The Travelers

Copyright 2012 By A. Rozelle

“Yeah baby, I know you like that…don’t you?”
I was thankful for the darkness that hid my facial expression. I would have hated to have to explain the eye roll that accompanied the look of complete boredom and dissatisfaction I was wearing. I was losing my patience and he was about to get cut short and tossed out of my bed and my house.
It wasn’t his fault, really. I’d known from the second our lips met that he wasn’t who I thought he might be. He was just another in a long line of mistakes. Or rather, his was just another in a long line of mistaken identities. As I lay beneath him, wishing he would reach his destination and leave me in peace, I fought back tears. I was tired. More than tired. I was feeling a weariness that penetrated my soul and reached down into my spirit, threatening to overtake me.
I was tired of sharing my body with those who weren’t meant to enjoy the pleasure of my energy. I was tired of giving myself over to undeserving assholes that hadn’t earned the right to sample the life force that made me so irresistible. I was damned tired of realizing—only after the clothes were lying on the floor and my space had been violated—that I had made the wrong choice. That once again, I was mistaken. That this was not the one I was seeking.
Thankfully, our evening together was short-lived, as I felt the pull of time and allowed myself to be drawn out of the present and submerged into the pitch-black nothingness that would take me to the next destination. To the next period in time. The next opportunity to find what it was I was seeking. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should explain who I am and what I do.
****
My name is Ninasafiri (Nina, for short), which is Swahili for “I traveled”. Traveling is what I do. It’s who I am. I’ve been a traveler for as long as I can remember, which is basically eternity, since I’m not bound by the laws of time, space or physics. I jump from one period of time to the next; never knowing where I’ll land, or what my mission will be once I arrive. The only thing I know when I get to my destination is that there is a tragedy or some type of occurrence that I need to prevent or change. I’ve done this for as long as I’ve been alive.
But I’m not the only one. There are many of us. We recognize each other when we pass, but we are never on the same mission at the same time. We crisscross through eternity, righting wrongs and making sure the human race doesn’t destroy itself. That’s our goal: to protect the world from itself. And we perform our duties undetected by the very humans we save each and every day. We have no idea how we came to be, or who gave us this gift/curse and responsibility, but we know that what we do must be done. And so, we give ourselves over to our duties.
I had traveled many years when I met Mlinzi, whose name means “protector”, but whom I call Moja (Mo for short), which means “the one”, because that’s what he is to me: he’s the one. The only. My love for as many lifetimes as I will live. We had often been in the same time span, in the same place, but when the divinely appointed moment arrived for us to recognize each other’s energy, we were drawn together, our life forces forever linked; our destinies forever intertwined. We were/are mates.
And it was in this way that eons passed. Mo and I loved. We lived. We tended to the world and its problems. We tunneled through decade after decade, and decade before decade. We zipped from the beginning of man to the future that hadn’t yet been conceived and we protected the human race. Sometimes together, often apart, we separated and rejoined, and always—we loved. In each new place and time, our life force drew us to each other. And it had to, because we never looked the same, were never the same person in the next place. Each time we jumped, we had to find each other again. But we always did.
We were pledged to one another in the way that transcends all rational boundaries. And we loved beyond the comprehension of those that are convinced that there is only one way to love. How we pitied those poor souls! Thinking love was only skin-deep. Since we never knew if we would be male or female, old or young, we had to depend on what was in our hearts and souls to find each other. And finding each other was always our first priority.
We were often in the middle of making love when the pull came. The urge to slide through those corridors pulling us out of the one another’s arms and into the vast regions of time toward our next assignment was like a cruel splash of cold water. We would kiss goodbye and vow to find each other soon. We always submitted our wills to the urge to travel. After all, that was what we were created to do.
****
People measure time in terms of the good or bad things that happen. We —the travelers—have no measure of time, since we traverse it in a way that makes it meaningless. What we do measure is our accomplishments. The number of lives we save. How effective we are in preventing catastrophes and calamities. And for the most part, we do an exemplary job. Mankind will never know how many of its bombs were never detonated, how many mad-men were cut down before they could wreak the havoc that they were determined to wreak, how many rampages, terroristic threats and man-made horrors they’ve not experienced due to our diligence and dedication. And we’re content to keep it that way, but every now and then, the thanklessness of our work weighs heavily on us.
There are times, also, when the time/space continuum is so overwhelmed that it takes us longer to reach our destinations than we would like, and things happen before we can stop them. The abomination of slavery, the first two world wars, the holocaust; once those events were set in motion, we were powerless to stop them, but we were able to prevent the third and fourth world wars and an extermination attempt that would have made the holocaust seem small by comparison. And so, we went on, doing the best we could.
Mo and I were growing older, for even though we can manipulate time travel, we cannot stop the effects of time on our being. We wanted to spend more of time together, and were involved in a particularly intense session of lovemaking, when we both felt the pull. We ignored it.
We went back to making love and enjoying the give and take of depleting and refilling each other’s life force and didn’t give a second thought to what was waiting for us in whatever century or geographical location we were being pulled into. We just wanted a little more time together. Just a little more time…
When we finally pulled apart and allowed ourselves to get back to work, we ended up on the island of Manhattan. The date was September 11, 2001, and debris was raining down on the streets in a toxic shower. I was on one side of the destruction and Mo was on the other, but we knew. We knew that our selfishness had caused us to miss our opportunity to stop the attacks. We vowed—to ourselves and the others, never to put ourselves ahead of the call again. To always put the fate of the world above our selfish needs. For many turns of many centuries, Mo and I were too ashamed to join ourselves together. We avoided contact. We spent our nights with lovers who did not satisfy us. Who could not satisfy us, because we were joined by something stronger than even we knew. We tried to move on. And in this way, many more eons passed.
