By Max Casey-Bolanos
There was this feeling that was running through my body that I couldn’t explain. I had been having dream this weird dream about losing my keys. I would search for them for hours, and when I finally found them this lady would show up and say to me, “Nothing is ever lost.” It was unsettling. Especially to me, ten years ago, I had lost everything.
I sat down on the couch and found myself drifting off. There I was again, searching for lost keys, but this time to a door that I didn’t recognize. The door was a wood door painted black with a gold knocker in the center. I heard a car alarm go off and I opened eyes, sweat dripping down my face and pooling onto my neck. I got up to look out the window to see which car was beeping. As I was looking outside I noticed that it was snowing. I went over to the cupboard and grabbed some crackers out of the cabinet.
There was a knock at the door, that’s when the memories came flooding back. They were memories that I couldn’t control, the kind that usually sent me to the fridge to grab a six pack of beer and drink until I couldn’t remember anymore.
It was December 12, 1972. The first snow had hit the ground earlier that day. Margie, my babysitter, had picked me up from school at 3:00 and took me home as usual. She grabbed the animal crackers from the cupboard, poured them into a little bowl and told me to start my homework. It felt like any other day, until the phone rang. Margie went to pick up the phone. All I could hear through the muffled discussion was “Okay… okay… when?… today?… How?… Okay, i’ll see you then.”
Margie came back into the room and sat on the couch. I tried to ask her who was on the phone. She wouldn’t answer me. She just told me to eat my snacks and do any work that needed to be done.
At 5:30, there was a knock on the door. Margie got off the couch and went to go answer the door, and a lady dressed in a suit stepped into the house. She stuck out her hand and introduced herself as Janet Colson. In a quiet voice that sounded almost hurt she said, “I’m sorry I have to be the one to tell you this. Your Aunt Nancy had never showed up to work, someone found her purse and a bloody rock in the parking lot. We’re still looking, but I don’t think we’re going to find anything positive.” I didn’t hear that part though, all I heard was, “your aunt is gone.” I opened my mouth to say something but nothing came out. Tears started falling down my cheeks, dripping down my chin. Ms. Colson kept talking but I couldn’t hear a word she was saying. None of it mattered to me. I just sat there motionless not knowing what to do.
Margie then put her hand on my shoulder and I snapped out of my daze. She said sympathetically, “Do you want me to go with you?”
“What? Go Where?” I asked, sounding confused.
Margie looked at me sympathetically and said, “To the orphanage. Do you want me to go with you to the orphanage?” The next thing I remember was going up the door with the sign Mrs. K’s House for Boys. Janet reached out her hand and knocked on the door.
Suddenly I was back in my own apartment. It was 1982 again, ten years after they gave up looking for Aunt Nancy. I sat there for about ten minutes before remembering that somebody had been at my door. Fully knowing that whoever had been there was probably gone at this point, but I opened the door stepped out into the hallway anyway. There was no one there, the person must have left when I didn’t answer the door the first time. As I stepped back into the apartment, my foot nudged a small brown package. I brought it inside and opened it on the kitchen table. At the bottom of the box, there was a note addressed to me, Anthony Bell. Looking at the note, I muttered to myself, “What the…?”
In long thin slanting handwriting were marks I didn’t understand. “५७८९३ ओचेअन् द्रिवे. य़ोउ विलल फ़िन्द् वहत योउ थोउघ्त् योउ लोस्त. नोथिन्ग इस एवेर लोस्त..”
I read the words on the page over and over again, but had no idea what the note was trying to tell me.
I called my friend Justin who spoke lots of different languages. He was pissed I woke him but he said he would come over first thing in the morning and check it out. After I hung up the phone, I fell into a dream world of lost things and missing keys with a lady who was taunting me whispering about how things were truly lost.
A little after 7 A.M. the next day, there was a knock at my door.
“Come in!” I yelled to Justin.
With his eyebrows raised with his mouth half open. He said, “Oh my god, you look like crap, what happened?”
“I’ve been having these weird dreams, of losing stuff and searching, I’m always searching. There’s always this weird voice before I wake up. I have no idea why,” I said as I walked over to the table with the note.
“Come over here,” I said to Justin, “Can you tell me what this is?” I passed him the letter in the hope that he might know something that I didn’t. After sitting there for 15 minutes he said,
“This is an ancient language, aramaic or sanskrit probably. The only problem with ancient languages is that not very many people still know them. If you want to figure out what it means you’ll probably have to find someone who first knows what language it is and then someone who can speak it,” Justin said.
“How am I supposed to figure that out?” I asked him with a glare.
“I’d check the library, maybe somebody there can help you,” said Justin.
I wish Aunt Nancy was here; she loved these kinds of mysteries and all that ancient stuff. She would always take me to museums and talk to me about old cultures. “Can you imagine?” she’d say. “They found this stuff after thousands of years.” I miss that.
Five minutes later, I was out the door and heading towards the library. I had no idea why I was so determined to figure out what this note said, but there was this feeling a vibration really similar to the way I had felt when I was dreaming of the keys.
Ten minutes later, I stepped through the revolving door and into the library. I stepped up to the front counter and rang the bell. An old man came over and said, “How may I help you?”
“Can you tell me what language this is in?” I asked
I handed him the note as he put on his glasses. “Ah, this is something that I have not seen in a long long time. I can’t read it, but I know Sanskrit when I see it.”
