Select Extraordinary Stories


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by Bernadette Martonik

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by Ignatius Aloysius

by Cassie Guy




Sleeping Dogs

as told by Cathy Husid-Shamir

I received three photos from friends in the last 24 hours of their sleeping dogs. Now, my friends know I love their dogs, but they don't send me photos every waking moment. The first one was from my friend Melissa. It came in on my phone, this picture of her delicious sleeping dog, Raina, and as I'm showing my husband, boom, in comes a photo of my friend Andrea's dog, Cowboy. It was getting late, so I shut my phone off and went to bed early. I got up the next morning, and the first message that comes in is your photo of Angel, tucked under the covers, snoring away. So I'm just kind of thinking about this in a fun way, wondering what the message is. I think, okay, my friends think of me when they see their dogs sleeping. Maybe I need to take more naps?  I go about my day, thinking about it and then sort of forgetting about it. That night, we were watching Tyler Henry the Hollywood medium, and afterwards, while I was in the shower, it occurred to me that tomorrow would be Peavi's birthday. Peavi was my cocker spaniel who would have been 27 this year. When she was dying, I visited an Animal Communicator. Whether or not we believe what the Animal Communicator said, she told me something helpful at the time. That Peavi stayed in the spirit world because her job was to help other doggies transition from this world to the next. She's sort of a saint, working both sides, helping people. As I'm remembering this in the shower, it starts to make sense. I think, oh my goodness, of course I am getting these photos today. It's Peavi telling me, "I am peaceful, I am resting at peace. I am happy." Because every time I looked at those friends' pictures, I felt happy. There is nothing more delicious to me than a peaceful, sleeping, happy dog. I think this insight was very true to our relationship. Peavi would give me these wonderful gifts of joy. 

Whether it's true or not, I'm keeping it.

 

 

 

 

Tree Hugger

by Jean Eisenhower

Tree-hugger.  The term drifted into my mind as I walked on a trail up Humbug Mountain (really) on the Oregon Coast, surrounded by 600-year old Douglas Fir trees, each one easily four-feet across, with vines creeping tangled around the bases of their trucks, with dolphin-size roots plunging into the earthen sea.  So different from the southwest desert where I lived. My husband and I were bicycling down the Washington, Oregon and northern California coast after having attended the 1987 annual Round River Rendezvous of Earth First!, the radical environmental activists I would come to think of as “my tribe.”  There I’d overheard a couple young men, one in dread-locks, another with short hair and a workman’s cap, ribbing each other with this term they’d obviously been called and taken to heart.  Tree-hugger. I wondered:  Did anyone ever really hug a tree for some purpose?  There were people in this movement, a minority for certain, who acted – what I thought then – strangely.  Some conducted “medicine circles” and sang New Agey songs.  They were a definite minority, strange and not embarrassed to be so strange.  I’d dropped in on one of those events when invited, but snuck away shortly after it began.  Now I imagined the leader of one circle hugging a little white-barked birch tree, and found the picture ludicrous.  Nah, I thought, concluding the subject.

Why don’t you try it? I heard, and staggered as my feet momentarily froze while my body continued forward.  

The voice had come from the trees, and didn’t have a quality I could remember – it hadn’t been audible – but was clearly there, in English, no less!

I’d been trying for the past year to articulate an intelligent explanation for what other people called Spirit.  I’d determined, after leaving the Christian Church in my twenties, that I didn’t want to arrive at any conclusion by argument or reason – so I’d enforced on myself a ban on spiritual reading and tried always to avoid using any jargon I’d heard.  I was in my thirties then, and had been open for years to the idea that, if Spirit existed, it would make itself known to me.  Otherwise, no argument or reading could convince me. Nothing had convinced me, yet.  Everything others got shivery about, or intuitions for, or seeming answers to prayer, I assumed were simple perceptions of subtle energy from atoms and light, nothing unusual.  If anything was special, I thought, we were – we probably had more subtle perceptions than were currently recognized.  I called it natural, not supernatural.  This reasonable conclusion, even to me today, did not, however, inspire me to try to develop my subtle perceptions.  I didn’t want to risk contaminating my quasi-scientific inquiry by getting my imagination involved.  If Spirit was going to speak to me, it was going to have to come to me.  I wasn’t going to it.

