Earthquakes

David Cummings has dreams.

For ten years, he’s dreamed about two men who lived in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. He feels that he was one of the men. Their relationship was cut short when one of them died in the great earthquake and fire.

David decides to go to San Francisco to see if either man really existed. There he meets Marc Willis.

Marc Willis has dreams of two men as well. He feels that he was one of the men.

As David and Marc search for answers, they wonder:

Are they the same two souls?

Did they know and love each other in that past life?

Will Fate grant them a happy ending this time?

Or, will this life end in tragedy like before

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Excerpt:

David gritted his teeth and lifted his hand. He refrained from making a vulgar sign with his finger. Walking to the entrance of the hotel restaurant, he stood waiting for the maître d’.

A photo on the wall behind the host stand caught his attention. He tilted his head as he studied it. It showed an old-fashioned ballroom decorated for a holiday. Cloth-covered tables surrounded the empty dance floor. A banner over the bandstand which was already set up for musicians proclaimed, “Happy New Year – 1906”. The scene was like something out of a movie, but was missing the people. Somehow, David could see the people who weren’t there. They were happy, dancing. Something fluttered inside him. A feeling he couldn’t explain welled up and he wanted to be there.

“May I help you, sir?” The maître d’ yanked David back to the present.

He shook himself as he forced his gaze from the photo. “Yeah. My parents are already here. Cummings.”

“Ah, yes. Right this way.”

“Can you tell me about that photo?” David pointed to the picture. “Where was it taken?”

“That was the old Palace Hotel ballroom. It was taken at the last big celebration before the hotel was destroyed by fire following the big earthquake.”

David turned from the photo. “Do you ever see something like that and get the feeling you’ve been there?”

The maître’d chuckled. “You’d have to be a lot older than you are if you were there. Like I said, that was seventy-five years ago. Of course, you may have been there in a past life.”

“Do you believe in past lives?”

The man shrugged. “Let’s just say I don’t disbelieve. Here’s your party.”

Uncle Frank stood and clapped David on the shoulder. “My goodness, boy. You get more handsome every time I see you.”

David ducked his head in embarrassment. As he pulled out the last empty chair between his father and Frank and sat in it, he nodded an acknowledgement to Tom, Frank’s partner of over twenty-five years, who sat on the other side of Frank. He knew Tom was the reason Frank never came home to Kansas City. Dad was the only member of the family who accepted the relationship between the two men. It gave David hope that his parents would be as accepting of his sexuality when they found out about it.

The waitress came and asked him what he wanted to drink.

“I’ll have a soda, please.” He pushed his hair back out of his face.

His mother looked at him with a frown. “I wish you’d gotten a haircut before we left home.”

“Leave the boy alone, Shirley.” Frank clapped him on the shoulder again. “Time enough to confirm to society’s rules when he gets out of school and gets a job in the ‘real’ world.” He winked at David. “Besides, I’ll bet the girls love running their fingers through that. Right, David?”

David’s face grew warm as unwrapped the napkin from around his silverware and laid it in his lap. “Speaking of ‘real’ world, I just had the strangest feeling over by the host stand.”

“What’s that, son,” his dad asked.

“Did you notice that photo of the old ballroom?”

“The one with the banner that says 1906?” his mother asked.

He nodded. “Yeah. I got a weird feeling when I looked at it. I felt like I knew the place.”

The waitress set his drink in front of him, and he picked it up, took a sip, and set the glass back on the table. “The maître’d said maybe I’d been there in a past life.”

Jill hummed the theme from ‘Twilight Zone’ and wiggled her fingers.

“Jill, behave yourself,” her mother said. “What did you tell him?”

“I asked him if he believes in such things.”

His father set his wine glass on the table and leaned back in his chair. “And what do you believe, David?”

He stirred his soda with the straw. “I think I’ll follow his example and choose to not disbelieve.”

As they left the dining room after dinner, David again stopped to look at the photo. In his mind, he saw formally-dressed couples dancing and heard the orchestra. He recognized the song as ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’.

He stood and went into the bathroom. When he came out, his father was in bed. Crawling into the other bed, he lay awake with the tune of ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’ running through his mind and tried to make sense out of his thoughts.

 

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