"If the waitress comes back, tell her I'll have the chocolate mousse," I said to George, and set off to find the toilets. We were having lunch in the "Auberge de Gascogne", a cheap and cheerful roadside 'Relais Routiers' in the south west of France. It was a normal day of our holiday, not the sort of day or place I expected anything out of the ordinary to happen.
The sign 'toilettes' pointed along a dim corridor, which sloped down.About twelve yards away I could see light streaming in from the left. As I walked down the slight incline, a strange feeling came over me. I found myself straightening up, taking a deeper breath, throwing my shoulders back a little. A feeling of anticipation stole over me. I recognised it from my small experience of amateur acting - I was getting ready to walk on stage. It was a lovely sensation: I knew I was ready, that I could do my act without any difficulty. Maybe I even felt a bit famous, as though people waiting out there were glad it was me that was coming.
But in no time I was at the end of the passage, turning to my left. And there in front of me was the toilet cubicle, sunlight shining in through frosted glass. My heart fell. As I sat there, I asked myself, why was I disappointed? What had I been expecting? The answer came very quickly from some deep knowing place within me - there should have been sand, and a roaring crowd. I should have been stepping out into an arena. Not the Coliseum, but a smaller version. I had experienced what I later learnt is called a 'bleed-through', a small snippet of a past-life memory. These can be triggered by something in the environment, in my case I think by the angle of incline of the passage, and the direction of the light, which I assume mimicked the passageways under that ancient theatre. I was some sort of performer, not a gladiator, the feelings I had did not suggest that at all. It was more as though I was the warm-up man, and I take some vague pleasure from the idea that maybe in the distant past I could work a crowd!
This is part of an chapter I contributed to "The Undiscovered Country", edited by Bill Darlison