Meantime, I’d had a few anomalous experiences, but stubbornly refused to acknowledge them. 

I walked on, ignoring “what could not be,” eyes on the trail, the trees earning no more attention than what I gave from the corners of my vision.  I didn’t believe in things like this.  I’d joined American Atheists, just for the card to prove I was a rational empiricist, not someone with spirals in her eyes.

Then I sensed the trees’ disappointment.  And I thought (and my heart sank with this idea):  A rational empiricist had to consider the evidence, even if she doesn’t like the apparent corollaries or conclusion.  To wit:  I had to hug a tree.  

I’d long said I’d consider the evidence if Spirit ever talked to me.  But I didn’t want to.  What if my husband, ahead on the trail came back down and caught me?  Or a family from the campground below?  I’d be mortified. I stopped and turned toward the forest, scanning the trees with my eyes.  Nothing seemed unusual.  No faces in the bark.  The world still seemed perfectly normal. I would do it, or berate myself ever after for not having the guts to test out a theory.  I’d never be able to feel honest again about my beliefs.

Sending up a quick (ironic) prayer for privacy, I forced myself to approach a tree, but soon discovered the roots were all so large and descending at such steep angles from so high on the trunks, it would be impossible to stand near any.  I was saved! Just like Abraham with Isaac, I thought (sunday school lessons still surfaced), the sacrifice didn’t actually have to be made, so long as I was willing.  Having learned my lesson, not to be so sure of myself and reality, I could now get back on my way. Turning to go, directly in front of me was a tree I’d just passed, with a root that made a right angle from the trunk, at a perfectly comfortable stair-step height.  Had this tree shape-shifted?!  (Tony Hillerman novels were my only education on this concept known to Native Americans and others with shamanic knowledge.) Re-resigning myself to the task, I stepped on the trunk and wondered how long would constitute a fair test.  Checking myself, that I still felt in possession of my normal rational faculties, I realized: even if I think I hear something, it won’t prove anything. I might only go the rest of my life wondering whether I’d imagined it.  

But I’d do the test.  Since I was there. Wrapping my arms around the tree, I leaned in my chest while my fingertips searched out crevices into which they might dip.  

Letting go a breath to relax, I was immediately stunned by something that seemed like a beautiful cascade of light that fell through the crown of my head and dispersed all agitation from my body.  I felt as if I’d had a radio tuned to static inside my body my entire life – and the radio had just been turned blessedly off. I never felt so good – literally, ever.  Stepping off the tree trunk backward, two steps without taking my eyes from this tree, I raised my hands in a classic prayer pose and slowly nodded my silent thanks.Would people now see me with pinwheels in my eyes?  

Afterword:  In the intervening 26 years, I spent seven years living alone in the Arizona desert as a hermit, during which time I experienced many more anomalous events and came to feel that I understand the basis for most religions - though not all of their contemporary practices.  Back in society again, I feel that I walk between the worlds, the mundane and the multi-dimensional, and I'm very grateful.


Nancy Called To Say Goodbye

by Kris Young


The Lady in the Restaurant

by Patti Neuman

 

 

Other People's Visions

by Audrey Ellam

I entered a temp agency in London back in the early 80's. On walking through the door the woman behind the desk who didn't know me from Adam, reeled back in her chair and said, “OMG, you are going to live overseas somewhere, the States or maybe Australia" She said she saw me crossing large oceans of water.

“Huh,” I replied. I was thinking, “that’s nice, but do you have a job?”

I moved to the States six years later and have been here ever since.

Oddly, about ten years later, I had a vision experience similar to hers when going to see a horse for sale in England (I was in the States at this point). When I first peeked a patch of the horse's coat through a hole in the stall wall, I suddenly and quite naturally saw huge ocean with waves rolling on and on, over which I was travelling at jet speed not more than 20 feet above. Like I was galloping. I felt the ocean spray on my face and had to squint my eyes, rivulets of water poured down my face. The wind tore through my hair and my mouth tasted the salt. It was wild, it was exhilarating and it all happened in a nano second as I apparently didn't miss a second of my next moment in real time. Needless to say, the horse was perfect and went overseas, back to the States with me.

There have been many such experiences. I learn to trust them as I get older and they are becoming more frequent.

