As Bernard watch Michael’s figure walk away from him, he decides to sit a while longer on the bench and watch the people around him. The family eating lunch together is still sitting on the picnic bench. The little girl, who must be the daughter, is laughing at something her Dad is saying. Bernard envies their joie de vivre, and while he does not regret the choices he’s made in this life—he does long for the simpler, yet luxurious, things in life.
What he’s learned is that humanity continues to evolve, and yet still a child when it comes to learning about the history of humanity. Of course, Bernard would not be analyzing such philosophical thought if he had decided to come into life completely without the consciousness of his other lives—he knew that such a decision is too much to handle for a young soul. But, Bernard—along with Julian, and the other souls are ancient and have developed a core able to withstand all the losses, and pain that previous lives have encountered.
Bernard, and Julian made this conscientious choice before entering in this lifetime. It was Julian’s plan from the beginning, and from the moment Julian found out about the decision that his contemporary made.
Their lifetime before this one was a devastating endeavor, and experience. They met as young officers in the Army. Nate, as Julian was called in that lifetime, suffered the most loss. Bernard called himself Jonathan during this period, and they both decided to meet towards the end of their lives, as a way to reconnect before passing on. They only knew each other for five years before Nate drowned trying to save his patients, including Jonathan.
He remembers the day when he and Private First Class Dmitri Bolton drove to Nate’s house, and he watched as Isabeth took the news of Nate’s passing. She began to bleed, and since Jonathan was also a doctor, he knew that the shock of his passing may have ignited the loss of the child. Jonathan could not face her suffering, and left the hospital. When he flew back home, and his wife Lilly was there to meet him—all he could do was hold her in his arms. A few hours later, he told her of Nate and Isabeth. Lilly became upset with him and the fact that he left the hospital without speaking to Isabeth about Nate, and helping her to recover. Bernard remembered how Lilly was adamant about writing Isabeth a letter. The women became lifelong friends soon after. When Jonathan and Lilly finally decided to visit Isabeth, he was glad they did for he was able to tell Isabeth about Nate.
Bernard shrugs off the overwhelming emotions of that lifetime.
At least in that life, Julian as Nate decided not to live a life of being an asshole, Bernard thinks to himself.
He can remember vividly numerous lifetimes when Julian was adamant to live a life of a narcissist that his contemporary could barely tolerate his being. There was a life they spent as colleagues and best of friends where they indulge in their creativity, and endless use of drugs in that time. They intended to search for the meaning of life through art (there were many lifetimes like these), and both wanted to push society’s conventions for the sake of promiscuity, and living like artists.
The Victorian era was the ideal time to indulge the soul by allowing such artistic perceptions invade every fundamental belief. Bernard was called Algernon Swinburne, and was part of the elites who belonged in what was known as one of the brotherhood of the Pre-Ralphaelites. Algernon had written poetry, literary criticism, drama—anything that made him feel alive as he drowned himself in alcohol, and sado-masochism. He was known to have written a magnitude of poetry, but his greatest accomplishment was writing the poem “Hertha,” –which he collaborated with Dante Rosetti—the name and life that Julian chose during that era. When Bernard reflects about this period, he sees nothing but great indulgence, pure narcissism, and epic wastefulness. Julian’s contemporary was miserable during this period that she, as an artist herself, also wrote poetry with endless longing for the love she wanted him to be. She was better off than Dante’s contemporary in that period, Lizzie killed herself to end her suffering.
As Algernon, Bernard dabbled in blurring the lines of his sexuality—only to emerge from this experience with a realization that his soul is not one to continue such dabbling. He amazed himself when Algernon lived to be 72 years old—Bernard was surprised at himself that he didn’t die sooner. Bernard regretted one aspect of that lifetime, and it was the way he chose to be without his contemporary, and instead indulged in another soul. That soul was Algernon’s partner till the end of his life—Theodore Watts was a loving companion, but it was not enough for Algernon. He realized too late in that lifetime that he wanted to be with his poetess, his contemporary whose heart he severed without remorse.
Sadly, that was the case and the impetus and end of narcissism, Bernard thought.
The way Bernard lived Algernon’s life altered his soul. The hedonistic way he planned for Algernon life led to a revelation that his preference is the polarized version of that life, and he’s been altering his perspective ever since he was done with the Victorian era.
Bernard’s only wish in this lifetime is that he is chose to be a man who enjoys sitting on the picnic bench with his wife, while making his daughter laugh.
But, wishing is pointless for he and Julian had to act quickly as the turn of events unfolded before them in the other plane–the plane before life on earth. Only he and Julian, along with a few others under Julian’s requests and persuasion, needed to strategize and devise a way to return to earth with a mission. There was a plan concocted without them, and she was steering her own ship with her own people surrounding her for protection–the protection that Julian somehow found a way around.