“I’ve got a few rooms,” James said, putting Shelle’s bags by the kitchen counter. “Anywhere in particular you’d like to stay?”
Shelle looked in all the rooms. “This one,” she decided, pointing to a room next to James’s that overlooked the back garden and many beautiful, lush acres. James picked up her bags and brought them in. She stood leaning out of the open window staring unblinkingly at the world outside. James felt something strange inside himself. Was it Shelle? What was she doing?
“Shelle?” He reached out timidly and put his fingers on her shoulder. She jolted out of her reverie and blinked, then smiled at him. “What were you doing?”
“I was seeing home,” she answered dreamily. “I saw—” Then she seemed to wake up and she looked into his eyes. “James, if I tell you something, you won’t get angry or scared, will you?”
He shook his head. She looked relieved.
“Sometimes I have little visions—I can see things. But don’t worry, I’m not an axe-murderer or anything.”
“James,” Shelle spoke, her voice muffled from the folds of his clothing, “do you think we might be related in another way besides Lindy’s marriage?”
“I know I’m a bit Irish and you are too, but that doesn’t mean anything,” James told her, with the tone of a parent explaining what’s what to his child.
“Doesn’t it?” Shelle cried out, moving back to the window.
“And what would it matter anyway?” James added.
“A lot! I’d like to know my background—and maybe, just maybe…” She trailed off and faced the window. She stared outside for a long moment and then turned back to him, pupils dilated, even though light still poured in through the open window. Her eyes locked with his and even if he had wanted to tear his eyes away, he couldn’t because something besides Shelle’s eyes was keeping him still. She sat on the bed, still looking at him, and he sat on the floor. She closed her eyes and he had to close his. In his mind, he saw themselves holding hands as they fell through a horrid nothingness and then he heard her talking to him, though her lips didn’t move. He heard the sound, though not the words, and he drifted back into the past, alone, to the day of Lindy’s death. He was standing by the bedside holding Lindy’s hand, whispering to her as she lay there. He was inside the memory, not viewing it from the outside, just looking at himself. He was really holding Lindy’s hand. He felt a small hand on his shoulder and turned and saw Shelle fading away behind him, exactly as she had done when she was thinking in her valley. But now, James could see her; he got to relive that day with whomever else was in the room.
“Lindy brought me here, James.” Shelle’s words echoed in his mind and in the room, though she wasn’t with him. He understood. Lindy had brought Shelle to the day she had died and to him on the farm.
The room disappeared; Lindy disappeared; he could feel himself screaming, “No! No!” though the words didn’t come out. He dropped through nothingness again and grabbed frantically for something to hold, but there wasn’t anything. Slowly, colour filled the blackness and he fell slower, but fell just the same. He stood invisible in a house he’d never been in before, behind a slim form with flowing golden hair. Lindy, he thought. Is that Lindy?
The form turned, holding a three-year-old girl in her arms and it was, indeed, Lindy. She was smiling with the child and the child kissed her on the cheek. Lindy told the child she loved her and something else.
“You will meet my husband someday,” she said. “You’ll convince him that you’re a good kid—and you’ll teach him about your roots and a branch intertwining with mine and his own.”
“Why didn’t she say if she was going to be with me there for that baby or not?” James shouted in his invisibility. “Who is that kid, anyway?”
“That kid is me,” Shelle’s voice answered, but he couldn’t see her anymore. “Remember I told you about one of my first memories? I also told you that we—me and Lindy and whoever’s like us—can only see what we’re meant to see.”
He once again dropped into blackness and felt a huge pain. He opened his eyes and tried to focus and found himself lying full-length on the floor. Shelle, who had pulled them from her subconscious, had given him those visions. He had actually been at each one and everything he had experienced with his eyes closed, he had really been through. He had dropped back into himself when the visions had subsided—that was where the pain and him on the floor had come from. He sat up and leaned his elbows on his knees and rubbed his eyes. He was about to demand what had just happened, but saw Shelle bent over on the windowsill, crutches on the floor. She was leaning dangerously; she could fall if she moved herself. Just as James had landed on the floor as the visions ended, she had landed on the windowsill. He jumped up with a strangled cry: he wasn’t going to lose this child too!
He pulled her in and expected to find her eyes open, but she was unconscious. He lay her on the bed and was about to go get some water for her, but she opened her eyes, very slowly, and looked at him. He didn’t need an explanation for anything—her expression told him and he really knew what had happened deep down inside his soul.
She had shown him everything he needed to know and she had somehow opened and awakened something within him that enabled him to feel things more keenly, hear and see more meanings than one in everything around him. He didn’t know what it was yet, but he knew that he was going to call a genealogist to trace their family roots for them. He told Shelle and she smiled and he ran, somewhat joyously to the phone.