 

 

 

Seatmates

By Terra Mortenson

My husband and I were traveling to the EU in 1997 two days after Lady Di was killed. On our layover in Ontario en route to London, we started talking to two girls our age who looked cool. Turns out they were from Atlanta, not far from where we lived in Birmingham. When it was time to go, we boarded our plane, a HUGE 747, and found we had seats beside them. We talked for six straight hours in flight and agreed we all had to get in and out of London before it was overtaken with mourners. We planned to meet in Munich a month later at Octoberfest on 10/3 at 3:00 under the town square clock. Tim & I were surprised but happy to see them there, and had a great time. We planned to meet in Prague a month later, but when the time came, we were late, and so were they. After waiting a while, we left, and figured we'd never see them again. A few days later, we literally ran into them walking around in Prague. We agreed that the friendship was meant to be. We exchanged home phone #s (this was pre-cell phone and email) and went separate ways, promising that we'd get together in the states in a few months. Tim & I changed our return flight go home a couple weeks early. Michelle's money was stolen so, unbeknownst to us, she also had to fly home early. Our flight was delayed something like 4 hours and we missed our connection in Paris. We were walking though busy Charles de Gaulle when we heard our names called from across the crowd. It was Michelle. Such a strange coincidence, it still gives me chills. We declared we were platonic soul mates and vowed to go back to Prague the following year to live, which we did. Fast forward to 2013: We've all moved around the country some, but have settled in our home towns, about 2.5 hours apart.  Last year Tim and I shared out 15 year "friend anniversary" in October with her and her husband. I have never had a girl friend I love more or have felt such a connection to. If I believed in God I might say s/he was puling strings, but I'll settle for luck and serendipity.

 

Guided by Mary

by Lisa Taylor

It all started on a two-week tour to Turkey with astronomers, belly dancers and feminine divine devotees. It all started because a plane was cancelled from New York City to Istanbul and I had to stay the night. I called a friend from Louisiana who I knew was in town visiting. He chose of all things to take me to The Cloisters, the beautiful gift of John Rockefeller. There I became enamored for the first time with images of the Virgin Mary. I had never been interested in religious icons particularly, but this time I saw something that provoked me. Some artists had created images of Mary as a domestic servant and others had created images of her as a queen mother.  I noted the differences and discussed it a bit with my pal not thinking anything more about it.

As it turned out, that was the launching of a two-week trip that became all about Mary. I had thought my focus would be pre-Christian images, such as the one found at Catal Hayuk in Central Turkey. That was the reason I signed up for the trip. But Mary seems to have wanted me to get to know her instead.

My experiences on the trip were magical. I will limit myself to the most obvious examples of the serendipity that happened for me.  Besides the great luck of having a friend conveniently in town who manifested my exposure to Mary at the Cloisters, I also feel that what happened in the tiny town of Ephesus, Turkey opened my soul in a new way. First, I went into the Chapel of Mary, which I knew nothing about. Turns out a German nun dreamt that Mary had been escorted to Ephesus and that she might have lived there.  In honor of that dream, Germany had sent a beautiful wood carved Black Madonna to sit in the place of honor in the chapel. I happened to have lived in Germany so the myth caught my interest especially since the priest I asked was Maltese (where I had spent my last spiritual journey).

I happened to sit down in the chapel next to a gal who was known for hearing voices. Sure enough, she heard a voice as I was sitting there and she chose to tell me as she said the message had been directed to me. She said Mary told her to tell me that she had spent half her life in joy and half her life in sorrow.

I began to cry. For the rest of the trip, which included a stop at a Chapel for Mary in Istanbul that shows her life in the ceiling frescos, a ceremony in Vienna on Mary’s Ascension Day, and a final stop at Marianplatz (Mary’s square) in Munich, I cried at her site.  I had gone through a divorce and was torn about the new man in my life. I had suffered from severe depression.

When I arrived back in Dallas, the first meeting I had was at the Cathedral Guadalupe where the largest image of the Virgin of Guadalupe I have ever seen is housed.  

The message of half my life in joy and sorrow has taken effect.

 

Back to Life

By Frank Sadowski

The following extraordinary moment--an unexpected insight about his health-- is an excerpt from Frank Sadowski's book, Back To Life: A Bladder Cancer Journey.

