When I woke up Wednesday morning, I was thinking what a dream as I shook my head. My infatuation with the apartment had finally taken a toll on me. Imagine all those years the story of the apartment lies dormant, then someone sends me breathtaking information from out of the blue. Only my imagination could dream that up. Only Keith and Ruth are aware of my visits. While there is mysterious energy in the apartment I doubt it would use a mailman. I laughed at the dream. I got ready for work and on my way through the living room I saw a familiar looking envelope on the coffee table. I walked out the door and started my Gremlin (remember they actually made such a car in the seventies). I turned the engine off and went back inside. I picked up the letter and opened it, an overwhelming feeling of been there done that struck me. I saw the first page and fell backwards on the sofa. It’s real! How was I able to sleep after reading it? The apartment has warped my brain. Apparently I can no longer distinguish between reality, imagination, dreams, dust formations and mysterious vibrating energy flowing into me. An apartment that becomes new again. That’s it, I’m nuts. I put the letter under a cushion and went to work. The daily activities at the newspaper would reset my mind.
On the way to work I turned the radio full blast and sung along to the Bee Gees eight track tape of Staying Alive. I visualized John Travolta strutting down the sidewalk. When I pulled in the parking lot I had successfully reduced the imaginary letter in my dream to my unusually overactive imagination.
Everything was normal for two days until I went home after work. I changed clothes to meet Keith and Ruth at Zonas. I saw a piece of paper sticking out under a cushion on my sofa. Hello! I had successfully blocked the letter out until now. I put the letter in my pocket and drove to Zonas, where Keith and Ruth were waiting . Zona kindly loaned us her office once more. When Keith looked at me he handed me his drink and told Ruth “Get us two more beers and a shot of whiskey, sit down my boy”. Ruth returned and Keith said “drink this” handing me the shot of whiskey. “Now drink the beer and relax”. I was looking at a poster on the office with the Budweiser Clydesdales pulling a wagon load of beer barrels with two men and a Dalmatian in the seat. After drinking the second beer and staring at the Clydesdale picture I took the letter out of my pocket and handed it to Keith. He read it and handed it to Ruth. She read it and looked at me in disbelief. Keith stared at me with the same look. Nobody spoke for maybe five minutes. I revisited the Clydesdale Picture. It appeared there are two Dalmatians driving the beer wagon, I believed now was the time to speak.
I explain the whole letter dream, real, not real story and how I put it under the cushion and seen it sticking out story. Keith asked me “Are you ready for another beer?” I replied “Not just yet, I see two dogs driving the Budweiser wagon; perhaps I should wait until I see two men driving the wagon”. Keith and Ruth looked at the picture and laughed. “You are starting to snap out of it. You had me worried when you first arrived. You looked shook up. I can see why, after reading about Angel, Nick and their daughter. What a beautiful first and second name; seems slightly familiar. Take all the time you need, we’ll talk whenever you’re ready”.
“I’m not sure what to make of it. Remember that saying, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. It seems appropriate here but I don’t know what it means, I’ve apparently been in a confused state of mind the last few days”. Well to clarify the horse story for you. If someone gives you something for free, a free horse years ago. You do not look the horse in the mouth, to see how old it is, for value sake. It’s given to you “FREE”. Now do you see the correlation, from out of nowhere comes information. Why question where it came from”, Keith exclaimed. “I suppose you’re right, the letter completely threw me off. I was questioning my sanity”, is my response. Keith let out a belly laugh and said “After all the strange things going on in the apartment you just now are questioning your sanity. I would have been nuts several Saturdays ago.”
“When you put it in perspective, the letter came from someone real. It had a real stamp and was delivered by a real mailman and that is the reality”, I reasoned.
“Keith said “So you do understand, dust ghost forming out of the air is not real”. I fired back, ‘Wait one second, I want to tell you about last Saturday”. Keith says, “Can you top what you just showed us?” I continued, “I’m relaxing in the kitchen chair and I feel the hair tingling on both arms, energy is presenting itself. I open my eyes to see Angel and Nick forming. Both forms are clear and bright. They are youthful looking, Angel has something in her left arm, what is it I’m thinking? Roses crossed my mind. I don’t think roses anymore”.
