“Repeated coincidence is more than a fluke. It becomes a pattern.” JSM
-The Fifty Ninth Day-
Her short visit was right to the point, right to business, and she left as quick as she arrived.
I can say for a fact, I looked too far into it.
Didn’t see that coming, did you?
She placed a box down on the counter, “Here’s a couple of mugs, a few small plates, this one is chipped so be careful, and plastic cups. I hope you don’t mind the color. Two soup pans. An old skillet that works, but I haven’t used it in a while. Might need to clean it up. Some silverware still in the box and… some Tupperware. Nice place you got here.”
“Thanks. Still a work in progress.”
“OK then. See you next time you’re in the building.”
I thanked her and she was out the door and on the way back to her apartment. I waved through the window, locked up behind her, and focused my attention to the kitchen.
I washed the dishes, scrubbed down the skillet then tested it’s functionality with a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches. When I dropped into my office chair to scarf them down, I turned to an overlooked private message on the computer monitor. That’s weird. Nobody contacts me.
8:57pm was the time received.
When attending college (the first time around) I had an English Professor who made the class fun and interesting. I don’t recall which one it was. English 101, Creative Writing, or a standard fundamentals class. Can’t remember.
One of his statements stuck with me though. Paraphrased: “Throughout your life, you’ll have two, perhaps three close friends. The friends who are true friends. The ones you can trust and confide in. The ones you can share secrets with, and know those secrets are safe. The friend you don’t see in years, and then pick it all back up from where you left off like the separation never happened. Only two, maybe three. The rest are just acquaintances.”
In the old life my friends and I drifted apart. One of my closest I hadn’t seen, save two visits, in close to a decade. My professor’s declaration had a hint of truth because out of the blue I reconnected with my old buddy.
8:57pm on the 59th day of Island living.
“Tell me all about it, Jere.”
So I did and I left nothing out.
We chatted through the keyboard for a couple of hours, had some LOL moments, talked the tough talks and at the end I was opened up to different opportunities of thinking. Ways of looking at things, life, and situations I hadn’t considered.
During the chat we were able to share similarities in our lives and bounce ideas back and forth and unload some burdens. Through our conversation(s) that night, I was able to see the other side of the fence and listening to someone else, besides myself and everyone around me proclaiming, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”
“No. Be realistic. In an ideal world, everything is fine.”
At the conclusion of our online visit we were talking movies, video games, computers, TV shows, dirty jokes, work schedules, and getting together for lunch as soon as possible. Like nothing ever happened. As though there was never a ten year gap.
Before we parted ways I asked apprehensively out of the blue, on a curious whim, “Are you familiar with numerology, or anything with numbers? I know it’s weird, but the number fifty seven keeps popping up. Even tonight, your message was sent at 8:57. I woke from a nightmare at 6:57 in the morning on the 57th day of being here. I see it frequently on license plates, digital clocks, work calculations, random occurrences. I’ve never looked into numbers, but it’s really strange. More than coincidence now. It stands out to the point where I expect to see it, and I chuckle to myself when I do. That kind of strange. I can’t explain it.”
“Look into it. See if anything shows up on a search.”
After I closed out the chat, I dived into the internet ocean to begin my scavenger hunt.
Nothing of substance appeared. Mostly pop culture references: The number of episodes a show lasted before cancellation. How many days a popular band toured. Nothing that centered around “me” however. The number fifty seven was a “figment of my imagination,” irrelevant to life, yet adding another layer to how I felt about myself.
Are you losing your freaking mind?
It was strange and I archived it all away on the back burner of my brain and decided to ignore the entire thing.
I shrugged it off, concluded that the experience with the number had zero significance and carried on.
Not until five years later would I make the connection, and that’s a tale for another time. I still laugh when I think about it. The look on Nancy’s face when I told her. The look on my face when I discovered it. Life is so funny. So unexpected. So mysterious.
I love puzzles, solving riddles, and interpreting life how I desire. Attempting to make sense of what doesn’t make sense. Interjecting my own “what ifs” into the mix of ideas. Trying to peel back layers and seeking that which makes me scratch my head and confuse me enough to want to figure it all out.
Like visiting a medieval castle and bolting straight for the walls in search of the secret passageway and hidden rooms. I know you’re here somewhere.
Life is a castle full of secret tunnels and hidden corridors and I like to explore.
Like I’ve said, my hobbies have been different and unorthodox.
I was thirsty though. I ached to understand that which puzzled me and I wanted to drink it all in. I wasn’t satisfied with a surface answer. I’d see something on TV and the moment my curiosity was sparked, I opened up Google and sought it out. Oh, that’s what that is. Now I know.
Not long after reconnecting with my friend I had the first dream about Joe. My hitchhiking excursion.
It’s all just a dream. It’s all just a dream. A dream can be interpreted any way you wish.
The following night, he reappeared and visited me on the porch. Shelby and I were sitting together outside staring at the night sky and Joe popped into the moment, and interrupted our silent time.
He paced back and forth on the porch wood and spoke slowly, “Jeremy, I love her. When you decide to kill her… do it gently. Don’t make it painful. Please?”
When I opened my eyes my breathing was normal, it was still nighttime, and I refused to fall back asleep. I never screamed or lurched from the bed and sweat never broke out across my face.
I was wide awake and terrified.
Instead of reacting as one normally would to the sensation of fear, my eyelids merely snapped open and I was staring at the white ceiling with my hands folded over my chest. I sat up slow, turned the television volume up and brewed some coffee.
I didn’t sleep after that for three days.
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