 

[Dr. Daneshmand]'s receptionist told me he was interested in my case, and in fact had already requested that the original pathology slides of the removed tumor be sent to him. She explained that he only worked from the actual slides, not any other doctors’ third-party reports. She told me the slides were being couriered down to Portland that very day. She asked me how soon I could be available to come down to OHSU. When I answered, “Three hours,” she laughed and said, “Well, how about Thursday around noon?”

And so on Thursday morning I found myself driving down I-5 to Portland alone. My mind was all over the place, and I suddenly remembered an episode from about six weeks earlier that I had completely forgotten. I don’t particularly believe in the occult or paranormal experiences, but I do believe that sometimes we just “know” things. I had inexplicably awakened at about 3:15 a.m. and was lying on my back with my hands clasped behind my head staring into the darkness when Laura woke up and asked me if something was wrong. I answered her with words that surprised me as much as they did her, because I had not even thought them before they emerged from my mouth.

“There is something inside of me,” I said.

“You mean something in your mind?”

“No. Something is in my body. Something is wrong, and I have no idea what it is.”

We went back to sleep with no further discussion, and I promptly forgot about it until that moment in the car. It was obvious to me now that somehow I had sensed the cancer inside me, even though I had no physical discomfort or pain of any kind prior to the blood episode. A chill went through me as I tried to imagine what my next course of treatment would entail.

 

 

     Brooke is a psychologist, a wife and mother of two in Evanston, Illinois. She specializes in treating women's mental health before, during and after child birth. Brooke is writing a memoir about madness and sisterhood, telling the story of her brother who has schizophrenia.

Brooke is a psychologist, a wife and mother of two in Evanston, Illinois. She specializes in treating women's mental health before, during and after child birth. Brooke is writing a memoir about madness and sisterhood, telling the story of her brother who has schizophrenia.

Ring Finger

By Brooke Laufer

In the middle of March when we had our first warm day of the year, I felt inspired and put on my garden gloves to do some work in the yard. Almost immediately I felt a terrible pain in my finger. I whipped off the gloves and a bee flew out of the left one, fell to the ground and promptly died. It had stung me underneath my wedding ring.

My finger was throbbing and instantly started swelling. I iced it and took Advil. And I drank wine. But the next morning it still throbbed and my finger was huge. For the previous five years, since my first pregnancy, I hadn’t been able to take the ring off (a beautiful antique with diamonds and sapphires, chosen by my husband some 10 years earlier), and now that I had been stung, the ring was cutting off all circulation and I was losing sensation in my finger. I went to a jeweler and asked them to cut off the ring. They told me to go straight to the Emergency Room, which I didn’t want to do, as it seemed an overreaction and I was busy with work. So I called Robert, my Polish handyman friend, who came over with several tools. He worked and sweated over my finger for a while, the ring now embedded in swollen skin. I was in a great deal of pain and several times cried out while he cut at the white gold band, even though he worked gently. Finally the ring snapped in half and fell to the floor.  

My husband was quite upset about what had happened. He thought I should have gone to the ER, and was hurt and miffed by how the ring was “hacked off so thoughtlessly”. I suggested he have the ring fixed as my birthday gift. He was insulted by that idea and we fought, as was so consistent for our marriage. The ring, in its pieces, sat in a ziplock bag in his desk drawer.

Later that year, as my 40th birthday came around, he surprised me by having the ring fixed and resized so that I could wear it again. The jeweler called me when the ring was finished and left me a message letting me know it was in their safe waiting for me. It took several more weeks before I finally retrieved the ring and put it back on my finger.

One week after I had gotten the ring back I was getting the kids out of the car, waiting for them to shuffle out of their car seats, I suddenly felt tremendous pain in my left hand as the car door slammed shut on it. I had to use my right hand to open the door again and release my left hand. It was my ring finger, with the newly repaired ring on it, throbbing and swelling fast. Again, I put it on ice and took Advil. And drank wine.

I went grocery shopping. Unable to use my left hand, the cashier asked me if I was ok. I told her what had happened. About the bee sting too. Her eyes widened and she told me about a book, Are you My Mother? by Alison Bechdel. There's a chapter in that book, she said, about how physical injuries are signs from our unconscious mind.

