The next time it happened was when I was in high school, ninth grade. I was a skinny kid with cloudy hazel eyes, a chiseled jawline, bushy eyebrows and curly yet slick, jet-black hair I often pulled back into a ponytail. My mom had gotten a better nursing job at another hospital that was a little farther away and my father quit his engineering job at California Edison and began working as an independent contractor. He said the pay is better and you have complete control of when you want to work. He trained as an electrician for about six months then trained as a plumber for another eight on the side while I was in middle school.
I was attending Chino Hills High School, where teens were teens. Seniors kissing in front of the building, nerds with glasses huddled together forming their own little groups, kids sitting on the grass reading books like they were already in college and professors pulling into their parking spots in the back and using the side entrance. I still wasn’t much of a talker, but making friends wasn’t exactly difficult for me nor was it on the top of my list. My parents took the day off from work to drop me off to school for my first day. Most kids would’ve been embarrassed but I was cool with my parents, still am. I see them on holidays and spend quality time when I’m not on the road searching for the answer (more on that later).
It was the usual have-a-great-first-day and go-in-there-and-crush-it-slugger process and I simply nodded. My mom added that I needed to use my voice if I wanted to make friends so I audibly said I will. I got out of the car and shut the door. I already knew they wouldn’t drive off until I was inside the school, so I got to walking. When I got to the entrance and looked back, I saw them wave at me and I waved back as my father put the car in drive and drove off.
The inside of the school was like any other, just a hallway filled with a bunch of kids moving around almost aimlessly but organized at the same time and lockers on either side and classroom doors with numbers on the top. The lockers were strawberry red, and the floor was a dark gray and the walls were the standard white (who came up with the color schemes for schools? I have no idea). I walked through the hall, slithering past kids struggling to make sense of their new schedules and other kids who looked completely lost and hopeless. There were others who looked like they and it all figured out and under control; I assumed they were the juniors and seniors, and they were.
As I made my way to first-period gray smoke consumed my vision and my body shut down like a computer mainframe when someone flips the switch. Suddenly I was in another world it seemed, and it was the same as when I was five. I could see everything. I saw the professors in the teacher’s lounge chatting up, but I didn’t hear them. I could only see them (probably talking about how they were gonna fail as many of us as possible).
I saw someone robbing a bank in another state I’d never set foot in on a cloudy day; judging from the dirt brown overcoat and ski-mask he had on, it must’ve been cold where he was. I saw my parents driving toward the house yelling at each other about something. I couldn’t hear them either. Suddenly, my father pressed on the brakes as an eighteen-wheeler drove by and almost crashed into them. The vision immediately switched from that to a band playing a concert filled with thousands of people jumping up and down like monkeys trapped in a cage, the musicians singing wildly to the point one guy destroyed his own guitar. Why? You got me on that one. Hey. . . Hey. . . HEY!!! I snapped back to reality.
“Hello?” A goth girl was snapping and waving her fingers in my face. Her face was powdered to death and she had black mascara and black lipstick. Her hair was done in buns that made her look like Minnie Mouse gone over to the dark side. “Earth to Pretty Boy, anyone home?”
Her face shocked me at first but a moment later I shook myself awake and got adjusted, “Sorry about that.”
“What are you sorry for?” She said.
I had no response. She smiled.
“I’m just messing with you.” She said. “My name’s Kayla. What’s yours?”
“Kay,” I said.
“I know my name,” she chuckled. “I’m asking you what’s yours.”
“My name is Kay. Kay Mckenzie.”
“You’re serious?” She asked. “Your name is Kay?”
She laughed lightly for someone who’s supposed to be on the dark side, “Wow, who would’ve thought God would put us together like a T.V. show.”
I looked at her for a moment then got what she was referencing. Kay and Kayla. Now that I think about it, it does sound like a T.V. show.
“You know what class you got?” She asked when she stopped laughing.
“Yeah, I got home economics first.”
“Oh god,” She rolled her eyes, “don’t tell me you’re one of those who say everything formally.”
“You don’t talk much, do you?”
I shook my head.
“Fine with me.” She said. “I hate people that talk too much.”
She took out her schedule and looked at it. Then she took mine as if it were hers and looked at it, then smiled.
“Well, pretty boy,” She said, “Looks like we have every class together.”
She showed me the schedules and they were identical. We looked at each other. I shrugged and she just smiled at me. Her dark brown eyes lighting up.
“Come on,” She took me by the wrist, “I’ll show you around.”
That was the second time the God Memory struck me, and that was also when I met Kayla, my future wife. She knows all about it and she’s been with me on this search for answers since the beginning. Without her, I’d get myself killed (or so she says).
The third time it happened was when I was in college. I was an English and Philosophy Major and Kayla was a Math and Science Major. How did we co-exist when majoring in polar opposite fields? Well, we managed.
Kayla and I didn’t have any classes together so she couldn’t cover for me when The God Memory decided to show up. It was becoming more powerful and externally apparent over the years. There was even a time, according to Kayla, when I started levitating and a light gray aura surrounded me, and the room shook. Jewelry and perfume and cologne bottle fell off the dresser, the T.V. turned on but only got static, papers would start flying everywhere and the windows flew open. The door to her room flew open and she did everything in her power to keep it closed, putting all her weight behind it (which wasn’t much, and I say that as a compliment, so she won’t kill me).
This next time it happened that day was even worse, I was in class and the professor was going over the differences and similarities in the philosophies of Socrates and St. Augustine. I was taking notes like everyone else when the gray smoke filled my eyes and my body shut down and I blacked out.
When I came to, all the chairs were flipped over, the desk was cut in half as if by a butcher, there were markings on the blackboard that constituted a language I’d never seen in my life; the fluorescent lights were busted and I realized after looking at my surroundings that I was the only one in the classroom and face down on the floor. I got up and looked at the time which said 3:30 p.m. which meant Kayla would just be getting out of class. My phone vibrated in my pocket and it was Kayla calling me. I answered the phone.
“It happened again, didn’t it?”
“You alright, babe?”
“Yeah, I’m good. No one got hurt.”
“Good, I’ll be at your building in two minutes. Meet me outside.”
I hung up and made my way out the classroom to the front of the building.
The fourth time was when Kayla and I got married two years after we both graduated with our master’s degrees. Mine was in Creative Writing and hers was in Math and Science. The God Memory didn’t occur at the altar in front of everybody like most disasters would, it seemed that it decided to have some discretion this time and occurred while Kayla and I were moving into our new home in Manhattan, New York, after the honeymoon (we went to the Bahamas). We decided to set up our dining area by the kitchen before getting our stuff out of storage because the furniture was likely to be heavier (and more expensive) than getting closet hangers and orienting our personal effects; plus, she’s a bit lazy and likes to take things slow (I’ve said this to her face and paid the price for it and let me just add. . .not worth it).
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