The Appointment

He told me: “It’s one of those things. One day you just get sick of the peace and quiet, sick of the gentle lapping of waves and the niceness all around you. “

Hard to say why they do it, but they just go off in search of adventure, suddenly without any warning, they just do it.

George, just left one day to the next.
Saw the ad on the ethernet and off he went.
“You sure ?”, I asked him at the time.
“Yea, this is what I’ve been missing too”, he told me.
“You been missing it ? but you only just saw the ad.”
“Well, once I saw it, I knew this was for me”.
“But why ?”
“I don’t know”, he shrugged his shoulders, “I just want to go”.
Well fair enough I guess.
“But here you got it all”, I told him, “no disease, illness, no money problems”.
“That’s probably why”.
“Huh ?”,
“Well I could go and do this for a few more eons, and gradually I’d move along and learn more stuff. But to be honest, I just need this now !”.

“Will they take you ?”
He nodded, “I’m pretty sure”.
“Hm…. Ok, but you know what happened last time – remember ?”
“Yea, yea, I know. I kinda wimped out on all the tough bits”.
“And you told me ‘never again’, remember ?”
“I remember”, he laughed at me, “but don’t they all say that when they get back, especially recently ?”.
“Well yea, most of them do”, I admitted, “but not all of them”.
“Exactly, and I mean to be one of those who don’t”, he smiled a challenge at me.
Recently I had been doing a bit of volunteer work, in the returned souls temple and had seen some horrific stuff, but there was no point in freaking him out.

“Wow, you’re serious !”. I was surprised at his determination, “I thought it was a whim, a spur of the moment idea”.
“NO ! – been thinking of this for a long time. There’s a lot I want to do differently, but I won’t know if I can, till I go down”.

“Mind if I come along to see you off ?” I asked him.
“Be my guest, would be good to have you there, help me choose”. 😉
“What ? You haven’t chosen yet ?”
“No not yet”.

So we went for the departure hall.
The place was incredibly busy. There was an incarnation leaving every few seconds. Most of them to places I’d never consider myself, but then incarnations have never really been my thing. I’m a homebody.

Everything was grouped nice and neatly into the usual destinations:
There were lots of the usual ‘learn to love yourself’ and ‘love others first’ lifetimes. Lots of those.  And of course there were the usual ‘forgive and then prosper’ lessons, embedded in all shapes and flavours. To suit your palate, you could mix in drug and illnesses as required at no extra charge.

But there were different offers on the board as well. It was hard not to feel tempted reading some of them. I saw one about a brilliant career in music.  Very tempting ! I’d always loved music.  But once I read the fine print and noticed the provisions for possible suicide… drugs and a tempestuous marriage it didn’t sound very inviting any more. But as they say, it takes all types, someone would take it, but not me.

George, he pretty well knew what he wanted, something that would let him try out what he’d been practicing up on his mountaintop by the lake.
“I don’t want a cushy life, he told me, I got that here. I need to go where I’ll really feel the pinch, somewhere totally different from here.”
“You had that last time”, I reminded him, “too much of it”.
“Yep, and I want it again, need to get it right. But I learnt something you know”, he looked at me.
“Well that was the whole point I’d have thought”.
“It is smarty pants”, he poked me, “but I mean I learnt about what kind of overall lifetime mix is best for me”.
“Uhu, and that is ?”

“I need to come up for breathers. So I built in lots of little side trips, to gimme a chance to recover. But”, he held my eye, “they’ve got to be short”, just a short breather, and sometimes a longer one…”
“you talk like you’re baking a cake”, I commented.
“its kinda  like that”.
“And I can just see you come back and complain about all those side trips and….  what did you call them things again ?”
“yea, them, – how they distracted you and stopped you settling down blah blah blah… “
“I won’t”, he said.
“We’ll see. Why don’t you take a standard off the shelf lifetime and be done with it ?”
He gave me a disdainful look and said nothing.
“Fine, up to you, just don’t complain when you get back”, I told him.
“I don’t see anything on the boards here that you might want”.
“Of course it’s never going to be exactly right ! But the trick is to know your favourite mix, then you’ll recognize it when it comes up, – or something close enough to it anyway”.