Now I was getting curious about the connection between both ring finger experiences. I got home and searched my inbox for an email I had sent to my friend describing the day the bee had stung me, in search of important details I may have forgotten. In the search results was an email that had been returned to me from my mother with the subject line:

“A message I did not get”

That was an email I had sent to my mom months earlier, but it never made it to her, some strange email glitch. I opened the email and read my own description about how I was feeling better about my marriage in the past few days. I also mention how the bee stung me, how my finger was quite swollen and how I was thinking I’d get the ring cut off. I wrote how I was looking forward to having it cleaned and fixed, since it had been dull and damaged for a while.

From my current perspective, it was hard to ignore the connection between my damaged ring, and my troubled marriage. It was right there.

Later that evening I called my husband while icing my finger and drinking wine. I told him about my finger getting shut in the car door and the possibility I’d need to cut the ring off again. He laughed nervously and made a joke about throwing the ring in Lake Michigan. I laughed too.

We talked for a long time. He came home and we made love. The swelling went down that night. In the morning it was clear I would not need to get the ring cut off. It seemed I had found a better way to respond to my damaged marriage. 

 

 ALBA MACHADO is a former Chicago Public School teacher who is currently writing a novel about the harrowing experience as her thesis project for the Creative Writing MFA Program at Columbia College Chicago. Her work has appeared in Curbside Splendor, Knee-Jerk Magazine, Gapers Block, and others; and she is the founding editor of Literary Chicago, an intermittent blog that publishes essays, reviews, interviews, and write-ups of literary events like The Marrow

ALBA MACHADO is a former Chicago Public School teacher who is currently writing a novel about the harrowing experience as her thesis project for the Creative Writing MFA Program at Columbia College Chicago. Her work has appeared in Curbside Splendor, Knee-Jerk Magazine, Gapers Block, and others; and she is the founding editor of Literary Chicago, an intermittent blog that publishes essays, reviews, interviews, and write-ups of literary events like The Marrow

 

The Ten Percent of Me That Still Asks

by Alba Machado. 

I laughed out loud at a woman recently. Like a bully. My cousin, Angie, and I, were at Walgreens, on one end of the refrigerated aisle and the woman, another shopper, was on the other end, easily twenty feet away from us. Angie dropped a box of ice cream bars and the woman said—from twenty feet away—“Oh, did I do that?” And then I said, “YOU ARE STANDING TWENTY FEET AWAY FROM US. DO YOU HAVE TELEKINESIS?” And then I laughed out loud, but, really, only like 90 percent of me was laughing. The other ten percent was asking, “DOES she have telekinesis?”

We’re more than 200 years beyond the Age of Reason but, still, we like our magic. We like to look up our horoscopes and make birthday wishes. When I was a kid, I loved it that my Mexican grandma put a raw egg in a bowl of water and left it under my bed so it would suck all the cold and flu out of me, and I loved it that my Cuban grandma left little cups of rum on the altar she built for her patron saint, Santa Barbara, saint of explosives.

And then, at fifteen, I found Jesus magic. This guy, he fed 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, or maybe it was 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread—it depends on who you believe, John or Matthew—but either way, it’s impressive. Of course, you had to follow his rules, and there were a lot of them, and one of them was no other magic besides Jesus magic. For me, it was not easy to avoid non-Jesus magic. Not with Ouija boards and palm reading and Susie Castillo’s friendship bread, which was a Tupperware of dough that got passed around from friend to friend, each taking one-fourth of it, baking it, eating it, and replenishing the remaining dough with more doughy ingredients—a Tupperware of dough that really did seem like magic when it opened itself up in the middle of the night with a loud pop and you were not yet aware of how yeast worked. There was non-Jesus magic everywhere.

I even had a friend who called herself a Santera. Jackie Ramirez. I was at her place one day to tell her about Jesus and I really hoped she’d become a follower, too, because she, of all people, needed his kind of magic, not just because she practiced witchcraft, but also because she was a sixteen-year-old girl who had a two-year-old baby and a 25-year-old baby daddy—who was abusive. His name was George and she loved him. She told me that she loved him so much that just the day before she made him a big, fancy spaghetti dinner with a very special ingredient in the sauce: about two tablespoons of her menstrual blood. It was a love spell. As luck would have it, shortly after she finished explaining this to me, he appeared outside, yelling for her to let him in. “He’s drunk,” Jackie said to me. “He’s drunk and I never let him in when he’s drunk, because if I do he’ll just hit me, and then, later, he won’t even remember.” She told me that part of her love spell addressed just that. It was not only a stay-with-me spell; it was also a stop-beating-me spell. The shouting was joined by pounding and kicking and it all got louder and louder until there was a wail, a thud, and then silence. George was on the cement. We thought he’d just passed out from too much drinking, but, later, Jackie told me that he’d damaged a nerve in his leg and could no longer walk. He needed her to take care of him, so he wouldn’t leave. And he was confined to a wheelchair, so he wouldn’t beat her anymore. And ten percent of me was asking, “WHAT COULD I DO WITH MY MENSTRUAL BLOOD?”

