My mother died before I was born. Not long before I hear, but long enough that I never met her. This was the proper way of the cycle.

Sadly she never had a chance to leave me the customary “welcome to the family” message. My brother-sisters all gathered on the eve of their 13th year and were handed their messages. Opened as the sun went down, each of them got their willed advice. The things their mothers’ thought best for them to know from their previous lives.

I stood their with the rest, in the mourning room and pretended I too had been blessed with knowledge from my forebears. I don’t know what would happen if I was singled out, as different, as an Absentile.

I’m sure most of this congregation would never have even heard that word, let alone know what it meant. I’d stumbled upon it when searching for histories of those like me. Those who had lost their ancestry. It was unheard of, or at least hidden. I’d been turned away many times when asking a cycle above me. Once or twice I’d even dared to approach a ‘third’, getting close enough to ask what I was. The only response I got was a dilation of their pupil. A recognition I guess is the best I’d get.