« October 2003 | Main

November 19, 2003

Dina

Dina, I know what I’ve been told, but I’m just still clinging to desperate hope, so I write this in case somehow, some way, you’ll be able to see it. It's some small comfort to me now to write to you as if you will read it, no matter how much reality wants to tell me otherwise. I imagine you waking up at 4 AM and checking to see if I'd written you. I always loved that feeling. This has all been so crazy, but I’ll do my best to make some sense out of it. Life went so quickly from being normal, even mundane, to a nightmare of confusion that I’m still trying to make sense out of. Ok, mustn't ramble.

First and most importantly: Jesse. I’m actually sitting here next to him now! I followed the directions we were given, and found myself here at a campground in the slush about an hour or two from Redland. I arrived this morning, and have learned the truth, finally. At least the truth as Jesse knows it.

Jesse’s a great-looking kid, around 16 I’d say. He’s a genius, apparently, with computers. A while back, while hacking around, he stumbled upon something that he shouldn’t have, something to do with a huge computer system that oversees everything, basically. I don’t even come close to understanding what he told me, but suffice it to say that it was huge, and it set everything that led to where we are now into motion.

Jesse turned to his father, who was a bigwig at a computer company for help. After looking into things, dad called Jesse and said he needed to meet with him and his mother right away. To make a long story short, somebody was waiting for them, and his parents were taken into custody, and Jesse was able to escape using his mother’s car.

He didn’t know where to turn, where to go to be safe. He found himself driving out to his parents’ best friends’ home. There, he found refuge, a place of relative safety. He told the couple what had happened, showed them some pictures he’d been able to take, and they let him stay with them until they could figure out what to do. Keeping a low profile as best they could, they discovered that Jesse’s father’s company was in on things, somehow, covering up his disappearance with a concocted story of his retirement, which they knew not to be true. Jesse and his guardians continued to try to discover what had happened to his parents, when their time ran out.

One night, men came to the house and took the couple into custody. Jesse again was able to avoid capture and went on the run again, finally hooking up with some sort of cyber gang, who lived in the shadows, always on the move.

While with the gang, he was able to discover the fate of the couple he’d been staying with. They had somehow been given new identities and had been moved to another city, and incredibly, with no memories of what had happened. From his place in the shadows, Jesse was able to keep tabs on the couple, and took steps to make sure they would never find out about him or their past, for their own safety.
That couple was you and me, Dina. Jesse knew us as Ryan and Sylvie Emerson. Ryan was a successful architect, Sylvie was a gifted artist (no surprise to me now, really). We had been good friends of his parents, James and Lynne Avery. We aren’t Jesse’s parents, we never were, but we sort of became his foster parents for a time.

The very thing Jesse was trying to prevent came true. We found out about him and our previous lives. Because of that, we once again became targets of those who are behind this whole thing. We pursued a path that Jesse desperately was trying to steer us away from, but in the end he was unsuccessful. We found our former selves. We found him. We found our nightmare.

So, I’m not sure what my future is. I’ve lost you, I’ve lost the son I thought I had, I’ve lost everything. I’m assured that if I return home, there will be more tragedy awaiting me. So I find myself a fugitive. A fugitive from my own past.

The good news is that Jesse and his friends may be able to help me. I’m not entirely sure of what they are offering me, but I really don’t see a choice but to join up with them. They seem to be a trustworthy, loyal bunch, which is good, as I really have nowhere else to turn.

Well, I need to give up the computer now. I hope to write again to you soon, Dina. I hope you can find your way to this message in a cyber bottle somehow. I miss you so much; I can’t even express my grief at losing you. Thank you for your love, your companionship, the great life we lived together. You were God’s gift to me, which I didn’t even come close to deserving. I would have easily given myself for you, had I had that chance.

I will love you Dina. Always.

Ethan

Posted by at 4:16 AM

November 18, 2003

Time to breathe. I must

Time to breathe. I must breathe. I can here. I'm ok here. Am I ok? Oh god what's happening? I don't understand this. It didn't happen. It's not happening. She must still be there. Oh god! She's gone! Her hand was reaching out. Was it reaching for me? Why didn't I take it and save her? Could I have saved her? Her hand. Our ring. Oh god, why didn't I go back? Why didn't I get her? Running. Rain. Voices. She slipped. She couldn't keep up. She screamed. Her scream. Her pain. Her scream. I turned to help. The wall. It wasn't there before. Her hand. Oh god!

