I guess I'm kind of stuck. I thought I'd do more writing here, but all Bry and I have done is sit around inside because the weather has been raining pretty much nonstop since we got here. I swear it was nice last year... but if this is what Maine is like, why the hell does anyone ever vacation here? Especially given the likelihood of mysterious body-transformations. But I guess the word's still not out about that.
There are a few people milling around, but not surprisingly the Inn isn't at "Change everyone's body" capacity, which from what I can tell is 13. I would guess there's maybe 7 people here including Bryan and me, as well as our new friends George and Jan, another random couple, and one other guy I saw once but not since. I'm thinking it'll probably hit 13 on the weekend. That makes sense, right?
So Sunday night, George and Jan, I guess as fellow Inn-survivors, offered us a dinner at a place they like. It was a very nice gesture, although I can't help but think that if I looked like a man maybe George wouldn't have offered to pay.
As I mentioned on Day one, George is, from his appearance, a middle-aged Asian guy who dresses like a truck driver. His wife Jan is a younger Caucasian lady, maybe about my Anne-Marie age. Has kind of a midwestern look to her. The first thing I asked, as we headed out, was what they'd been before.
George paused, awkwardly, and said it was a long story, and they'd explain over dinner.
We got to the restaurant, one of the nicest restaurants I've been in (and as Anne-Marie I've been to a couple.) George and Jan had worn fairly nice clothes; I was wearing a black skirt and white blouse, and Bry was a bit underdressed because she hadn't really packed for this kind of thing. I ordered a steak and salad, Bry some pasta - George and Jan ordered lobster.
Now, I don't mean to judge, but it seemed like George and Jan were pretty blue-collar people. When I first saw him he had a Texas belt-buckle and worn-out jeans. He told me normally he was, but on times like these, he liked to treat himself - "Spend some money like there's no tomorrow." Then he gave a knowing smile. So I asked again where exactly George and Jan had come from.
George got this faraway look in his eyes as he told the story. Back in 1991, he and Jan were preparing to move to a retirement community down in Florida, but in the interim, they decided to come spend some time in Maine, where Jan had grown up. They were in their late 60's -- George had fought in Germany in WWII. And so one morning, they woke up, and they were... young. They were still man and wife, but suddenly George was the wife.
In time, as all of us do, they came to understand the nature of the Inn, but that didn't make them pleased about it. The first year was apparently very hard for them. So they did the fairly sensible thing; they went back to the Inn.
The only problem was, there wasn't exactly a ton of telecommunication going on back in the early 90's, and George and Jan wouldn't have been predisposed to it if there had. So they just went back, thinking maybe they would become themselves again. This time, they were father and son.
"Blacks, for what it's worth," she chuckled.
It became apparent to them that they would never be themselves again. They became consumed, I guess, by remorse for the fact that they were now young and able, and they had left their elderly bodies with some other undeserving victims they never knew. So they vowed to keep coming back, year after year - sometimes they've had to skip, but basically, for the past 17 years they've kept returning and getting new bodies, and helping fellow victims understand what has happened to them.
"Doesn't that get exhausting?" asked Bryan. "Don't you get tired of starting over?"
Jan smiled. "There's an old saying, you know. The number one killer of people our age is retirement. All this body-changing can be a tad much, but it keeps our minds sharp."
"And we had an agreement," George added, "First off, we try to get these people back in their proper place. Second, we know we can't always be together, in the same place or even the same marital bed, but we do our best to stay close. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all. Lastly, if we ever found ourselves in bodies close to our own age, we'd keep 'em."
"But so far," Jan laughed self-deprecatingly, "That no good Inn keeps keeping us young and able."
I was pretty fascinated. It was kind of an inspiring story. I didn't want to broach the likelihood that their original bodies are possibly dead, but they must have some really fascinating stories. They've been practically everything, between the two of them. young, old, different races and genders... they've gotten the kind of life tour most people could never imagine.
"It ain't an easy life," George admitted, "Knowing you're living with a timer, but hey, aren't we all?" By this point we were well into the meal. "I like to think of it as a service. Imagine how much easier things would be for people if they had someone there to tell 'em what's going on."
I thought back to that first day and how quickly Bryan interpolated the entire thing. I don't think that anything close to the norm. I said we'd be glad to help.
So I told them about ourselves, how we've been living these lives for a year, who we were originally. I tried not to make myself sound so pathetic in my previous life, or like I was taking advantage of this one. That I was quite close with Anne-Marie.
"I hope you got some good experience out of it," George said, obviously speaking from experience, "And I'm glad you're going back. I do hope it works out well for you two."
"George knows from experience that womanhood isn't exactly a cakewalk." Jan nudged him, he blushed and said "Nothing is, dear. But it has its finer parts."
Well, that just created an awkward silence. But anyway.
So I told them about the blog, how I'd been writing my experiences down, as had others, and they were most welcome to join on, given their ongoing experience. They declined.
"Don't get me wrong, I know how to do the e-mail and the websites, but I'm not one for going on about myself. I'll have a look, now and again, and maybe I'll drop you a line, but that's not really my thing."
But it got me to thinking. In a few days, with any luck, I'll be good old Todd Casey again, and then... my life might not be so interesting to the readers here. And while I hate to admit it, everyone's probably noticed by now that my fellow Inn-mates Penny, Ashlyn, Brandon/Laura, Darren/Jaime and whomever else, have all gone off into the wild blue. This Inn is gonna need some fresh blood. if anyone out there reading this has ever been to the Inn... I'd ask you to drop me a line, but honestly I don't have the password to that e-mail up there, and I'm not very keen on handing out my personal e-mail here, so... I'll figure something out.
So yesterday, I made up some fake flyers at a Kinko's advertising an "Online Guestbook" for the inn, and slipped a few under each door, a trick Art used back in the day. It doesn't exactly explain why people should log onto this blog and detail their experiences, but I'm guessing they'll understand why when the time comes. I also left some in the lobby for the future.
So... here's to the future. I guess.
You may be surprised at what we're interested in. Jeff Miller is the only previous contributor to this blog who returned to his original body, and he didn't contribute more than a couple of posts about his post-return experiences. I'm sure that going back to your old lives isn't going to be as easy as slipping into a favorite pair of old shoes, given your perspective from the past year's experiences plus whatever lasting impact Deb and Amanda may have made while living your lives. There are bound to be some "readjustment blues", and we would certainly be interested in reading about them.
The loss of this blog would be terrible.
You're right. I'll try to keep my thoughts interesting after I get back, but I'm hoping someone will take me up on those flyers...
If someone received such a flier, and would be interested in contributing to the blog for no other reason than not having anywhere else to turn, and discovered the email address listed in the upper right corner wasn't functioning properly, where might he (err... she) go about inquiring such a thing?
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