“Does the library have any books on Sanskrit?” I asked.
Checking the card catalog he said, “I’m sorry the only book that we had on Sanskrit was checked out in 1972, and never returned. It must be lost, we should have replaced it but,” he sighed, “budget cuts. Who knows? Maybe one day it will turn up, you could always check the our old library but I am pretty sure all the books have been cleared out and the building shut down.”
My shoulders slumped I walked out and turned the corner. When I arrived at my apartment building, I dragged myself up the stairs, feeling like this search was just a lost cause. I wasn’t going to be able to find out anything. When I got inside I flopped onto the couch. Whatever. “It was just a note,” I kept telling myself.
But, that night the note consumed me, it was all I could think about. Whenever I drifted in and out of sleep, all I could see were the Sanskrit letters floating in front of my eyes. I was haunted by lost keys, doors, whispers about finding things, and now Sanskrit letters.
Weeks went by. I tried to let it go but I constantly was thinking about it. I called churches, high schools, the local community college,. I asked friends, raised it at parties. People thought I was crazy. “Man, you gotta let it go,” They would say. But I didn’t stop I started tracing the letters, it got to the point where I would wake up in the middle of the night having sleep walked into the kitchen and tracing the marks over and over again on the fridge.
It was a month after I had gone to the library. I was sitting at my desk at work eating lunch when one of the new guys came up and asked,
“Oh cool, you lived in India too?”
“What?” I asked him
“What you’re writing, it’s sanskrit isn’t it?” he said.
I looked down to see that I had been writing the message over and over again on my desk.
“India, why India?” I asked my brow scrunched up.
“It’s an ancient language yes, but Sanskrit was originally spoken in India. Before my father passed away, he had brought me to a temple in India where the language was said to be invented.”
“Can you read it?” I asked starting to get excited.
“I’m sorry, I never learned,” he said as he walked away.
India, I knew a guy from India; he was a carpenter. He had told me to stop by if I needed anything from him.
I ran over to the rolodex where I kept my cards. At last after rummaging through I found it. Arun Mirani, 1010 Hartford Avenue. I grabbed my coat, ran down the stairs to the bus stop and hopped on the bus.
As soon as the bus came to a stop I dashed off and down the block until I ended up in front of his door. Out of breath, I stood there for a minute, my chest rising and falling. After I had caught my breath, I went and knocked on the door.
Knock, Knock, Knock.
I stood there for a couple minutes before the door opened. The face that greeted me at the door was not who I was expecting to show up. Some younger white lady had come to the door. I stood there for a minute, utterly confused.
“Umm, is Arun Mirani here?” I asked trying to not sound desperate.
“No, I’m sorry he moved out two months ago,” She said.
“I need him. I need him right now,” I said my voice now rising in desperation.
“I’m sorry, I think I lost his number. Last I saw it was on the fridge… let me look,”
I couldn’t wait, I pushed past her and straight to the kitchen.
“I can find it, I can find it,” I exclaimed. “It can’t be lost, nothing is ever lost!” My eyes
were wild, the same voice that I had been hearing in my dreams reappeared but this time it was coming out of my mouth.
“You have to leave. Please, leave now,” she said, her voice shaking.
“Please tell me it’s not lost. It can’t be!” I was yelling now my voice getting more and more frantic.
“If you don’t leave right now I will call the police!” she yelled, the fear in her voice rising.
“You don’t want to lose everything do you? If I call the police you’ll lose everything, I promise you that,” She yelled, her eyes wide open, backing away and towards the phone.
She was right, when she had said that I was going to lose everything. I had already once, I couldn’t lose it all again. I looked at her and how she was truly terrified then headed out the door, down the street and into the local bar. The alcohol was calling me as it had done before when the memories had come.
Over at the bar I was just starting on my second drink when I started talking to the bartender. “You know what, Mac? I’m just so done. I’ve been looking for someone to just read the damn note and tell me what I’m supposed to do. But nobody can help me.”
A few minutes later, a guy sitting a few chairs down from me pushed his drink to the other side of the bar and walked over to us. The guy gave the bartender a 20 to pay his tab for the night and stood next to me as he waited for his change. He looked over at the note that was in front of me and started laughing.
“I didn’t know another person in this town read Sanskrit.”
My head turned so fast as I handed him the note.
“I don’t, but I’ve been trying to find someone who does. Read it! Please read it, you’re the only person who can help me,” I said almost yelling.
“Well okay then,” he said. “It says, ‘57893 Ocean Drive: you’ll find what you’ve thought you lost.’”
“Wait what?” I said. “It’s just an address?”
“That’s what it says. That address isn’t too far from here either. It’s only about a five minute walk.”
I got up from the chair at the bar, ran down the street and onto Ocean Drive, looking for the numbers 57893. I found it. Aunt Nancy would have been proud of me for finding out what it meant.
I stood there for about ten minutes. My body didn’t want to move, but I forced myself to walk up the stairs and to the front door. The door was the same as I had seen it in my dreams: black with a gold knocker in the middle of the door.
I knocked on the door, I could hear the sound of my heart pounding against my chest.
I had no idea what I was going to find on the other side of this door. I heard footsteps coming down the hallway and the door opened.
When the door opened. I stood there bewildered