above him and they occasionally bump into each other on the elevator or the stairs. Her boyfriend, Dom, seems like a decent guy, and the three of them have dined out on the back patio of the complex, where they grilled burgers and drank beer. When Dean explained that he was single, Elaina probed him pretty well, the journalist in her out in full force to get the whole story of Dean’s life. He shares little with others. The times he has tried to tell his buddies that he feels as if he has lived a prior life always comes with a good ribbing and endless teasing. “Were you a knight? A king?” they ask him. He isn’t really sure what he was in a former life, but the deep-seeded feeling of having lived before and having experienced things a second time in this life were far too compelling for him to believe otherwise.
Then Elaina showed him the girl she wanted to fix him up with and shared Cassie’s Facebook profile photo. There was something about her eyes, the slope of her nose, the tilt of her head, and the gloss of her hair that made him pause. He’d been on six dates over the last year, two of them blind dates, since he and Heather had split up. But this one—this one photograph—offered him a sense of familiarity he had longed for since he was fourteen and felt that first pang of remembrance.
The door swings open, and Cassie straightens her skirt and sits up straighter, moving her hair off her shoulders and pursing her lips to make sure the lipstick was still in place. Cassie keeps her eye on the door and knows it is him as soon as he walks by the window. His gait, the dimple in his cheek, the way he opens the door with swagger—all familiar to her. In other circumstances, she may have felt nervous, uneasy, even anxious, but tonight she feels as if she is meeting an old friend. She watches him scan the restaurant and he sees her without having to flag him down. That was one of the tests she committed to earlier. The other test, she is about to find out.
“A beauty for the ages,” Dean says as a greeting, and she looks up at him, a bit startled by the forwardness, but then instantly knows he feels it, too. They stare at each other, the intensity of their glances filling them both with a sense of awe and wonder. He bends to kiss her on the cheek, and she reaches for his hand, which he takes as he lowers himself into the seat beside her.
They continue to look at each other in disbelief, an odd sense of curiosity and nostalgia passing between them without words needing to be spoken, their hands still touching, heat rising from their skin, images of time slipping by too quickly for them to catch its tail, and then Cassie speaks, afraid to let the moment get away from them, the churning of a feeling so strong, it is met with both an ache and euphoria bellowing inside her.
“We are a long way from home, Rudolph,” she says.
“That we are, Adelaide,” he says.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Communication at Stevenson University. She is the author of 5 works of fiction and the co-author of one academic textbook on Event Planning. Her character-driven books are set in beautiful Maryland locations and examine the realities of the human heart. Connect with her on Instagram at stephanie.verni or on Twitter at @stephverni. Or, visit her Amazon page at Stephanie Verni, Author.