“This is like deja vu all over again.” -Yogi Berra
I’ve been here before. And I’ve talked to these same people. In this same order. For this same particular length of time. In this same exact tone. Everything is scripted like a movie because we have done THIS before, all of this. I can’t quite shake this feeling, even though my mind rages against it, because my body says, “Yes! Yes! Yes! I remember even if you don’t,” as it performs the choreographed dance it has performed before.
Do you know how many times I’ve had that feeling throughout my life? Seemingly dozens of times. Each and every time I get hit with that feeling, that “deja vu all over again,” it slams me like a sledgehammer to the gut. It’s funny, too, because the memories are always vague, but I still feel like I could talk right along with the other person involved, because I always know what they’re going to say. And my own brain tells me what to say before I can even process what is being said to me. It shouldn’t be possible, but somehow it is, and that makes it even more incredible.
I remember the first time it happened, too. I was ten at the time, and I had just gotten home from school with my sister. We were latchkey kids. As I walked up the stairs to my room the feeling hit me hard, that I had gone up the stairs two at a time before, maybe many times before, with that exact same cadence. I reached the top and my sister called up to me from below. “Be careful on that last step,” she said, but I knew she would say it before it came out of her mouth. My room door was open, as I knew it would be, and it creaked as I closed it behind me. It didn’t always creak, but I knew it would that day. It did.
The rest of the night went the exact same way, and it made me quite dizzy trying to reconcile what I already knew would happen with what did happen, like it was a complicated ballet, but I had rehearsed it many times before so I knew where to place my feet and when. It was like deja vu all over again, and it didn’t end there. Many times since it has happened to me, and I can’t possibly pass it off as anything else. Maybe we all experience those moments of surreality, where life seems to fold in half and lay flatly across itself.
Those moments used to scare me, as if I had done something wrong, and that’s why they were coming for me, like monsters in the night to frighten me and drive me insane. But as time went on and the episodes, as I like to call them, became slightly more frequent, I began to embrace them as I would a second skin, fitting neatly above the first. Rather than being afraid, I instead began to melt into those moments like wax from a candle, warm and sweet. Now they comfort me, and make me more complete. I like re-visiting those places, those people, and those circumstances, if only to prove I’ve been here before.