“Certainly not” exclaimed Ruth, it’s a baby. “Yep” was all Keith said. “Well it is obvious now. Something else, I have already told you they look younger. The apartment became new again” I explained. “What do you mean new again” asked Keith. “As clean and as shiny as the day it was completed” I told them.
Keith asked “Do you have any more bombs to drop tonight. Here is what we do. Tomorrow, when you are ready to visit the apartment call me. I want to see for myself an apartment that miraculously renews itself, reversing years of aging”. “No I will”, exclaimed Ruth. “I have been inside the apartment countless times. You have never set foot there and were not as close to Angel as I was”. “It’s settled then. Ruthie can drive you home and I’ll follow in your little car, whatever it is”. “It’s a Gremlin” I responded with drunken force. “It’s one strange looking little car, looks like someone smashed into the back of it”, laughed Keith. “I’m glad to give you something to laugh at” I replied.
On our drive home I asked Ruth, “You sure about tomorrow?” “Absolutely” she answers. “It is the only way to put to rest any doubts we might have of you hallucinating in the apartment. Follow your usual rituals. Don’t acknowledge me in any fashion. I’ll be your shadow”. “Okay I’ll call you tomorrow at the appropriate time, thanks for the lift”. Keith handed me the keys to the Gremlin and pated me on the back. Get a good night sleep son, you appear worn out”. I was tired, the last few days have taken a toll on me.
I called Ruth thirty minutes before our visit to the apartment. She arrived and we walked in together. I went through my normal routines and went to the kitchen. I made myself comfortable in my chair and Ruth stood quietly behind me. I was waiting for the energy to alert me. The tingling sensation is felt on my arms. I opened my eyes and just like before, the dust forms after a light that seems to appear from within the room. One form, Angel with life like qualities, I gasped for air. She looked at me and smiled, no she was smiling at Ruth. Ruth’s fingers dug into my shoulders and energy flowed into her.
When Angel looked at me my legs wobbled, she looked exactly as she looked the first time I met her here in the apartment. She came from out of nowhere; so real, still existing here in the apartment. The love she once knew holds her, the happiest memories of her much too short life is embedded here. Angel smiled as energy flowed from me to Ruth. She’s not speaking, yet she warms Ruth’s entire soul. Her vision of Angel is not long but breathtakingly beautiful. Ruth somehow found the strength to walk out of the apartment. She realized I was correct, the kitchen appeared as new as when Nick personally gave her a tour. Upon leaving the apartment Ruth broke down and cries on the steps. I hugged her and said “I know, let it out”. After a heartfelt cry they proceeded to Ruth’s office.
I asked Ruth “You going to be alright? “
“Please sit with me for a little while” she replied. After regaining her composure she said “It was so beautiful, Angel acknowledged my presence and when I touched you the sensations; I presently don’t have the words to do them justice and the apartment was as fresh as the day it was completed. How do we explain our experiences in there?” My reply was simple, “I can’t, maybe now you can help me with that”. Ruth answered, “I suppose it’s like someone who knows with absolute certainty they have encountered a U. F. O. How are you going to convince others? Any one that’s experienced encounters of our magnitude would keep their mouth shut. Remember I witnessed the same thing today that you did and being here was Keith’s idea”.
Bob left, Ruth remained alone in thought recreating the many unusual encounters Keith and she had had recently. If only Bob knew what had happened during the 4th of July parade and the days that followed, she thought to herself.
It all started when Keith and she were watching the antique cars go by and Keith says “Oh my God”. He looked at her in shock, convinced he just saw Angelina go by in the old 53 Mercury. Ruth wasn’t paying attention as old cars carry no interest for her. The “classic automobiles” as Keith called them were to be available for the public to view later so they went to that location. They stopped at a green automobile that Keith was convinced was Angelina’s old Mercury. There was an older man standing beside it. Keith and the man started talking about the automobile. The man explains that it has been in storage for some time and he brought it back from Arizona. He bought it new and gave it to his daughter who drove it for many years. She moved to Phoenix in ‘60 to live with her sister and the young girl that was driving the Mercury is his granddaughter. She would be right back she left to get them something to drink.
