A Story told by Alexander Wainwright, landscape artist
I thought I was in Trafalgar Square, but were these women MacBeth’s witches?
If you’re like me, you may be rather embarrassed to admit a belief in synchronicity. By that I mean the coming together of certain events which hammer out a personal message only the very dullest would miss. The universe regards you most favourably but then you take furtive peeks over your shoulder to guess at who or what is watching you. But here is my story. You decide and tell me what you think.
I’m a landscape artist and my painting for an exhibition next month was not going well. If you create, you know those dull, drab uninspired days, when nothing seems to come together for you. I decided to go for a walk which is usually suggested as a cure.
With no particular plan in mind, I ended up in Trafalgar Square in London on this dark and stormy looking afternoon. Given the sky, perhaps the world was going to end directly above the National Gallery! My eyes scanned about looking for any trace of inspiration.
It’s not unusual to meet odd characters in a public square. Today, was no exception. An elderly woman came up to me and said in a screeching voice “Young man, consider the number 91.”
I hurried off only to be accosted by yet another woman of great age. She grasped both my hands just at Nelson’s column and in a sing-song voice called out, “Three times thirty is ninety plus one and no more is granted.” Then she gave what I judged to be a lurid wink. By now I was just a little alarmed.
It was becoming ridiculous! Yet another elderly and decrepit woman scuttered after me!
I struck out for St. Martin’s in the Fields— a lovely church indeed, but before I could leave the Square she shouted at her companion,
“Ninety two is too too much!”
Was I being chased by the witches of MacBeth who warned of his doom? I dove between the cabs and found myself on the steps of the church wondering about the aggressiveness of the elderly–or at least of these old women.
As I was about to enter, the doors flew open and the strangest figure, dressed entirely in white, drifted out. It was as insubstantial as a breeze and thoughts of angels came to mind. My God! What next? I nearly ran to hide. But then perhaps she or it was but a fanciful figment of weary imaginings.
I sank to a nearby bench. What on earth could all this mean— if anything at all? Three clear instances of the number ninety one had been presented to me and me alone, followed by some sort of angelic presence sweeping past. Although I set my imagination to work, I was, indeed, flummoxed. But when I returned to my studio several hours later, I picked up my drawing pens and began to work—almost without any thought. Only scribbles at first, but soon some patterns formed in my brain and then toppled onto the page. What a strange muse!
Later that evening, I received a phone call. My mother had died precisely when I was wandering in Trafalgar Square. That was shock enough, but then I realized that it was some thirty days before her ninety second birthday. Ninety one and no more. I sank before my drawings and wept. But my question gave me comfort. Were the old women messengers after all? What do you think and more importantly, how could such synchronous events possibly take place?
If these sorts of questions intrigue you, you will certainly like the novels of The Trilogy of Remembrance—The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and especially Night Crossing. See the book carousel below.
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing.