I was talking with my husband about deja vu the other day.
I've never in my life seen a person experience deja vu like he does. While I've certainly experienced the sensation, sometimes the intense sensation, of inexplicably having been somewhere or seen something before, he experiences it on a deep visceral level.
He literally has to take a knee sometimes when the experience hits him.
As a person far more skeptical than I am, his experiences of deja vu are what keep him questioning if what we see and comprehend is really all there is.
"When I experience deja vu, not only do I feel like I've been in that exact place or situation before, but I feel like reality gets shifted for a moment. I feel nauseous, dizzy.
And without fail, every time I experience deja vu, I'm reminded of a very specific moment from my childhood: being 13, sitting at my desk in my family's home, and learning or realizing something that I wasn't quite ready for. Something that changed me.
I don't remember what that thing was but, and I know this sounds weird, it's like everything in me and around me is begging me to remember THAT MOMENT."
As long as I've known Mr. Louise, deja vu has always been a sensitive subject. Nothing unnerves him in quite the same way.
And no, I don't think what he's experiencing is a panic attack — I've seen him experience both and the two seem to come from different places in him.
Mr. Louise is not a dramatic person. He's been described as stoic, careful, reserved. As an educator and an academic, his life is built on methodology, proof, and logic.
He acts from his brain, I act from my gut.
Between the two of us I'm the one far more likely to cry, "DEMONIC INFESTATION!" whereas he'll calmly say, "broken toilet."
So Mr. Louise volunteering a strange incident that happened to him in his youth, one that continues to baffle and unsettle him, is no small thing.
"Have I never told you why I went back to [college]?" (For Mr. Louise's privacy, I'll just call the place he went to college, "College" from here on out.)
I'm not sure, bits and pieces. Not really.
He proceeded to tell me the following story. Sometimes strange things happen to us that make us pause and wonder, other times those things happen and the course of our lives is changed. I think this is one of those instances.
"I hated College. Over winter break my freshman year, I went home to my mom's house and told her I couldn't go back."
Knowing how much my husband loves school, it's hard for me to imagine that person.
Why did you hate College?
"I wasn't getting along with people, I was a small fish in a big pond, it wasn't what I thought it would be... I don't know, I was just miserable and really depressed."
So you told your mom you weren't going back?
"Yeah. I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I wasn't going back there. To her credit, she didn't freak out, she just let me work through it.
So I hung around my mom's house, trying to figure out life, feeling like the only good decision I'd made was to drop out."
As my husband went on with his story, his usually robust manner of storytelling melted away. His voice got softer, his eyes seemed to search the past. At one point I felt like I was listening to a young boy, not the man I was accustomed to.
"Then I had a dream one night, as cliche as that sounds. It changed me. I woke up and marched into my mom's room and told her I had to go back to College."
What was the dream about?
"I had no idea. I didn't even remember when I woke up. But in that dream, something was telling me I had to go back to College. I felt compelled to return. It almost wasn't a choice. So I went."
Just like that? Everything was fixed?
"No, nothing was fixed. I was still unhappy and depressed. But somehow, because of that dream, not going was a more frightening prospect than going. For the first time, I felt like something greater than myself was at work."
Wow. Do you mean... spiritually?
I asked this carefully because my husband is the least religious person I know.
"No... I don't know. But it was a wake-up call to my 18-year-old self that it wasn't just about that moment in time. There was more. Take that as you will."
Ok. So you went back to College.
"Yeah, and things started to work out. I didn't really think about the dream, and my life went on.
Then a couple years later, when I was in my junior year, I was watching a play at school — a play I'd never seen or never heard of, The Conduct of Life by María Irene Fornés. Suddenly in that dark theater I got terribly nauseous and disoriented, and it all came crashing back."
Deja vu? The dream?
"All of it. Instantaneously, out of nowhere, I remembered my dream. My dream was of being in that dark theater, watching that play, that scene with those actors, with my friends around me, the smells, the thoughts in my head — everything. I knew I had experienced it before. In my dream I had seen the life I would have. I got a taste of it. There was no doubt.
Somehow, I had seen my future. And all at once, that moment in the theatre was connected to that moment when I was a kid at my desk, and for a split second it felt like everything was somehow connected.
What do you mean connected? How so?
"I still don't know. I know how all this sounds. I don't know about 'destiny' or metaphysical thought. I don't know if I believe any of it. Most of the time I don't think I do. But... there are times I feel like something is pushing me to forward, and it all hinges on that first childhood experience that I can't remember."
My husband and I sat in silence for a moment. We've talked a lot about the odd things that have happened to me and my family, but I'd never heard him speak with such eagerness and earnestness about anything paranormal, let alone an experience of his own. I loved it.
But I'll be honest, I don't really know what to make of my husband's dream and subsequent deja vu.
Did he really experience some glimpse into the future? Did something really push him toward a specific path in life?
And what about that childhood memory he cannot remember? Is it some kind of repressed memory? Could there be really be a connection that he has yet to piece together?
Or are all these experiences the subconscious workings of an anxious mind that desperately wants to make sense of several disjointed memories? Is this just how the human mind works? Making order out of chaos?
What do you think Creepy Corneristas? Have you ever experienced such intense deja vu? Does any of this sound familiar? Similar to any experiences you've had?
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Welcome to the deep end of the Creepy Corner Metaphysical Swimmin' Pool! Dive on in, the water's fine!