“Ok so what is your ‘mix’ dear ?” I rolled my eyes at him, “other than those ‘sidetrips and BREATHERS ?”
“Here”, her pulled out a piece of paper with diagrams on it.
“See the early childhood part ? It’s full-on poverty in a huge family”.
I looked at him with raised eyebrows.
“I wanna lick  this whingeing and preciousness in me, its giving me the shits.”, he answered by way of explanation.
“Ok”, I turned away to hide a smile. I was glad he’d finally decided to deal with that, it was giving me the shits too, not that I’d ever tell him that.
“And this  bit, about losing a leg in an accident on the motorbike ?”, I asked him.
“Well if you look carefully my dearest”, he raised his eyebrows at me in turn, “you’ll notice that there are a few other paths”, he traced the lines on the paper, “and only if nothing else works, then in the last one here, he loses a leg !
It’s there in case I don’t get the message with these other ones”.
“Ok, I see, so a graded kind of ‘listen to your intuition’ lesson stuck in there ?”.
He nodded.
“You realize this is YOURSELF you’re talking about don’t you? Not some character in a book”.
He nodded again.
“I hope you do”, I slapped his shoulder.

“And what’s this bit with Miyanthea here ? Why put her in there ? did you talk to her about this ?”
“Did I talk to her about it ?”, he looked offended.
“Do you think I don’t know the rules ? Of course I asked her, she wants to do it.”
“But why bother, you got her coming in for six months in a full-on romance and then  bang !nothing ! it’s all over rover !“.

“Ah”, he grinned at me, saying nothing for a while. “See this here ? I need that to soften me up for that one here”, he pointed to age 40, “, about 20 years later, absolutely crucial that one. All part of me plan you see”.
“Ok, ok, well don’t be too clever by half”, I looked him in the eye, “like last time”.

“Naw, I got it figured out a bit more now”.
“Well good luck, I’ll be watching”.

“Hm….”, he looked at me then with that LOOK of his and I knew what he was thinking.
“Oh no you don’t !, No way !”, I held up my hands and was going to leave the hall, “not again. Last time I had a hell of a job to get you back here”.

“Well I got someone for that already, don’t worry its not you”, he put a hand on my shoulder.
“So ?”, I knew that something was still up, he still had something he wanted from me.
“If you would just keep an eye on me when I’m down there. You see this”, and he drew his finger along the 28 to 37 year period, “if you could just do the inspirational stuff you’re so damn good at ? Just for a few years ?”.

He looked at me with that handsome winning smile of his.
I shook my head, “Sorry no can do. Would love to, but I’ve actually promised to go down a bit before that time myself”.
It was my turn to grin at him and enjoy his surprise.
“Really ?, you didn’t say anything about that.”
“Well you never asked dearest ! And to be honest, I’m still thinking about it, but I’ve been talking to Mirna and Joss, they want to work on a few things, and we were good in setting up a classroom last time”.
“Come on, lets check the board, you gotta go soon”, I reminded him.
I didn’t want to go into it too much detail with him and walked him to the big doors.

We scanned the departing incarnations.
“Here’s one”, I told him:
“Early childhood, poverty, but happy happy large family. Death of brother, … – oh, but  it’s it’s up in that cold place, you wanna do cold again this time round ?”, I asked him.
“Naw not keen on that, enough from last time. Look for a warmer place”.

We kept looking.
“Here is one in the tropics !” I pointed to the list and we read the details.
“But do you really want to get into all that sexual stuff like you did last time ?”.
“Humm.. yea, you’re right, I might lay off that, enough other stuff going on”, he agreed.
“Seems like all the warm places got all sorts of other crap”, I said.

“Your attention please !” the loudspeaker announced, “due to an unforseen complication we have a space for an incarnation in Madagascar. Birth is part of triplets, will grow up in Europe, chance for great artistic expression. Please contact our ground staff at the Aijuss counter for more details. You must have done at least three previous incarnations”.
“Hey that might be good for you”, I told him.
“Yea, let’s take a look”, and he almost dragged me along.

….. ….. …..

“Well my dearest Mary”, he told me, “love you, but it’s time to go”.
“Bye”, I told him without much fuss and watched him go.
Then when he was almost gone, almost totally beamed down, I called out to him,
“By the way, I might see you there – keep an eye out around 28 to 37 ha ha ha”.
I timed it right at the very end, so he didn’t have a chance to ask me any questions he he he !
That was my little secret.
My little surprise.



Heiko Rudolph, Princes Hill
‘Reflections of Life from a Monastery Garden’
– The memories of a Monk.