Hope will sustain us when we've lost our way and have nothing upon which to cling.
Hope gets us through each minute, each hour, each day.
Hope keeps the darkness at bay.
How is it that this Spring should dawn any differently than the last? I fear that all hope has been lost and I am succumbing to the darkness, pushing and pulling and dragging me down. That upon which I could always rely has been wrenched from my grasp, tenuous as it was.
The Apocalypse is nigh. There can be no more rational explanation for the events of this week. As with all signs, this came as a triple. Once is an isolated occurrence. Twice is a coincidence. Thrice?
It was there on the voicemail. The dulcet tones of Piper the speed-talker/legalese reciter's voice alighted upon my ears with their softness, almost tickling. I was prepared for an aural onslaught the likes of which cannot easily be matched. She is in rarefied company when it comes to her messages. I braced my left hand for speedwriting with a few quick calisthenics and prepared my right to quickly pause and rewind the machine. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Piper spoke not in her clipped cadence but in a soft, melodious, enunciative voice. I was able to match her pace quite easily and still read my own writing. At the end of the prescription, as I prepared to replay for a double check, Piper repeated herself! Slowly, deliberately, she proceeded to reread the entire prescription for me. I was lost, confused, numb from shock. This was Piper the I-don't-need-to-breathe-to-leave-4-prescriptions-in-10-seconds, from Dr. Zoffis. She never slows, never enunciates, never repeats. What happened?
As I said, once is an isolated occurrence. Twice?
The next day, a person who can only be referred to as Piper's Scription Slingin' Sister called from Dr. Baggins's office. The result? Same as described above. Different office. Different caller. Same expectation going in, same unlikely result. Weird.
Twice is a coincidence, right? But thrice?
Late the next day, my partner had left me a voicemail to retrieve when I arrived. His mood was shaken, the look dour. "Play it", CPP said. This time I was greeted by a warm, pleasing voice. I looked at my partner who nodded gravely as he knew what I had just realised. The only person worse than Piper and Piper's SSS, Phoebe, was Paige. Paige has won the awards for fastest time to complete a voicemail, most voicemails completed in shortest time, most prescriptions given in one voicemail, and countless others. She is in our County's Voicemail Hall of Fame for all the records. As a look of recognition struck my face I was alarmed that I could understand this voicemail. CPP could sense this and gave me the slightest arch of an eyebrow, shrug of a shoulder, and upraising of the hands as if to signify "I know. What does this mean?"
After taking a moment to sit and collect my thoughts, and wipe away the tears from the final voicemail that solidified our beliefs in the Apocalypse, CPP and I hugged each other and started saying our goodbyes. It was Friday. This had to be the end. So shaken were we by this trauma that we thought about closing the pharmacy to collect ourselves. Instead, we opted to seek solace in the place where this all started: the offices.
We called to speak to Piper, to Piper's SSS Phoebe, and to Paige with one question on our minds: Are you okay? We followed this with: Were your messages code for "I need help"? Do you need us to call 911 because you are being held hostage? Kidnapped? Is it Demons?
Piper said she went to pick up a prescription for her child at her pharmacy and spoke in her "office voice" and the pharmacy had to ask her repeatedly for the information. She then realised the error of her ways and vowed to be mindful of the need to slow down and be more careful.
Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.