He ran through it in his mind. It was clearly beginning to happen more often. First, the apple a few weeks before. The next time had been the faces in the audience at the Auditorium, just two days ago. Now, today, Fiona's hair.
Frowning, Jonas walked toward the Annex. I will ask The Giver, he decided.
The old man looked up, smiling, when Jonas entered the room. He was already seated beside the bed, and he seemed more energetic today, slightly renewed, and glad to see Jonas.
"Welcome," he said. "We must get started. You're one minute late."
"I apologi—" Jonas began, and then stopped, flustered, remembering there were to be no apologies.
He removed his tunic and went to the bed. "I'm one minute late because something happened," he explained. "And I'd like to ask you about it, if you don't mind."
"You may ask me anything."
Jonas tried to sort it out in his mind so that he could explain it clearly. "I think it's what you call seeing-beyond," he said.
The Giver nodded. "Describe it," he said.
Jonas told him about the experience with the apple. Then the moment on the stage, when he had looked out and seen the same phenomenon in the faces of the crowd.
"Then today, just now, outside, it happened with my friend Fiona. She herself didn't change, exactly. But something about her changed for a second. Her hair looked different; but not in its shape, not in its length. I can't quite—" Jonas paused, frustrated by his inability to grasp and describe exactly what had occurred.
Finally he simply said, "It changed. I don't know how, or why.
"That's why I was one minute late," he concluded, and looked questioningly at The Giver.
To his surprise, the old man asked him a question which seemed unrelated to the seeing-beyond. "When I gave you the memory yesterday, the first one, the ride on the sled, did you look around?"
Jonas nodded. "Yes," he said, "but the stuff—I mean the snow—in the air made it hard to see anything."
"Did you look at the sled?"
Jonas thought back. "No. I only felt it under me. I dreamed of it last night, too. But I don't remember seeing the sled in my dream, either. Just feeling it."
The Giver seemed to be thinking.
"When I was observing you, before the selection, I perceived that you probably had the capacity, and what you describe confirms that. It happened somewhat differently to me," The Giver told him. "When I was just your age—about to become the new Receiver—I began to experience it, though it took a different form. With me it was ... well, I won't describe that now; you wouldn't understand it yet.
"But I think I can guess how it's happening with you. Let me just make a little test, to confirm my guess. Lie down."
Jonas lay on the bed again with his hands at his sides. He felt comfortable here now. He closed his eyes and waited for the familiar feel of The Giver's hands on his back.
But it didn't come. Instead, The Giver instructed him, "Call back the memory of the ride on the sled. Just the beginning of it, where you're at the top of the hill, before the slide starts. And this time, look down at the sled."
Jonas was puzzled. He opened his eyes. "Excuse me," he asked politely, "but don't you have to give me the memory?"
"It's your memory, now, It's not mine to experience any longer. I gave it away."
"But how can I call it back?"
"You can remember last year, or the year that you were a Seven, or a Five, can't you?"
"It's much the same. Everyone in the community has one-generation memories like those. But now you will be able to go back farther. Try. Just concentrate."
Jonas closed his eyes again. He took a deep breath and sought the sled and the hill and the snow in his consciousness.
There they were, with no effort. He was again sitting in that whirling world of snowflakes, atop the hill.
Jonas grinned with delight, and blew his own steamy breath into view. Then, as he had been instructed, he looked down. He saw his own hands, furred again with snow, holding the tope. He saw his legs, and moved them aside for a glimpse of the sled beneath.
Dumbfounded, he stared at it. This time it was not a fleeting impression. This time the sled had—and continued to have, as he blinked, and stared at it again—that same mysterious quality that the apple had had so briefly. And Fiona's hair. The sled did not change. It simply was—whatever the thing was.
Jonas opened his eyes and was still on the bed. The Giver was watching him curiously.
"Yes," Jonas said slowly. "I saw it, in the sled."
"Let me try one more thing. Look over there, to the bookcase. Do you see the very top row of books, the ones behind the table, on the top shelf?"
Jonas sought them with his eyes. He stared at them, and they changed. But the change was fleeting. It slipped away the next instant.
"It happened," Jonas said. "It happened to the books, but it went away again."
"I'm right, then," The Giver said. "You're beginning to see the color red."
The Giver sighed. "How to explain this? Once, back in the time of the memories, everything had a shape and size, the way things still do, but they also had a quality called color.
"There were a lot of colors, and one of them was called red. That's the one you are starting to see. Your friend Fiona has red hair—quite distinctive, actually; I've noticed it before. When you mentioned Fiona's hair, it was the clue that told me you were probably beginning to see the color red."