Cassandra and the Inevitable

By Meena Kosaraju

        1613 London, England

        Cassandra had seen some strange things. Being 113 helped with that.

She narrowed her eyes at the black girl with delicate braids, and swore her mind was playing tricks on her. The old theater creaked with the footsteps of the oncoming crowd, but she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the girl. She looked like every other person in the auditorium, but she couldn’t help but notice her. There was just something… off… about her. She came with no one, only holding a small pouch and theater glasses, which she fiddled with absentmindedly.

        She knew she should have been minding her own business, but Cassandra just couldn’t take her eyes off her. Eccentric people were bound to show up, especially at the theater, yet it wasn’t like she could pinpoint exactly what made her so achingly… familiar? This was only unsettling because everyone she knew was long gone and dead.

        With curiosity overtaking her, she got up with a huff, and made her way over to the girl with braids. When she was closer, she noticed how the girl’s eyes were glazed over. She looked around the theater, turning her head slightly,  almost like she saw something no one else could. Cassandra stood over her, before clearing her throat lightly. Startled, the girl almost sprung up from her seat to face her.

        “Can I help you with something?” she asked, a strained smile on her lips. She had an accent that Cassandra couldn’t place. Cassandra plastered on a smile of her own and waved her hand. She knew she could be quite surprising, with bold ginger hair and light freckles speckling her pale complexion.

       “Oh no! I was just sitting down when I saw you just a little bit away, and I did not recognize you. Do you not live in town?”

       The girl relaxed slightly at Cassandera’s words, “Oh, yes I’m just visiting. I’ve always loved the theater. I heard some gossip about this new man named Shakespeare, and I couldn’t resist! My name is Lithia, and I’m delighted to meet you.”

       She smiled, full and bright. “My name is Cassandra, and it is a true pleasure. Do you have a favorite play?

       “Absolutely!” Lithia exclaimed. “I have an array of favorites, but Medea will always have a special place in my heart.”

        Cassandera laughed, a small raspy sound, “A favorite indeed! Personally, I’m quite fond of Shakespeare’s newest play, Romeo and Juliet.”

        Lithia managed to smile even brighter at that. “Isn’t it phenomenal? I only saw it recently, but it is truly a work of art. The romance weaved in with the tragedy, the characters and plot are all so intriguing. In my youth I used to attend plays in-” she abruptly cut herself off, and looked down towards her hands. “Forgive me, it was a long time ago, in a different life I could have lived.” She looked out into the theater almost like before.

        Cassandra did not know what she was talking about, but the familiar ache in her chest told her she did and could have possibly said those words herself. After all, she could barely count how many times she cried herself to sleep, begging for that simple life in Norway all those years ago.

        The conversation continued, but much more stifled. The play started as the two descended in silence. It was wonderful, witty and dramatic, but Cassandra couldn’t bring herself to fully enjoy it. When it ended, she looked eagerly to her companion, curious for her thoughts and to hear more about her life.

        But she was gone.