My family decided I was psychic when I was a teenager. It’s because one night I dreamed that my mother had a baby. I woke up ecstatic, but then realized it was just a dream. Of course. Mom had already given birth to six of us, the youngest of whom was ten. It had been a long, long time since there’d been a baby in our house.
But my dream had created a longing that wouldn’t let up. Later in the day, Mom and I were in the car, I in the back seat, waiting for my sister to come out of the store. “I wish we had a baby,” I said out of the blue—for Mom at least.
“Really?” she responded. There was a long silence. Finally, she turned around, looked at me, and smiled. “Well, we’re going to have one.” She was already five months along.
I was dumbstruck. And maybe a little embarrassed. Okay, a lot. I was seventeen. My mother was having a baby.
For weeks afterward, I was drifting in a cloud of disbelief. And for weeks afterward, my mother was declaring me a psychic. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. I’ve had many baby dreams over the years, even recently, and I can guarantee I’m not with child. Those dreams are just symbolic of giving birth to something—a goal, a new stage of life, a project, a job. College decisions.
But that doesn’t explain something else that happened right around the same time as my first baby dream.
My two younger teenaged brothers, George and Doug, rode motorcycles. (Charlie, the much anticipated baby-to-be, would have to wait till he was three, when all six of his adoring siblings would expose him to all manner of adventures, including motorcycle rides from his big brothers.) George, who was fifteen, worked long days as a caddy at the Town and Country Club to earn the funds for his Harley Davidson Sprint. Doug, thirteen, made his monthly $13.75 payments for his Honda 50 Super Sport from his income as a paperboy until he paid off his $325.00 loan. Our father took both of the boys to make their purchases, but because neither was old enough to legally ride on the streets, Dad made it clear they could ride only in the alleys near our St. Paul home until they came of age. With that limitation, how anyone even knew they had motorcycles escapes me.
I’m trying to remember why the thought even entered my mind. But it did one night, intruding as surely as bats in the rafters: Someone is going to break into our garage and steal my brothers’ motorcycles.
I would think about this on my nightly visits to the bathroom. Its window looked out over the garage, although the door was on the alley side, so I couldn’t see it from my perch.
Over and over, I thought about the heist. It clung to me, tenacious as a Minnesota horsefly.
So I worked out a plan, weighing several options. If I was in the bathroom when the burglars came, I couldn’t really open the window and shout at them. It would be the middle of the night, for one thing. But I also had the problem of my vocal chords freezing up when I was nervous; the prowlers wouldn’t hear me. Besides, I was Minnesota nice. We don’t like to shout.
No, instead I would flick the bathroom light off and on, off and on, off and on.
I thought about this possible scenario night after night after night for months, maybe even a year.
And then one night it happened.
I was in the bathroom, lights off as usual. Suddenly, I heard voices.
In the alley.
By our garage door. I could see nothing, but I heard it.
Someone was tinkering with the garage door.
The Harley, the Honda. Oh my gosh, this is it.
I opened the window, hoping the creaking of our vintage frames would scare the intruders away. It didn’t. So I dropped to the floor and crawled over to the light switch. Up and down, up and down, up and down. I just kept working the switch, calculating when one of the thieves would look up and see it. When he would alert the others. When the whole gang would abandon their plans and bolt down the alley.
Then suddenly I heard them leave. There was a scuffle as if they’d dropped everything instantly and fled.
Silence. They were gone.
I went back to bed, where a blanket of surrealness cloaked me in my slumber. When I awoke the next morning, I doubted myself. Did that really happen, or am I victim of an overactive imagination? But then the whole scene came back—in full color, as clear as sky blue waters. Every moment. It really had happened.
I felt relief. Now I never had to worry about it again. The robbers knew you don’t mess with the folks at 295 Macalester Street.
Yes, my brothers’ motorcycles were safe as long as I was around.
Was I, am I psychic? Nah. A little intuitive maybe.
But I’ve gotta tell you, that premonition—the one that actually materialized—pretty near freaked me out.
copyright 2015 Maggie McCann Pike
Maggie McCann Pike
- THE DAY MIGHTY CASEY STRUCK OUT
- LET IT BE “MY PLEASURE”