Zee almost screamed; it had happened again: Another man had told her the same thing — about his light ship and cosmic spacemen — and from this one she’d accepted a ring! And she would have married him, so she sighed. He was so handsome, intelligent, strong…
“How could a nut like that ever provide for a family though: it’s all gone wrong. I couldn’t have alien space-babies,” she told herself, and yet some doubts lingered, or, more precisely, she clung to maybes, since with this one her heart had been fingered. No matter how far out or from above he’d come into her life, she was in love.
“It’s the same as with my ex-boyfriend, Jay!” she told her best friend, Effie, on the phone.
“My trouble is the men I meet are gay,” said Effie, “married, poor or dumb as stone, but your situation’s weirder than mine. I really don’t know what I can tell you, except to say it’s not you; you’re just fine. … can’t think why you attract the guys you do.”
Effie always tried to be consoling, but this time the matter was past her scope, and no amount of friendly cajoling could lift Zee out of her romantic mope. “Why,” asked Zee, “are the men that I find hot intriguing due to the problems they’ve got?”
Ray taught elementary school and was a “step-in-consciousness,” a “light- being,” but Zee was even more concerned because he was the only man she was seeing. She assumed that he hid it from the kids — not a tale for those pre- adolescent — and Ray would probably be out on the skids if the Board heard he was “luminescent.”
Besides, he’d hidden it well from her till he chose to make the revelation. If only he’d let the issue slumber, then she wouldn’t feel this consternation. She really wanted to marry the man, but this delusion didn’t fit her plan.
Then Ray arranged for a demonstration for Zee to see his alien nature to prove it wasn’t his machination.
Zee said, “Alright, I’ll be there at eight, sure.”
By nine o’clock that evening, Zee lost hope Ray’d ever be father to her child. His show only served to prove him a dope she thought (and thought she was being mild). First, he’d spun a piece of tape hung on a string suspended from a lampshade at arm’s length. It spun, but it could have been anything that caused it — not telekinetic strength.
“Now watch’ I’ll make it spin the other way!” he said. Zee felt embarrassed for poor Ray.
Sensing no enchantment, Ray used his tact and asked Zee to become his assistant. Participation’s how one knows a fact, he knew. In fact, she was less resistant to new ideas when she’d some role to play and might suspend her disbelief in him.
With this major barrier moved away, Ray’s own private hopes would not seem so dim. Ray’d read Zee’s aura and re-checked all signs to determine she was “Unawoken.” One can’t disguise the way one’s aura shines. She was like he; she (for whom he’d spoken) might one day call herself an Episaph, if she wouldn’t dismiss it with a laugh.
Ray placed a votive candle on the floor, inviting Zee to sit before its flame — he opposite the one he would adore as soon as she could recall her true name.
“Now place your hands in front of mine, like this, but don’t allow our fingertips to touch. I will have to do some self-hypnosis — just simple concentration in-as-much as it’s merely projection of aura; you’ll be able to feel the energy.
“Zee, please don’t play like you’re some dumb Dora, and I’ll prove everything I’ve said, really. No matter what you see or hear you must keep focused on what you feel … and trust!”
In lotus position Ray closed his eyes and, in candlelight lycanthropy, changed. He took on a look both ancient and wise, as all his facial features rearranged into a mask that was both god and beast and gave Zee the impression he could see impassively as Egypt’s sands, at least.
“Yes, I can; it feels orange,” answered Zee. Before she knew that Ray’d not said a thing, he had begun instructing her aloud:
“As you begin to feel it broadening, we’ll just angle it downward to enshroud the candle-flame. Now!” Zee was left no doubt; as she lowered her hands, the flame went out.
His chin near his chest, both mouth and eyes closed, Ray could not just simply have blown it out; Zee’d taken no drugs and she hadn’t dozed nor been indulging in a drinking-bout, so she guessed it had to be illusion. That was the only thing that might explain what she’d witnessed, resolve her confusion, yet she also knew this tack was in vain. She was being inescapably brought to a truth so incredible to her that the mere acceptance of it was fraught with all sorts of identity danger, but she decided to go with the flow,
“What’s unknown won’t hurt you, just make you grow.”
“Zee, first let me confess something to you: It wasn’t I who put the candle out. I only just encouraged you to do what you needed to find what you’re about – a powerful aura’s not half of it.
“Listen, do you hear the music next-door? Hear the beat? You may have to strain a bit … hear it? Does it sound closer than before? Does it shift to a slightly lower pitch the more you concentrate on listening? Zee, if you weren’t such an obstinate bitch you’d realize you too are glistening with a light that doesn’t come from this earth; who you are comes from way beyond your birth.
“You’re a telepath, but you’re blocking it. … so afraid of what you already know! You just slowed time, and still you won’t admit you’re more than Zee, so Zee won’t ever grow. The Zee you think you are shall age, remorse and die, never achieving expression of the spirit within you, which of course cannot conform to earthly profession. If you want to waste a life denying yourself and all we are, that’s up to you; though, to me, it does seem mystifying how you could choose such a shallow self-view for a being of your magnificence. It’s like hiding from God’s beneficence.
“You are a being called an Episaph with memories beyond this mortal frame — this repository for your behalf. For galactic eons you’ve been the same yet changing, independent of all form. Whoever you might think you are is small, though it takes you outside this planet’s norm — infinitesimal compared by all you truly are and all the lives you’ve known. ‘Know the truth and the truth shall set you free.’ I’ve done all I can do; the seeds are sown, but you have to waken and come to me.
“As only another of your own kind can, I love you more than any earthly man.”
Zee was staggered by Ray’s new proposal. Before tonight, she thought she was normal. Now she found herself metempsychosal and all she had been to now abnormal. For just a moment she glimpsed her lifestyle as it would be with Ray, as his space-bride.
She felt that she could live with it awhile, expanding both awareness and her pride.
How nice to be accustomed to herself as this powerful being Ray described.
She couldn’t trust herself to some space-elf though and the weird ideas to which he subscribed. No, if she belonged to some world unknown, she would have to find it all on her own.
“Ray, I don’t know who you think I should be; I believe everything that’s happened here, but whatever I did, I’m me,” said Zee, “born in Philadelphia in the year nineteen ninety-three — reared by Mom and Dad who moved out here when I was six years old.
“I’m both flattered by your offer and sad, because I think the perception you hold of me is, unfortunately, quite wrong. Although I hold you in highest respect, and, while I was willing to go along with everything, since I wouldn’t reject any idea that I had never heard, this entire concept seems too absurd.
“Please understand that it’s not out of fear of having an outlook that looks crazy, but I can’t say I share your vision here, ‘cause to me the details are too hazy, or my eyes are too human to behold the total picture. Also, let me add that I am not ready to be enrolled within Episaph ranks, and it’s too bad:
I don’t feel I can be what you’d expect, and I don’t think our marriage could last long if that’s what it’s based on, as I suspect. I was born on Earth: Earth’s where I belong.”
But deep within her soul, Zee knew she’d erred. Engagement off, Ray wept, heart’s hopes interred.