Went to the bar, met him. He knows Jesse, told us where he is. She was so happy. She was going to meet her son, our son. We were going to see him! They were coming. "Run!" We couldn't make it to the car! The rain. She slipped. She fell behind, and I didn't stay with her! Why wasn't I there for her? Why did I run? Who are they? Oh, my God! Am I safe? Jesse? She'll be with Jesse. She loves him, she loves me. I love her so. Dina. Oh, god, you're so beautiful! Dina! Your hand was just there reaching. You were reaching for me.

The rain. The wall. Your hand. Reaching. Breathe.

Posted by at 2:42 AM

November 12, 2003

OK, here's what we need to do. I've got us two tickets for Friday morning. You and I can head out there, meet with him, and hopefully finally get to the bottom of this once and for all.

While we're there, we can also stop by that bar and try to talk to the bartender some more. We can also check out the spot where I found the CD, head over to Murpha, maybe even try to track down the house.

Hopefully we'll finally be able to get some answers. God knows I need to figure this whole thing out. I'm not sure I can handle this much longer.

See you tomorrow.

Posted by at 10:06 PM

November 11, 2003

wood grain, lamp light

I have never, ever felt so wired in my life.

I pace these floors, these worn, gorgeous hardwood floors. I stare at the original boards, the pieces of repair boards inserted every now and then as over the years this house has settled. In the right lamp glow, the floors gleam warmly - the varnish is yellow and amber, the cracks between blackened and smooth with age.

The streetlamps outside the window are that weird flat orange, urban efficiency and eternal daylight for the city. Light seems so important to me now. I can't sleep without the lights on now, I am so ... excited? scared?
 
 

numb?

This is ridiculous. My body seems to crave warmth and the feel of you by my side more than ever. I feel empty, my chest aching with memories and with love, most of all. How strange, to miss someone my logical mind tells me I've never met, much less gave birth to. This body, my hips, these arms, my voice, soothing him in the night. I can't even soothe myself, knowing we lost him somehow. Lost track of ourselves.

That's got to be what it is, right? We've lost the track? We've somehow stepped outside of ourselves, like bones out of skin, context replaced by glamorie.

The lack of sleep no longer seems to bother me - at least, not in a way that drags me down. The sense of urgency, the quickening in my heartbeat when I look at that dear photograph - I see your intelligence there, in his eyes. He is a reflection of us at the time we lost him.

... I just spent another ten minutes pacing from one end of the house to the other. I could hear the floor creak gently, with character, and it makes me feel slightly sick to realize that this home was never ours to begin with. That we've placed ourselves here, pretending to be a settled happy couple, things gathering dust that have just been placed there, what, only yesterday, it seems?
When did we get here? When did we leave there? Exactly?

These questions drop like maddening rain into my head and my songwriting. The exhiliration over Jesse - I feel that perhaps I should tame it, but I don't want to. I want to keep spinning out this joy and relief and fear until it coalesces, and we're transported back to Kansas, back even further until it's all color again, and we're happy and three and life is sweet.

My fear is overlaid with a latticework of determination. I feel as though I can carry the world, as long as I get to see my boy again. As long as I get to weave my fingers into yours and look out on a world that makes sense again. Questions falling, new pieces and old floorboards.

I was scared, I am still scared, I will find the path.
You've done such an amazing job of putting the pieces together. I know it's been so hard for you to deal with my nightmares and my erratic emotions lately. Keeping involved in your job is probably the best thing for you - we now know why I've been unearthing all this strange detritus - this mystery has got to be the reason, the impetus, the keystone.

These ley lines must lead to him. The earth is fading back from summer, even fading back from autumn, but the trail is not cold.
I will be very happy to be in your arms again. If you call me when you wake, let me tell you about the e-mail we got today from that address I set up. Someone's got information we can use. I think we need to meet in person and get this all straightened out. Our life is out there somewhere, and while I think this one's OK, I don't think I will ever feel complete until Jesse's back with us again. That responsibility is too, too precious.

Posted by dina at 10:53 AM

Well, I've hit dead ends

Well, I've hit dead ends on every path I've tried. Murpha, King County records, nothing leads anywhere that helps at all. I've stared and stared at that note, hoping it would jog something, but no. I've tried folding it, holding it up to the light, looking for hidden messages, heh. I tried playing around with the numbers, even. I get nowhere. Of course, it's not really easy working long distance from a hotel room.

