The night was restless for me. When I dozed, the dreams haunted me like ghosts from the closet. And some of them were just plain eerie.
Have you ever had a premonition? I don't mean a lucky guess at a football score, or the fact that you managed to get a prediction of a ball player's home run. I mean a vision, a dream, or a feeling so powerful that you not only know the final score of the game, you know when the runs will score, who gets the hits, and in what innings. You get it so powerfully that when it occurs, you have a very strange feeling of deja vu, that feeling of "Hasn't this happened before?" or "Haven't I been here before?" I had a dream like that at some time during the night. And when the events happened that next morning, I wondered if I had developed a gift for prophecy.
I had a dream, but it was interrupted by the alarm clock. I had been working in the garage in the dream, and it had been 9:00 A.M. That's when Diane stuck her head into the garage. And that's when the alarm clock went off.
While we were having breakfast, Dad told me he was going to be clearing some dead trees on the property line. And he told me that he wanted to store the wood in the garage. The garage was a mess. He asked me to clean it out and straighten up the shelves. This wasn't exactly a request that he made. About 15 minutes later, I went out with my keys in my pocket, the key to the side door of the garage, and a frustrated mind. I had hoped to go fishing.
I unlocked the padlock which we had on the side door. I had a key to the knob. I had never realized that whoever the genius was who put the knob on had done it backwards. The keyhole was inside. I don't know why, either, but I turned the locking mechanism to lock the door if it was closed.
There was a knock on the door. Diane stood in the doorway. I looked at my watch. It was very strange. It showed just a minute or two before 9:00. I acknowledged her with a brief nod, and continued to clean the area where the log pile would go. Diane continued to stand in the doorway, confused or maybe just a bit hesitant to enter. Then she knocked again. "Mikey? May I come in?"
I stopped what I was doing, and gave her a hard stare. I considered what I went through yesterday. I really didn't need her around confusing me, stirring up my emotions. But I nodded. "If you wish," I said, and she seemed surprised at my cold tone. I knew that this was going to be difficult for me. What I was going to say, I didn't know. How she'd take it, I didn't know. I just knew it was going to be hard for me. And my suspicion was that she'd get defensive. I'd know soon enough.
"Mikey, what's wrong?" she asked. She seemed truly confused. Again, I gave her a hard stare. "Will you talk to me, please?" she questioned.
I kept my voice low, quiet. But I let a little of the annoyance which I felt creep into my tone. "What is it, Diane? Is there a reason for this visit?" I kept my face still, but I was scowling. I was letting her know that something was up.
She was somewhat taken aback at my tone. I could see it in her face as it registered confusion and surprise. She tried again. "Mike, please tell me what's wrong." She tried that pleading tone. This time I was successful in ignoring it. I kept my silence, waiting for the question I knew was going to come. I kept moving things to the side of the garage, not speaking.
"Mike," she said, "This isn't like you. Does this have something to do with yesterday? Would you mind telling me what that was all about?"
"Yes." My response was short. "And yes to the second question."
She tapped her toe impatiently. "Well?"
“You asked if it had something to do with yesterday. I said Yes. You asked me if I would mind telling you what it was about. I said yes. That means, Diane, I would mind." I watched as her eyes widened in surprise. I continued when she opened her mouth, cutting off anything she may have been planning to say.
"Diane, if you want to know what it was about you will have to answer a few questions for me. Is that agreed?" I said. She nodded. "I expect answers." I looked at the door of the garage. I now knew why I had set the lock. There will be a chainsaw running very soon. I would like it quiet in here." Then, I spoke in French “Je t'adore, Diane." I recognized the truth of those words. I did believe I loved her, but I know she didn't recognize the language. My statement could be misunderstood by someone who didn‘t speak French, and it did sound very English the way the words were said.
She closed the door. Then I asked, "Why did you close the door?"
She seemed perplexed that I asked that. "You said to shut the door."
I said, "No. I didn't. But that is what you heard. That's fine.” Then, I lowered my voice to a volume just above a whisper, and allowed it to take on a sinister tone. “In fact, I wanted privacy."
