They had known each other since childhood, since infancy. Since before that, it sometimes seemed; Kody could not remember a time when she had not know Toby, not known Toby’s every line and every mood.
They were Best Friends when other kids were still throwing Legos at each other. They share playground secrets and their first furtive kiss while the other girls were playing Double Dutch and the other boys were mostly pretending to be airplanes. By second grade, when Amelia Anderson was playing Who Will We Wed, nobody had any question: Kody and Toby, forever.
In Jr. High, that morphed into K&T 4-evah, and they moved from hidden kisses to very visible necking. The question became Who Are You Going to the Dance With, and, again, nobody needed to ask them.
(One new girl tried. The entire school laughed at her. She “came down with mumps” and wasn’t seen again for over a week, by which time almost everyone had forgotten. Except Toby, who thought she was cute.)
It was in Jr. High that the dreams started. Kody got them first – Kody had done just about everything first – and it was the first secret she had tried to keep from Toby in their entire lives.
It wasn’t until Toby admitted, in a scribbled note in Trig, that he had been having weird dreams, about “really screwed up things,” that Kody was willing to write back, “me, too.”
Not “really screwed up things,” in Kody’s case, not really: just deaths, and lives, and more deaths, and more lives. They had been joking for years that they were soulmates, that they had known each other in previous lives. But these dreams…
“I dreamed about being married to you. Except we were Chinese.”
“I dreamed about talking with our grand-children. Except it was like in that history film we watched last week.”
“I dreamed I died.”
“I dreamed you died.”
They passed notes about it back and forth – not every day after that, but every week, maybe, sometimes only once a month. It became another thing they did, another T&K 4-evah secret, like the dead bird buried in Kody’s back yard or the two gold rings under Toby’s playhouse. It was one more proof that they were meant to be together.
Though high school, the dance question became the “who gets your virginity” question, and, once again nobody bothered to ask Kody. “Toby, of course.” Amelia Anderson rolled her eyes. Kody and Toby were boring, old news.
If they were old news to Amelia, they were becoming really, really old news to Kody. She’d lost her virginity in dreams over and over again, to Toby every time, of course, and she’d walked down the aisle (jumped the broom, stained the sheets…) over and over again.
She loved Toby. She had loved Toby, she had a feeling, as long as there had been such a thing as love. But as her friends talked about romance and dances and dinner, as she dreamed about a hundred lifetimes of Toby doing the same things, over and over again…
When the question turned back into “Who Will You Wed,” during their first year of college, everyone was surprised when Kody muttered, so quietly they had to strain to hear…. “Maybe I’ll just stay single.”
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