At some point, we realized we were making ourselves miserable, and we decided to make it a priority to go looking for each other after our duties had been attended to and we were sure that all was well. The problem with this arrangement was that there wasn’t always a lot of time in-between jumps. I spent many, many nights with lovers who were not Mo…not ‘the One’. I would try to find some clue, in as short a time as possible…maybe a smile that resembled his…maybe a laugh that brought him to mind…I would give myself to them, thinking I would feel him when our bodies joined, but they were never the right one. They were never my One… And I was growing weary.
****
I had just jumped again and found myself in the private suite of a disgusting and detestable man who called himself “The Savior”. I had arrived in time to take the poison from the hand he had placed over a large bowl of what appeared to be punch and I used his own hand to pour the poison down his throat. As he took his lasts breath, he realized I was present and whispered an apology.
“I’m sorry,” he uttered, as the poison coursed through his veins and delivered to him the death that he was prepared to administer to all those who followed him—women and children included.
“Tell it to your maker when you see him, asshole.”
I was tempted to kick his corpse, but the door opened and I had to hide myself. In the following minutes, it was discovered that their beloved leader was dead and the congregants began to mourn him.
I was beyond pissed.
What the hell was the point of traveling through time, giving up the only thing that mattered to me at all, when human nature always made them seek out their own destruction? For every catastrophe we prevented, someone would think up some new way to destroy life. We had no control over the small, every day, inhumane treatment of one person toward the next. Yes, we were preserving mankind, but for what? It was after this jump that I began to resist the urge; to fight the call to jump a little longer each time. I decided I would find my love one last time, and I would never leave him again.
I spent an eternity and then another eternity searching. Yes, I performed my duties, but only to the extent that I wanted to get to my next destination once I realized that the body beside (or inside of) me was the wrong one. I didn’t know why I was having such a hard time finding Mo. We had always managed to catch up to each other in the past/future. I was lost.
****
And that was how I came to be lying underneath a mediocre copy of my one true love. He certainly looked like Mo looked the last time I’d seen him. He even walked and talked a little like him. I knew in my core that he wasn’t him, but I decided to find out if I could live with something similar. I was tired. And I was ready to settle down. Unfortunately, all I ended up doing was settling.
I was more than a little grateful when the time came to surrender myself to the pull and leave the bed. I knew he would just wake up the next morning thinking he’d dreamed about the time he’d spent with me, so at least I didn’t have to carry guilt that I’d hurt him. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t my Moja.
By this time, I was more lost than ever. I had tried everything I could think of to find him. My soul was depleted. I had nothing left to give the world, because I was dying. Each time I refused to jump, more of my energy left me. I tried to replenish it with poor substitutions until they no longer offered any comfort. I managed to keep some pretty awful things from happening in the world, but mostly, I just wandered the streets, looking for the love of my long, miserable life. And in this way, eons passed.
Finally, I made a choice.
I said, out loud and for all the universe to hear: “Fuck. The. World.”
Not caring about the repercussions, nor the fate I was subjecting myself or the rest of the world to, I had decided I was done. I was finished. Alone on some street, in some place, at some time, I declared that the world could take care of itself and its own problems. I wanted my man. My ‘One’. And I would not stop until I found him. It was then that I heard a voice.
“Ma’am?” There was hesitance, a questioning. I turned to face the speaker.
“Yes?” There was something…familiar about his eyes.
“I was wondering if you might help me.”
I had vowed to never help another human being until I found my love, but I felt moved to find out what he wanted. I took a step in his direction.
“What is it that you need?” He took a step closer to me, looked into my eyes…and kissed me.
Instantly, we were spiraling through the cosmos. Flying, but not flying. I saw the pyramids in Egypt. I felt the rumbling of the volcanoes that had shaped the world and given birth to the rich soil that would be home to civilizations. I shivered as he undressed me above the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. I gasped for air when he kissed me again and I was pulled along with the currents in the deepest depths of the ocean before the dawn of mankind.
When he took each of my nipples into his mouth, taking his time to give each the attention it had so long needed, I held my breath and was guided through the center of the earth. His fingers probed my body and found their way to the hot, wetness that nourished and nurtured life itself. He kissed his way down my body and then replaced his fingers with his tongue. I knew. It was him. I had found my Moja. It was my ‘One’.
I climbed on top of him while we zig-zagged from one end of the galaxy to the other, and then I placed him inside me, knowing I would never—in a million eternities—feel this way about anyone else. When our journey came to an end, we lay on the white sands of a beach that would later become someplace synonymous with joy and music and laughter, the turquoise water lapping at our feet, and we traded stories.
Mo had come to the same conclusion I had reached. The world wasn’t worth saving if we had to live in it without each other. When we chose our love, our time of service was ended. Yes, we still had a responsibility to mankind, but now, that responsibility was to do all things in love…to nurture our children in love…to contribute to the love that would heal and save the world.
Because— and make no mistake, even at our strongest, the travelers will only be able to intervene for so long—love is the only thing that will save this world from itself.
We made a choice. We chose each other. And that was when our traveling came to an end.