Her face showed bewilderment, and there may have been a touch of fear in her eyes. "Now, I have a little bit to say before I ask any questions."
I took a step toward her. I attempted to come across as menacing. It worked. She tried the door, and it didn't open. "Mike!" she cried. "We're locked in!"
"No, we aren't, Diane. I have a key. Now, I'm going to tell you something." I took another step and she backed away. "Recently, Diane, I have been awfully confused. Things have been topsy-turvy, and I haven't been able to figure out why. Until yesterday, that is. I began to think about what's going on. I've written more songs in 2 weeks than I had in 6 months. I've been singing more than I ever have before. I've been battling unfamiliar thoughts and emotions. I tried to find a common event, something that would account for all this. I reached one conclusion. There is only one factor in common with all of these events. One factor."
I took another step toward her. Again, she took a step backwards. "Would you like to know my conclusion?" She nodded, but said nothing. I circled around her moving in front of the door. Then I took another step but gestured at a chair. "Please sit down, Diane. This is going to take some explaining. But remember that if I ask you a question, I am going to expect an answer!"
I began my explanation. "There was one thing I found that all of these events had in common. I traced all of these things to one day. It was the day I saw you at the library. This gave me the only clue I had. And the one factor? You."
She swallowed. "Me?"
I allowed my voice to rise a bit. "Yes, you! You took out that hypnotist's coin. You tried to hypnotize me with it. You put it away. But you managed to hypnotize me anyway, didn't you?" She looked at me, saying nothing. "Diane - you succeeded, didn't you?" I said again. Still no response. "Diane," I warned her. "You did, didn't you?" She didn't respond directly, but she lowered her eyes to the floor instead of meeting my gaze. And her cheeks reddened.
"That's what I thought," I said. "You did. Why did you do it, Diane? Why?" I waited for a moment. "Diane, you said you'd answer my questions. Now, answer."
I had prepared myself for anger, laughter, and denial. But none of that applied. I was horrified when her eyes began to fill with tears. I had not planned on that, at all. And it was going to be a lot harder to continue this.
"Mikey... it was all meant in fun!" Her voice cracked a little.
"That's another thing, Diane. My name is Mike, not Mikey. I have let you call me Mikey. But my name is Mike. Do you understand?" At that, she nodded.
"All in fun, Diane? You hypnotized me without my permission, you invaded my mind, you planted suggestions without my knowledge. How do you suppose that makes me feel, Girl?" I let my anger come through, now, and took two steps closer to her chair. Her face paled slightly.
"What did you suggest, Diane? Tell me. I learned a few of your suggestions. What did you plant in my mind?" I backed off the two steps that I had just taken, and she seemed to regain some of the color she had just lost. But she said nothing. "Diane, you said you'd answer my questions. You'll have my full story if you answer them. Otherwise, you won't get the story, and I will tell Karl that I saw you kissing Steve!"
Her face went totally white. "What?" she gasped. "What are you saying, Mikey?" I shot her a hard stare and she remembered. "Sorry. Mike. What are you saying?"
"Diane, I saw it. I saw it, more than once! Was it his idea, or did you do the same to him as you did to me? Now, answer my questions!" I growled. "What did you suggest to me when you had me hypnotized for over an hour?"
"Mikey... I don't remember. It was a long time ago. I don't remember." Her voice cracked again, as if she was trying to hold back grief. I watched closely, waiting to see what was next.
"You don't remember?” I questioned, keeping my voice low, and a little bit sarcastic. “Oh, I think you do. In fact, I am sure you do," was my reply. "If you'd like", I said, removing my own hypnotist coin from my pocket and holding it in front of her eyes, “I can try this to learn what you are trying to hide." I moved quickly to stand in front of her chair. And the tears that I saw forming earlier began to fall. I hated doing this to her. But I had to say it. It wasn't until months later that I would recognize that what I was doing was actually following Diane's previous suggestion about revealing my emotions to her.
I walked off a few steps. My back was turned to Diane, and I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket. Using a trick I learned, I formed a rabbit. Then I turned around and faced Diane again.