And then there was Hector Barbosa. He was not a magic person. But for a brief, unforgettable moment, he helped to make me into a magic person, even though he came along well after high school, after it became a lot easier—and more desirable—for me to avoid magic, both the Jesus and non-Jesus varieties. Hector worked with me at a middle school on the southwest side of Chicago. We were both aides. He seemed nice enough at first; he was funny, he showed me the ropes, and most of the kids seemed to like him. I liked him. Until I didn’t. Until we were riding home from the Museum of Science and Industry with 70 fifth graders and I sat next to little Ahmad, who was doing his very best impression of a big boy, a boy who doesn’t cry, a boy who doesn’t tattletale, only I saw the shaking, the tears welling up in his eyes, and I asked him, I said, “Ahmad, sweetie, what’s wrong?” and after some hesitation, he finally told me that Francisco Garcia punched him in the face—because Hector told him to do just that. Hector. Grown-up Hector. The one whose job it was to do the exact opposite of telling one kid to punch another kid in the face. I comforted Ahmad the best I could, and then, when we got back to school, I pulled Hector aside to ask him what happened, and he said, “You know how it is. Frankie’s my boy. And that Ahmad kid’s a prick. He’s always following Frankie around, like—like a faggot. So, yeah, I told Frankie to handle his business.”

One of the things I loved most about Jesus was that, with his rulebook, you didn’t have to worry about whether or not your conscience was out-of-order; the book would tell you what was right and what was wrong. It was so easy. I could have told Hector, “Oh my god, your conscience is broken. You need this book.” But, then, the book might have been okay with punching people like Ahmad, since it was more than okay with throwing rocks at people like Ahmad—until they were dead. It’s a big part of the reason I wasn’t a fan anymore. Magic wasn’t going to help me now—or so I thought.

If you would have seen me the next few days, all you would have seen was a pudgy woman sitting at a dingy, battered desk with five shelves of old textbooks mounted on the wall behind me, like always. The way I felt, though, I was a cowboy in one of those old Westerns, perched at a window with a stalk of wheat between my teeth and a shotgun in my lap, waiting for the bad guys to show up. Hector had been reprimanded for his actions. He was now on probation. He was now required to have another adult present while he worked with children, at all times. And, of course, he was well aware that he had me to thank for all that.

I expected him to barge in guns a’ blazing. But he didn’t. He took his time. He let a full week pass and then when he finally appeared, I was alone, and his movements were slow and deliberate, like a predator who knew his prey was trapped. I tried to seem unimpressed while I wished I had health insurance and wondered why I never invested in pepper spray. I mean, he had a boxer’s physique and I wore granny panties. I knew I was unmatched. But still, when he got four feet away from me, I placed my hands on the desk, palms down, so I could get up, look him in the eyes and tell him in my very best impression of a big girl, “I’m not scared of you.” But I never did get up. I never did say anything. The very moment I placed my hands on the desk, palms down, all five of those shelves behind me came crashing down with the thundering weight of bronze, plywood, 125 or so thick, heavy textbooks—and my righteous indignation. The timing was so perfect that I felt very much like I had done that shit; that was me; I HAD TELEKINESIS, MOTHERFUCKER. Just like that woman in the refrigerated aisle at Walgreens. Only so much cooler. And Hector seemed to agree. He gasped, threw his hands up in surrender, and took his useless boxer’s physique right out of my sight. He resigned not long after.

And it was magic. Not Jesus magic or Santera magic, or any kind of magic you can conjure up at will. It was maybe the only kind of magic that's real: synchronicity. Our universe is so huge and complex and has so many moving parts that, yes, or course, at times, the stars will align; the perfect thing will happen at the perfect time; a Tupperware container will pop open, a man will become paralyzed, and a series of wall shelves ail come crashing down. Or my dousing will drop a box of ice cream bars in the refrigerated aisle at Walgreens. And I will become a bully who then remembers a bully who once played a part in making magic real.

