I had been twelve then.
We were walking home after seeing a film and were about to pass the entrance to an alleyway when I grabbed her arm and pulled her back against the wall.
Gunshots were fired and a man ran out, tripped and fell dead at our feet. The gunman followed, jumped over the body and raced down the street in the direction that we had been headed. He’d been in a hurry and hadn’t seen us pressed into the shadows.
I supposed I’d saved my own life, too.
In those days, there were no mobile phones but someone had called the police and when they arrived, we were still there, afraid to move.
What followed was routine – we were whisked off to the police station for questioning as an ambulance arrived, our parents came to get us and later that week, the incident was in the local paper. We hadn’t been able to give any information about the killer. Couldn’t even swear to him being a man. We were kids and it had been dark.
Later, everyone wanted to know how I had known to pull back and I wasn’t able to say. There had just been a presentiment of danger. Aren’t the openings to alleyways scary in their own right, though?
That had happened in Ohio, USA.
Years later, I saved another friend. Maybe.
By this time, I was in my twenties and living in London, England.
Thanks to divorced parents, I had spent my childhood travelling back and forth between the two countries.
We’d just left a party and were on the pavement preparing to cross the road to another street where I’d parked my car. The late hour meant that there was virtually no traffic, except one car driving towards us at high speed. At the last minute, I pulled my friend back against the garden railings.
In its mad course, the car suddenly came up onto the pavement missing us by inches. It continued some yards on before returning to the road and disappearing round a bend.
There, if necessary, I would be able to testify that it was a pale Volkswagon Beetle, but as for the rest – nada.
“You just saved my life,” my friend Bob was able to utter once he’d caught his breath.
“How ‘d you know it would come up on the sidewalk?” He was an American from the Big Apple, but he had been suitably impressed.
“I had a feeling,” I told him. That was it.
Those people who telephone are thinking of me which makes me think of them just before the phone rings. I did try an experiment once to see if I did have some sway over others.
I was standing at the kitchen sink and I stopped what I was doing and said my friend’s name out loud several times.
‘Clarissa, Clarissa, Clarissa.’
Within minutes, the phone rang and it was Clarissa.
Still not certain if I was the instigator or the receiver. She may have already gone to her phone to ring me...
To be quite honest, I’m not sure I want to know how coincidental these happenings are. It could easily lead to an obsession and blur the real moments of premonition.
Quite simply, I want to be able to save me the next time I’m in danger.