Keith walked over to where Ruth was waiting for him and informed her of what the man just said. A few minutes later a young girl handed the man a drink. She turned around and they got a good look at her. Keith mumbles Angelina at the very same time Ruth does. This girl is probably 18 years old and looked just like Angelina. Taller, leaner, but the same color hair and same facial features. They looked at each other shocked. It has to be fate, the apartment and now the Mercury. They walked over and Keith introduced Ruth. Tom McMillan was his name and he introduced his granddaughter Josephine Nicole Prescott. Keith talked to Tom and once they realized they both served in the Navy it was as though they had known each other forever. They pretty much ignored Josephine and Ruth.
So they had their own conversation. She said “Please, everyone calls me Nicole”. She explains how her and her mother Abigail moved here from Phoenix Arizona two years ago to be with family and how her father was killed in an auto accident. She has spent every summer vacation here helping Grandpa on the farm and she really loved being with family. She was amazed by the weather, explaining how since moving here she enjoyed the different types of weather in Indiana.
You could tell that Keith and Tom were having a good time talking about their glory days. Tom wanted them to join him tomorrow for a barbecue and would not take no for an answer. Nicole also pleaded with them to come. So they are expected at Tom McMillan’s house, Angelina’s father and they had just been introduced to Josephine Nicole Prescott who they are positive is Angelina’s daughter.
Keith and Ruth discussed the odds of meeting Tom and Nicole. Coincidence, they think not! Powers beyond comprehension were at work here. They are now part of the story. We’ll see what happens at Tom’s farm tomorrow and it should be good.
Ruth remembered it with awe. It was Sunday afternoon. Keith and she drove up the lane to Tom McMillan’s farm where Angelina grew up. Ruth was thinking “unbelievable”. When Tom said barbecue, she figured steaks hamburgers chicken. Half a hog was roasting over a fire pit, there was a keg of beer and several side dishes. Ruth had made a cake and Keith brought a fifth of Tom’s favorite whiskey, apparently they talked about this yesterday. Tom said he was getting old and liked whiskey sometimes after a hard day. It helped his old joints relax. Ruth could see children running around and various games occupying them so that the adults could enjoy visiting with friends and family. Approximately 30 adults and children she would say. They had just met Tom yesterday, apparently Keith’s personality and the fact they were in the Navy made both of us immediate friends.
Tom and Martha McMillan welcome them. Martha started small talk with Ruth and made her feel comfortable. Tom took Keith to get a beer and to pick up the conversation that they apparently did not finish yesterday. Martha introduced me to her son Jim, who has four children running around somewhere. Nicole spotted Ruth and came over to say hello, Martha excused herself and said” I’ll leave you in good hands’. Nicole and Ruth walk around and Nicole introduced Ruth to several people. They walked to the front porch of the farmhouse and there was a woman in a rocking chair. She looked at Nicole and said “there you are honey I was wondering where you were”. Ruth immediately recognized her as Angelina’s sister because of the resemblance. Nicole said “Mom this is Ruth, she is friends of grandpa’s. Grandpa and her friend Keith are walking around I’ll introduce you later”. “Please call me Abigail, you don’t have to call me mom like my daughter”, we smiled. Ruth and Abigail talked for a few minutes. Nicole continued to walk Ruth around and show her the farm. Ruth told Nicole she didn’t she didn’t want to take up all her time. Nicole said “I feel as though we have met before; I am comfortable around you”. Ruth agreed, telling her, she had that same feeling about Nicole, as though they have known each other a long time and saying “Strange isn’t it?” They both look at each other and laughed. Nicole explained that her mom had not been the same since her father died. “Moving back here had been good for her and she is doing much better. Being around family and especially grandpa has been really good for both of us. Having a father figure helps us cope with our loss.” Nicole seemed older than her years. She did not dress like girls her age. She also liked being on the farm, that didn’t sound like an 18 year old. Ruth shivered from flashbacks as though she is Angelina. A beautiful sad thought, Ruth kept to herself.
Tom brought Keith back and apologized for keeping him away so long saying “It’s nice to talk to another Navy man.” They had their pig roast and
Ruth told Keith about meeting Nicole’s mother Abigail and what Nicole told her. Ruth said “One thing I can say for sure is that Abigail is not her real mother. There is enough resemblance to fool everybody”. Ruth also told him of the feeling Nicole had of knowing her somehow. Ruth had Keith to herself for maybe half an hour before Tom came over and asked him if he wanted to do a little casting for bass in his lake. Boys will be boys Ruth thought to herself, only in this case its old men acting like boys; must be the country air.
