So . . . last Sunday morning I got up to a new message on the chalkboard in our kitchen.
Wait. Let me set the scene. Half our family was away at a Band Camp. Of the two remaining members, I was in bed by 10:00, reading until 11:00 or so (or maybe a titch — okay, a lot later) and Youngest Son and Son’s Friend did their usual stay-up-as-late-as-possible marathon.
The next morning, my brother’s name had been added to the usual short-hand list of things-to-do, reminders and what-not written on the chalkboard in our kitchen.
I wondered what was up. I rarely hear from my brother, but it was too early to call on a Sunday morning. When Youngest Son got up I asked him how Doug was doing.
“Uncle Doug, who else?”
“I didn’t talk to him.”
“Oh. Well, why did you write his name on the chalkboard? Or was there another Doug who called?”
He looked over at the chalkboard. “I didn’t write that.”
“You didn’t? Then who did?”
“Did Your Friend write that?”
“Why would he write that?”
My turn to shrug. “I don’t know. This is weird.”
Son’s Friend trudges up from the basement.
“Son’s Friend, did you write this on the chalkboard?”
Son’s Friend looks at the name I’m indicating, shakes his head, looks at me and takes a step back.
“You didn’t? Are you sure. You guys aren’t messing with my head are you?”
Both boys shake their heads and take another step back.
“Why would my brother’s name show up on the chalkboard out of the blue?”
Cue Twilight Zone music as we look at each other and back to the chalkboard.
I came up with three possibilities:
1) someone had walked in off the street in the night and written his name on the board (yeah, I know, pretty unlikely)
2) a ghost had written it (the handwriting was kind of shaky and insubstantial, not at all like my chicken scratch, but still unlikely)
3) I had been dreaming about my brother in the night and sleep-walked into the kitchen to write a ‘phone your brother’ reminder to myself (I had absolutely no recollection of this, but it was the only one that made even the remotest lick of sense).
I chewed on it all day. And the next. Why would I have done this? Did I get some kind of message while I slept? Did he contact me in the dream state?Was he in trouble?
Monday night, I finally picked up the phone. He is rarely home, so I called at supper-time, hoping to catch him then. He wasn’t home and wasn’t going to be home the next night or the next or the next so I told Brother’s Wife why I was calling. Happily, she didn’t laugh at me or hang up.
She said he was fine. Better than fine. Really good, actually.
I was embarrassed, but relieved and still intensely curious.
Usually, if I just sit with riddles like this, the answers become clear, but a whole week has gone by and I still have no idea why my brother’s name appeared on the chalkboard in my kitchen.
So for now, I’m filing it under Woo Woo.
Maybe one day, I’ll know what went down.
And, then again, maybe I never will.
(cue Twilight Zone music)