T is for Taylor
I'll preface today's post by asking you to forgive the strange grammar I'm going to use, here. I explained this at length back in November, but Taylor's gender is never revealed in the book - and indeed, I've made no decision about it one way or the other, either. I wanted to explore whether or not souls have gender, and what it means to love, and I wondered if love between souls could transcend gender. I did notice that every commenter so far has assumed that Taylor is a man, but I'm guessing that's because the love interest is a woman; if there are other reasons, though, I would love to hear them!
This decision, unfortunately, makes it not so easy to talk about Taylor in the third person...which is of course why this lifetime is told in the first person, from Taylor's own POV.
At any rate, as you all know by now, Taylor is a sheep farmer in Australia in the 1950s or 60s. Taylor lives alone, and has for many, many years; before Nat arrives, Taylor's only company were the sheep, and the neighbors, who live out of eye- and earshot, and only visit occasionally. This might sound lonely, but Taylor is a naturally solitary person, and loves this stable, predictable life. Yes, Taylor is of course our Rule Abider soul.
Needless to say, Nat comes in to this quiet life like, well, forgive the Miley Cyrus reference, but, a wrecking ball. Against Taylor's better judgement, they begin a no-strings-attached affair that should be uncomplicated and easy, and quickly becomes anything but, as Taylor realizes that not having anyone to love doesn't mean that the heart stops working altogether. It just hibernates for a while, until someone comes along and wakes it up, and then the heart finds that it's wide awake and ravenously hungry.
Things go well for a little while, until, of course, they don't. We enter their story as readers after things have gone south: Nat's gone for good - at least, that's what she said - and Taylor is desperate to find her. I'll let Taylor tell you a tiny bit about it (and once again, I'm making all of the sheep farming stuff up until I can research it, and correct it):
It all started because I was crazy enough to hire a local kid as a favor to an old friend. If I’d listened to myself, I never would have let the kid on the farm, and then when Nat came knocking I wouldn't have had a job for her, and she would have left. And that would have been the end of it. I wouldn't be here in my truck, leaving my flock at the height of the season to search for a ghost.But I didn't listen to myself; that was my first mistake. I ignored the kid's skinny arms and long hair, and gave him a chance. Holding sheep for shearing is no joke; a full-grown ewe can weigh more than a teenage boy, and will buck and kick and blow that boy’s shins out if he’s not careful. The kid took one look at the jostling crowd of dirty white backs, and did a runner. And left me short-handed with one thousand head of sheep to hold, shear, and cut loose. Bloody idiot. Me, that is, not the kid.I’m thinking about all of this because I have more time right now, sitting in my truck, than any person should have. We’re not made for driving around the country, scouring the grass for a shadow. At least, I’m not. Nat's different. In every way I can think of.