Since your experience at the cybercafe place, I even find myself constantly looking over my shoulder to see if I'm being followed. I'm still having a real hard time getting my brain around this whole thing. It still is all so improbable, yet I just can't ignore what stares me in the face.

My meetings have actually been a nice escape today, which is good for a change.

How are you doing? I'm really sorry I've had to be gone at all this week. I'll make it up to you, I promise. Starting with dinner and a movie when I get back.

Posted by at 6:59 AM

November 7, 2003

cold

I was going to post directly from Cyberia, but I'm still shaking, and I felt like staying in that place one second longer would be more than I could bear.

My hands are so cold right now. This cold snap and the adrenalin coursing through me right now have me fighting the shakes. Ugh.

I was madly curious if there were a CD here in the city, so I went ahead and checked it out without you. I parked in the lot across the street, and it seemed a lifetime that I waited first on the sidewalk, and then at the median for all the cars to flood by, so I could cross. The warm smells of the elotes carts wafted over - chili powder, steamed corn, sweet smell of shaved ice flavorings, mixed together and carried in the damp, cold air.

Inside this little hole in the wall internet cafe, it was warm and inviting and somewhat cramped. There was a woman at one terminal jotting notes and kicking up her feet in one of the comfy chairs as she transmitted data via her laptop. Another couple of young men were scrolling through shows at the Double Door at one of the cafe's computers.

The place was too small to go looking for any sort of hidden spot - so I bucked up all my courage and asked the guy that was there if there was any sort of package for 'Emerson.'

"Nope," he smiled, "Someone already got it. So sorry."

"What?? When??" I managed to squeak out. Reminder to self, jaw hitting floor decidedly unsexy.

"I dunno, but I think one of our other staff members handed it off just a couple of hours ago."

Stunned, but unsure of how to handle this ... disappointment? vertigo? in a public location, I ordered some herbal tea, sipped at it for a few minutes as I perched on a chair, and then thanked the man and headed back across the street to the car, the purple awning one of the only truly colorful spots in my line of vision.

I came home.

A couple of hours ago, someone came into that cafe, and asked for the very thing that was specifically for us to find. I don't know what's going on here, but I am not sure I feel very safe right now. It doesn't feel safe for either of us. How could someone have known about the information we were looking for? Why would they take something that was not meant for their eyes?

Who knows about this? Why do they want this information?

I can't stop shaking.

I am looking over the files you sent me, and I wonder if it would've been the same files at Cyberia, or perhaps something different. An explanation for all of this, a justification for the confusion and fear I am feeling in my heart.

The photo of the boy is the one I stay with the most. That's our boy, Ethan. I can feel it as surely in my heart as my music - he is bound to us much as we are bound to him. The promise of love and care is one that cannot be made lightly. When I look at his photo, I see the same eyes I saw in my dreams - he's brushing past me downtown where everyone around me is dressed in opera wear, he's the one holding my hand in the slate grey darkness of nothingness and loss.

He is mine, and he knows me, through and through. We have been through things together, he and I. He is my wonder and my joy, and right now, he is my sorrow. Where is he, love? Why are we here now, in this place, with no recollection in our lives of this most important aspect? How in the hell did we get Here, when There is a place that doesn't even connect up with our present day? Who did this to us, and why?

I can hardly believe it myself. I look at the documents, and they feel right. And yet, something is very wrong about this. Somehow I refuse to believe we had anything to do with this, that we somehow orchestrated a major upheaval like this. But it looks like we did. And it also looks like someone else knows. I am never going back to that cafe - someone could be watching, you know?

Tomorrow won't get here soon enough, Ethan. You'll be here, and then everything will be at least OK on the surface. We'll have each other.

Posted by dina at 5:20 AM

November 6, 2003

Preoccupied

Wow, it's been so hard to concentrate today. My mind is just reeling, and I keep finding it hard to focus, which hasn't been good.
The good ol' left-brain keeps telling me how there must be some reasonable (reality-based) explanation for everything, but I can't seem to deny the obvious conclusion that all of this good hard evidence seems to be pointing us to. An entire literal former life, job, family. That's so crazy, yet there it is, staring us in the face. Plus the fact that, if you accept that hypothesis, so many things start making sense.

