A Short Story: Part One

Mundane. Routine. That morning was just like any other for him. It was about 6am when he awoke from his slumber only to instinctively reach for the cellphone that lay half a foot away from his head. He expected to sleep for another fifteen minutes before getting up, getting dressed, and driving to work. What he learned from a cursory scroll through his IG feed marred what was to be the rest of his day that was only just beginning.

In his sparsely furnished home, there was no wifi, and the cellphone was his only link to the rest of the world outside that city, that country. Just as all the days like it before he checked the cellphone for the time, and scrolled through IG to learn of current events. His list of followers was a variegated bunch from his past and present who at present lived both near to him and far away. Although he was thousands of miles from his hometown, he tethered himself to the those people and experiences that shaped his prior reality even though his immediate reality outside the walls of his new home were constant reminders that he was nowhere like from whence he came. His adventurous spirit had floated him to this new locale like a feather. That in and of itself was his success. However, his immediate circumstances without money, a car, furniture, or food, made him feel like a rock and less like a feather. His job kept him from hitting the bottom, but his salary prevented him from rising to the top.

What made things worse was that on this morning his IG feed informed him of an event that shook him to his core. The IG feed was filled with photos of the hometown hero who was killed by an assassin’s bullets just hours earlier. Thousands of miles from where it took place, he slept, meanwhile the hometown hero lie dead on the ground. As he read about the events that transpired while he slept, disbelief washed over him. It was just one week prior that he had read an article about this hometown hero’s successes. He wondered while reading the article if he’d stayed in his hometown that maybe the opportunities that made his hero a success would also have lifted him like a feather. But the reality was that just like his new home, his hometown too had ways of making one feel like a rock.

The sad news penetrated his psyche so deeply that he didn’t want to rise from the floor where he had made his bed the night before. Although he had a bed, he found the mattress uncomfortable, and instead he lied on a thin mattress beside the bed, on the floor. Like the hometown hero who lied on the ground after he was shot, he, too, lied on the floor after this news shot through his psyche, affecting him deeply. There was no time to sleep, he had to rise, take a shower, get dressed, and make his way to work. This was his reality. He lied on the floor for a minute or two with tears welling up in his eyes, then he got up and prepared to get out.

On his drive to work, thoughts of the hometown hero entered and exited his mind’s eye. The rock that he felt he was felt heavier and was sinking faster. He drove a short distance from his home to the college where he worked. En route he noticed a truck barreling down the road toward the roundabout. As he entered the roundabout, he wondered if the truck would stop. He noticed that truck’s driver was in a hurry and did not slow down. The truck entered the roundabout by jumping in front of his car in an aggressive manner. In that moment, he didn’t want to be in that city, that country. He wanted to be near his family, at his hometown. Also in that moment he received confirmation that he was supposed to be in that city, that country, thousands of miles from his hometown. That truck’s license plate number caught his eye and he began to relax. Those numbers reminded him that him being there was not happenstance, but rather divine order.

It was the license plate of that truck that coincidentally had three familiar numbers that he recognized. Those numbers he had seen in multiple countries under peculiar circumstances. He’d once woken up suddenly from his slumber only to check his clock and see those numbers. He’d once boarded a train and noticed that his seat assignment was in a row that corresponded with those three numbers. He’d found it peculiar that the first country to which he moved celebrated a national holiday that corresponded with a date that resembled those three numbers. These were not meaningless isolated instances. They may have seemed to be at the time, but after so many instances, there was no denying that these numbers were following him. So when that truck’s driver sped up aggressively to enter that roundabout he knew that it was divine order for him to have noticed that truck’s license plate with those three numbers.