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Life’s Ruts

What if you dreamed you already lived this day? Only it isn't a dream.

By Frank TalaberPublished 3 years ago 7 min read

Life’s Ruts

Tears streak down my face as I struggle awake to stop the incessant beeping. “Just a horrible dream,” I tell myself. I reach to feel the comforting warmth of my still-sleeping wife before rising. Blood red neon informs me it is five-o-eight, July second. The day after Canada’s birthday.

I grab my bathrobe and do what I’ve done a million times before: wash my face, brush my teeth, go downstairs, put the water on for tea, feed the cat, turn on the computer to see the news of the day, stock reports and sports.

Familiar patterns of my daily life, worn deep in my mind like ruts, I do without conscious thought; unable, without great effort, to get out of them.

My first conscious effort is to remind myself it’s Monday and I haul the garbage outside. I have a shower, get dressed, prepare lunch, usually a sandwich, some fruit and a tin of soup.

I take my wife tea in bed (yes, I spoil her, but she’s English and it’s one treat she really loves) and a kiss, “I love you” I say, the horrible dream fading into the void and I leave for work.

So many of us fall into these familiar patterns. Some call them ruts but that makes them sound unwanted. There’s something comforting about them that we need, otherwise we’d go crazy, overwhelmed with too much to remember, too much to think of. Like learning to drive a car for the first time. Some incidences do jar us out of them, back to feeling fully awake. It could be something good, like a much-needed holiday, more often it would be the opposite; losing your job, getting divorced or the death of someone dear. My dream, now nearly forgotten, pokes back at me as the engine catches.

The set patterns idea hammers at my mind. The ‘what-next’ in my life. What am I doing here? Chaos without order. Am I going nuts? My mind is racing, so many thoughts tumbling in.

At a red light I look for a CD and realize I’ve done this so many mornings, so many times. Ruts.

A large semi-truck pulls up behind me in the slow lane. I know a newer red GMC SUV will pass me in the fast lane, bearing a middle aged man, like myself, drinking coffee whilst driving. I don’t, my wife says it’s dangerous. She’s right.

It does and he is.

“KEB 178,” I yell out his plate number as he passes and I am correct. All morning I begin to predict things, randomly, as they pop into my head. This isn’t about ruts or patterns. This is about insanity. Have I become clairvoyant? Psychic? At lunch I go to the lottery terminal and pick six numbers for tomorrow’s draw. I know I’ll win millions, yet it doesn’t matter.

Suddenly nothing matters, only the dream.

I check in to see a psychiatrist later in the week. “I’m getting these flashes, insights.”

“Yes?” he mutters, seemingly uninterested. “Flashes of what, light? Religious visions?”

“No, more like knowledge. I’ve been predicting things all day long. I know ahead of time the customers that come into work unexpectedly and who’s on the other end of the phone before I answer it. I knew a red SUV would pass me on the highway and his license plate number. At Starbucks I knew the male server would spill coffee on himself. I entered the lottery and won all the numbers, I’m rich beyond belief. I know the numbers of the upcoming lotteries. I know the result of tonight’s CFL football game, BC 17, Edmonton 33.”

“Interesting”, he mutters, almost to himself. “Hang on a second.”

He delves in some papers on his bookshelf and brings out a magazine.

“I’ve recently read an article from a group called IONS, Institute OF Noetic Sciences,” he throws the magazine on the desk but I do not pick it up “that prove people can tune into others thought, pickup their partner’s wave-length, know what they’re thinking. Or strangers even. They can do things like predict who the next phone call will be. This in part explains why there’ve been many people that get visions of impending disasters. Maybe you’re getting in tune to everything around you,” he says as he taps his pen to his forehead.

I want to take it and ram it up his nose. This is so much more than picking up a few stray thoughts, and it doesn’t explain the bad dreams.

“I know you don’t believe me. Write this down and I’ll come back on Monday.” I give the lottery numbers for three different draws on Saturday. “Do you watch sports?”

“Yeah, baseball and Formula One racing.”

I close my eyes and concentrate. “Raikkonen will win, Scott Speed will crash in the twenty-ninth lap. New York Yankees will beat Toronto. The Cubs will squeak by the Red Sox.” I’ve seen it all from newspapers in my mind, like I’ve read them before.

He jots it all down. “Check with my secretary, but I think we’re booked a few weeks ahead.”

“After this weekend, you’ll believe me. We’ll talk again on Monday.” I left. I could tell by the look on his face that he thought I was a borderline basket case.

I sit in the park in silence. They say meditation is good for the soul, quietens the mind. Only parts of the dream returns and I’ve visions that I’ve tried to give all my lottery winnings to the starving of Africa, the Save The Rare Spotted Toad Society, worked for SPCA, and Salvation Army. I’ve dedicated my life to religious orders, become devout Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, Communist. Lived a life full of peace and free love in a hippy commune in San Francisco. Made sure I’ve not killed a single creature, let the mosquitoes have their fill of me until they could barely fly away, bloated and red bellied, “Have a nice life and say ‘hi’ to your kids,” I wince in pin-cushioned pain, watching my arm swell.

All the religious gurus, theologians, spiritual Dalai Lamas claim that we were put on this earth to learn lessons and until we get it, we don’t move on. Returning time and again. What is there I’ve done wrong or haven’t learned? Have I done this before? Am I reborn? Reincarnated?

Visions strike me of other extremes; being a good law-abiding citizen didn’t help, lives consumed with debauchery, alcohol, drugs, fulfilling every kinky fantasy possible, hired dozens of hookers. Even snapped and went on a murdering spree, ended up in jail and letting the men have their way with me.

And always the horrible dream returns. But through it all there is only one thing I haven’t been able to do, haven’t tried.

I see him again the next week.

“Amazing! All your lottery numbers and sport scores were correct. You’ve become some kind of clairvoyant in tune with whatever is happening out there. Astounding! You could become filthy rich or save lives. So tell me, what are next week’s lotto numbers?” he asks.

“I’m already filthy rich. I predicted the winning numbers in the thirty-six million lottery. I’ll bet you didn’t believe me and never bought any tickets.”

He purses his lips. I know my answer. I stare at the hands of the clock calmly ticking away, while my mind screams at the well established repeating ruts.

“I can’t see past Friday,” I sob into my hands. “I can only see to the end of next week. Nothing past that. I know everything that happens these two weeks, but no further. And I can’t shut it off. So much flooding in.”

“There was also a case of a man in Russia that remembered everything, every little detail. He went nuts before he became eighteen.” He prescribes some psychosomatic drugs. “These are mild, but they will calm your mind and relax you. Next week we’ll begin testing for other factors, possible schizophrenia or go for a CT scan. I’ve heard of brain tumors or aneurysms causing strange things. I think we need to check deeper into what’s happening in your brain.”

“Thanks, doc.” I crumple the prescription into the garbage as I leave the elevator. He is of no use. The dream will return again, I know it.

Unable to bear any more I do the one thing that I’ve feared I couldn’t ever do. I book a flight on Lufthansa airlines, bound for Germany. I know that it will go down over the Atlantic at 10:20 AM July 14th, the last day of my visions. ‘No survivors’ claims the papers.

An explosion tears apart one of the fuel tanks as we cross the midway point of the Atlantic. Jet fuel spews upward, flames roar to life. The air masks deploy and I struggle to put it on as the dream comes back to me.

I turn off my alarm clock. July second. I begin to cry.


About the Creator

Frank Talaber

I believe in whacking a reader upside the head, toss them screaming into the book, and just when they think they are starting to figure things out toss a curveball. they say that you don't have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

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