 


The Raincoat

by M Romigh:

Almost thirty years ago, while we were making love, my partner found a lump in my breast. I didn't have insurance, so I ignored the lump and hoped it would go away. But it grew, and it became painful. Finally, I scraped together enough money and scheduled an appointment with a doctor who immediately took a biopsy. Waiting for days to find out about the results of the biopsy, I lived in a state of constant anxiety, convinced I had cancer and was going to die. Over the weekend, a friend drove me out to the beach for the day, trying to get my mind off the lump that was consuming all my thoughts. Coming back from the beach, as my friend drove, I stared out the window, wondering how many days of my life were left. We were on a curvy deserted South Carolina island road when I spotted a large, bright turquoise bag on the side of the road. As we drove past it, I had the strongest feeling that the bag was meant for me. I told my friend what I saw and she turned the car around and pulled over next to the bag, and I got out of the car to retrieve it. Inside the bag was a brand new MIsty Harbor raincoat with the tags still hanging from the sleeve. The coat was a 10 petite and fit me like it was made for me. Sewn into the collar of the coat was my message from the universe: "Wear in good health." When I saw the tag, I burst into tears. I knew I was going to be alright. I knew I was not going to die. When the doctor called to tell me the growth was benign, I told him I already knew that. The following Monday, I put an ad in the local paper trying to find the owner of the coat. The ad ran for three days, but no one ever called to claim the coat. I accepted the gift and wore the coat for many years, always feeling touched by something powerful every time I slid my arms into the sleeves.

 

Earthquake

 by S. Dunifer


A number of years ago I was sleeping in on a Saturday morning.  After turning back over for a bit more sleep I experienced a rather vivid lucid dream of being in Seattle.  I was standing underneath the over hang of a parking structure for protection from pumice rocks dropping from the sky, the result of a nearby volcanic eruption that had turned the sky into a rainbow collage.  The whole city was shaking and rolling from seismic activity.  Not only visually dramatic but auditory as well - could hear the pumice rocks whistling asthey fell and crashing to the ground.  After waking up, my first reaction was to say to myself, holy crap - left with the premonition that Seattle was due for a major earthquake within a few days.  I told some friends about this, they were a bit skeptical.  Despite this, I was rather convinced of what was about to happen.  Their opinion changed as of the following Monday, however.  That was the day that Seattle was struck by a major quake.  Afterwards, several of my friends said that if I ever had a similar dream about the Bay Area that was to call them immediately so they could make a quick exit.  



Dying in A Ditch

 By Paul Chattenooga


I died. In a ditch. I was driving my truck and towing a boat in Florida, and I went over a bump in the road. The chain was too taut and the boat flipped up over the trust and landed on top of me, crushing the truck. Then the truck rolled over several times off the highway. I was in and out of consciousness, but I remember coming around and trying to lift myself up, but I had no use of my arms. Everything was broken on the right side—the shoulder, my ribs. There was blood everywhere. A fireman came, and then a helicopter. I don’t remember much—I had a hematoma on the brain—and I stopped breathing for a while. There wasn’t much likelihood I’d survive—I’d lost a lot of blood. The fireman brought me back to life. They told me this after. While I was out I didn’t see a bright light. I didn’t talk to God. I didn’t see anything, but I felt warm, like the warmest bath I would ever have, the most comfortable, peaceful, and content I had ever been in my life. I knew I was dead and I was okay with it. I felt no pain and no regret and no fear and none of the things you think you’ll feel when your time comes. When I woke up, the pain started rushing in. My head was split and my whole body was shattered. And I was furious. I was furious that I was out of the warm bath, back to a life where my body was broken and needed to recover. I had been ready to die, and I don’t know that I’ll be as ready the next time. I hope I am. The strange thing is, that hematoma that almost killed me—that did kill me but not for good—they couldn’t find any evidence of it after a few months. It showed up on the CT scans twice during my rehab. Once you have a hematoma they don’t just disappear. They remain and are often a recurring problem. The doctors said to me, “this just doesn’t happen. They don’t just disappear.” But mine did. I don’t feel all that different, except I’m a lot tougher now. And I’m a lot more careful with decisions I make and what I put my body through.