Her first memory is of a dark, slow journey. Many years went by before she realized that what she was remembering was birth, her own, into this world.
The memory came to her first as sensation. Often, in the borderland of sleep and waking, she would feel herself traveling through a tunnel. Slow and soft, as if she were lying on her stomach in a rowboat rowed by someone else. Liquid metal occasionally felt its way around her head.
Everything was warm and dark and quiet. In the darkness she could see light at the end; she was traveling toward light. She had no words but she was fully sentient. She was fully aware of what was happening, and what was happening was that she was beginning a new life, in this world.
The feeling was one of inevitability, and the calm acceptance that goes along with it.
Here we go.
She was in her twenties before she understood that she was reliving memory, and not a fluke sensation of the blurred edge of sleep. The soft metal? Forceps. The light? Light. The calm acceptance? Because she had chosen it, chosen to come here.
In her middle age she wonders what came before. She wonders if she decided, before that journey into this world, what she hoped to learn in this life. She wonders if she chose the people she would meet, and the sorrows she would face, and how she would grow through them. She remembers knowing she would emerge into light. She remembers the feeling of Here we go now. Whatever comes. She draws strength from that feeling, that one in particular. Here we go now. Whatever comes.