I can't say I've had a flood of memories start coming back. I almost wish I had. It's more of a vague sense of dim familiarities. I keep telling myself these are other peoples' lives, belongings, and yet I'm forced to consider our undeniable handwriting on a wedding certificate that's not even ours!

What does all this mean? Who were we? What happened to us, and why?? Who did this? What of the memories I do have? What was real, what was illusion?

One thing is becoming increasingly clear: To find out, we must find and talk to those who apparently knew us as Ryan and Silvie. Especially the boy.......our son?

I think I'm losing my mind.

Posted by at 8:36 AM

November 2, 2003

Sleepless in...no, I won't

OK, sorry but it's true. This thing kept me up all night last night.

Don't do anything until I get home, then we'll figure out what, if anything, we should do from here. I'll be home tomorrow on 938, unless you hear otherwise.

See you soon....finally!

Posted by at 12:46 PM

.

Yes.

Yes, it is.

?

Posted by dina at 1:00 AM

November 1, 2003

In shock

Dina,

I went down to the High Flyer Bar tonight. I went in, went to the bar and sat down. Nice place, good view, upscale clientele. Seemed like a pretty normal place, so I started to relax a little.

I didn't see anybody I knew, and while I was wondering what to do, the bartender comes up to me. That's when things got weird. He smiled and asked me if I'd like 'the usual.' The usual???

I asked him if he knew me, and he said sure I do, you used to come in here all the time. He then gave me a Mack and Jack's, on the house. It was good, heheh.

I was pretty sure that it was becoming apparent that someone's running around out there who's my twin, so I asked the bartender (Mike) who he thought I was.

He looked a little unsure of himself at that point, and said he didn't quite know what I wanted him to do or say. Me? I have no clue! Then he said he'd just better play it safe and give me something, then whatever happens would be in my hands.

He pulled out an envelope from behind the cash register. It's at this point that I'm not sure how to go on about this. The only thing I can think of to do is to put up a picture of what was inside for you to see, because I need you to verify something for me.

Is this my handwriting????

Posted by at 11:39 AM

Matinee Idol

Honey, please be careful.

I trust in your instincts, though. It's one of the things I adore the most about you. You get people - it's as if you have some innate ability to separate the meat from the gristle when it comes to personalities.

I think that's part of what makes your trips so hard right now. I wish you could just sit with me, quietly, in our living room, and you could tell me why these nights plague me so.

Mmm, tell me all about the movie when you call. If you must communicate with this Todd guy, please, do stay in public areas. I find that I am really intrigued - the sleep-deprived brain in my head feels like an outsider. It's some fantastic story, some movie-of-the-week, but it's happening to us.

Anyway, love you, baby.

Posted by dina at 1:31 AM

OK, this is getting weird

Alright, so I'm sitting here this morning, and someone knocks on the door. I open it and it's that guy Todd Rogan, again! I have no idea how he knew I was back in town, let alone what room I was in!

I told him I didn't really appreciate him stalking me, to which he apologized profusely. He just kept staring at me and asking me questions. Questions about where I lived, where I work, my family, etc. etc. At first, I didn't want to give him any information about me, but then I figured if I did, he would FINALLY realize I'm not who he thinks I am and leave me alone.

But the more questions I answered, the more agitated he became. I tried to ask him what exactly was going on, but he was very evasive, saying something about this being so big, and I would just think he was nuts if he told me, that I'd have to 'see some things for myself.'
I asked him what that meant, and he said he couldn't really say, but if I wanted to get to the bottom of things that I might try stopping by the High Flyer Bar down on the lakefront.

He softened a little then, looked me in the eye and told me that regardless, it was really really good to see me again. Then he left.
So how totally whacked is this? I mean, this just happened, and I'm all shaken up. I almost called the front desk to chew them out for releasing my room number to someone, but something about the guy, his sincerity I think, made me decide not to. Plus, I just keep having the nagging feeling that I do know this guy, somehow, although I have no idea how.

Anyway, I get to look forward to a boring weekend with nothing to do, and trying not to let this thing bug me. I just may stop by that bar he mentioned tonight just to check it out. Who knows, maybe something there will let me put this whole thing to rest. At the very least, I can drown myself in Pyramids, heh. I wish it was warmer, or I'd rent a sailboat and relax. Maybe I'll go see a flick.

Ahh, matinees. Just like college.

Posted by at 1:10 AM