Her surprise at seeing the rabbit didn't stop her tears from falling. So, I vanished the rabbit, and used the handkerchief to dry some of her tears.
"Diane, let me ask you again: What did you suggest?"
She began hesitatingly. "I really don't know if I remember everything, Mikey... But I'll tell you what I do remember."
"Diane, I know a few of them. Self-hypnosis revealed them to me. But if you miss them, I will know."
"Ok." She sobbed a bit, and I gave her the hanky, with which she dried her eyes slightly. "Thank you, honey."
"Honey", again. But this time, there was no flirting tone, no mischief in her tone. This time, she meant it.
"Ok, Mikey. Here's what I remember: I asked you to sing for me. That was actually the first one I did. You've done so. You sing well, too. Another, I asked you to be open with me. I asked you to reveal your emotions. Be honest, open. You've done that, too. In fact, I think that one went too well." She paused.
"Did you tell me to be unable to remember all of them, Diane?"
"No!" she said. "No, I didn't say that, at all. I remember another one, that asked you to please me. I defined it a little more, but I really don't remember what I said, exactly."
"Okay, Diane." I looked at her. "I know you are being honest, here. Those are what I remember. Is there anything else? Anything at all?"
"If I remember any, I'll let you know. Okay, Mike?" She spoke softly, sadly, and carefully.
I remembered one possibility. "What about that phone call, Diane? The one when you predicted that I was the one on the line? What about that?"
"No. That wasn't one of mine. I just had a lucky guess, that's all." she said.
I pulled up a chair next to her chair. I reached out, and took her hand. "Diane, I'm sorry that I had to do this. But tell me: Why did you do it? Fun, as you said? Was there something else, something I don't know?"
"I don't know, Mike." She was still crying, and I reached out to dry her tears a little. "I didn't mean to cause any trouble. I guess I just wanted to prove that I could do it. I did that."
We sat together for a few minutes, and I continued to hold her hand. It was soft, warm. We simply sat, not speaking, just appreciating each other's company. Then I got up, and helped her up. She reached out, and I pulled her into a hug. We just held each other for a few moments, as I figured out what to say next.
"Diane," I began, "Now...you wanted to know what yesterday was about. I'll tell you."
"No, Mikey. You don't have to tell me."
"I promised, Diane. Please, just listen. When I saw you down at the swamp with Steve, and I saw you kissing him, and I saw you letting him put his arm around you... Something came over me. I don't really know what. I wish I could describe what I've been feeling. I don't know what to call it!" I said. "It simply made my blood boil, Diane. I don't know why. But in every case, it comes back to you."
Her eyes widened. "Mike, I do believe you are jealous!"
That caused me to think. "You know, Diane; I think you may be right. But... do you know Steve's sister, Denise?"
"We met briefly, Mike. Why?"
"Did you know, that she's only a year older than you-- and 4 months pregnant?"
"What?" she exclaimed. "You are joking!"
"No, Diane, I'm not. In a way, it was Steve’s fault. He set her up on a blind date, and that's what happened. Steve didn't protect her. And I was trying to protect you."
For the first time since I had known her, she was shocked silent. I went to the door, unlocked it, and opened it. The chain saw was loud. And I spoke just above the noise.
"Diane, I am sorry if I scared you, startled you, or worried you. Do me a favor, dear. Don't tell Karl about this, Okay?"
Once again, like the time at the library, she beamed at me. The tears in her eyes were now dried. She gave me back my hanky. Then she pulled me close. "Ok. I'll say nothing. But tell me, what did you say when I closed the door?"
"I said Je t'adore. It's French, Diane. I'm sure Swahili has a similar phrase. The English translation, Diane: I adore you. Or, maybe ... something stronger."
At that, she smiled. "I think I know."
She kissed me lightly on the forehead, and said a few words in Swahili. I couldn’t begin to guess what she said.
"What does that mean, Diane?" I asked.
"Mikey," she teased. "I can't tell you everything, can I? What would life be without a little mystery?"
"Diane," I said, with a note of warning in my voice. "What does it mean?"
She looked at me in such a way that my heart melted. And then she said something that I've never forgotten. "Forever, my love."