Martha and Ruth talk for a while and they discover that they have a love of accounting in common. Martha talked to Ruth as if she were a cousin that she hasn’t seen in several years. Martha told Ruth how Abigail fell apart after her husband died how she spent a few months with her and how Nicole became more like Abigail’s sister than daughter. But then Martha said Nicole had always appeared much older than her age her whole life. Tom and her convinced Abigail to move back here and Nicole was all for that. Abigail is more like her old self now and Nicole loves being on the farm. She said Nicole reminds her of, Martha pauses and wipes her eyes, then told Ruth “Sorry something came to mind.” Ruth knew what she was referring to; Nicole reminded her so much of Angel. There had to be mixed emotions. She probably could not look at Nicole without seeing Angelina. However, she has a beautiful granddaughter and she can see both and it’s almost like having two rolled into one, and you can love both at the same time.
Keith returned from his fishing expedition. Finding themselves alone they discussed what to do about the predicament they had gotten themselves into. They are in agreement that they can’t just take Tom and Martha aside and tell them everything that Bob, Keith and Ruth had discussed, let alone trying to explain visions, ghost or whatever was going on inside the apartment. Keith made a simple but valid point. The story has gone beyond the apartment they were both now immersed in the story as much as Bob. That all happened when Keith saw Nicole driving the Mercury yesterday. They needed to discuss the situation in detail, but here is hardly the place. They decided to invite them to dinner and to be sure they understand the importance Keith was going to take Tom aside and tell him as briefly as possible.
The guests left; only a few remained. Keith pulled Tom aside and explained that fate has brought them together and this matter needed more time to discuss. Keith told Tom “I’m talking as a friend when I tell you this is of extreme importance to your family. It involves your granddaughter Nicole, Angelina and Joseph Nicholas Sonnatello.” Needless to say Tom was completely caught off guard, Keith handed him a piece of paper with his phone number; pated Tom on the back and said I want you and Martha to come to dinner at Ruth’s, call me okay?” Tom nodded in agreement. Tom walked to the lake and sat down alone in thought. Keith and Ruth say goodbye to the rest of the family.
The only words spoken on the way home was, how Tom took the news. Needless to say he was shocked but being the patriarch of the family he would do what’s right, Keith told Ruth. It had been a most unusual weekend for them and they were tired mentally and physically. Ruth laid her head on Keith’s shoulder and enjoyed the closeness the rest of the way home.
Tom called Keith and they agreed to meet on Wednesday. Tom brought the whiskey that Keith gave him at the barbecue apparently thinking he might need it. Martha and Ruth have wine, Keith grabs a beer and Tom mixed himself a whiskey and coke; it looked to be a double with the amount of whiskey going into the glass. They went to the back porch where there was shade and always a breeze. Ruth was not looking forward to this meeting. Earlier Keith and Ruth discussed that Tom and Martha knew this day would come; however they probably never thought two total strangers would come into their life and be the messengers. We talked for several minutes, weather and such. Then Keith started with the Navy stories. Ruth knew what he was up to. He was taking Tom as far away from the inevitable as possible. He wanted Tom to relax and he would be if he drank much of that whiskey. Ruth had known that big “galoot” a lot of years but only in the last few weeks had she seen other sides of him. There were brains in that bald head; also compassion, inner and outer strength and most importantly love. “Oh my” was she falling in love at her age? Mercy me, life was hard to understand. Funny how you can live your life in a bubble and reality can step in and throw you for a loop. Looked like the reality surrounding the apartment was about to touch many lives; only for the better it seemed. First they have to sort out many years of neglect that complicated situations and would change many lives, if done properly. That is where Bob came in. A convincing and inquisitive young man that charmed Ruth into giving up Nick and Angel’s secret. He has compassion and sincerity. Add to these qualities his inquisitive and unrelenting desire of a reporter and he is a part of the story that’s not clear at this time. He’s chosen by time bandits to repair glitches that have occurred. That would be Nick and Nicole.
END CHAPTER FIVE
By Robert S.Garrity