My sister was born with a tooth in her mouth and a chip on her shoulder. She was spoiling for a fight from the first. She eyed us suspiciously. She lashed out at us mistrustfully. She was born on the defensive. I was 9 when she was born. It was then that I began to think seriously about the possibility of reincarnation. Maybe, something bad happened to my sister in her past life, maybe right before she died. My parents and I loved the fight out of my sister. It took patience, and time, and a Fred Flinstone punching bag. She remained angry through her preteens, and then she mellowed. Whatever had happened to her before, she seemed to have moved on.
While in college, I traveled through Austria and Germany with the chamber singers. We performed hymns in old cathedrals. In each of those spaces, as we began to sing, I felt myself disappear. My voice blended with those of my fellow singers. We became an instrument played inside a space that no longer existed in time. We could have been singing a thousand years ago or on another planet.
During that same trip, we visited the concentration camps at Dachau. I saw the ovens where hundreds of thousands of Jews were burned. As I walked in that space, I was swallowed by the silent voices of a thousand screams. I wept continuously. I could not see where I was, or where I was going. My friends took me back to our hotel. While others went out to the local beerhaus, I sat in my room in silence. I wept. I slept. I awoke again, and was just me.
After my second miscarriage, I had a dream. I was in an empty room. At one end of the room, there was a small rectangular pool of water sunken into the ground. A little girl sat on the edge of the pool, dangling her feet in the water. She was plump, with dark curly hair, and tan skin. She saw me, and slid into the pool until she was completely covered by water. I stayed at my end of the room. After a few minutes, she pulled herself out the pool. I went over to her, but she turned away from me. She crossed her arms across her chest angrily. She was mad at me for making her wait. She was ready to be born.