Safe Keeping by BethShelby
Found It writing prompt entry
I found the combination to the safe. But what is more interesting than finding it is the way in which I found it. There is a the hint of the supernatural which leaves me baffled to this day. The material locked in the safe led me to an interesting encounter which impacted my life in a positive way.
Let me give you a little background. Judy, the receptionist at the printing company where I worked, had the ability to sense things before they happened. She claimed to have walked and talked for years with her mother, who died when she was four. She always knew when her sister or other family members were in pain or trouble. Although at first I resisted becoming her friend, it didn't take long to confirm there was some kind of phychic bond existing between the two of us.
I'd barely started with the company when I had a vivid dream that involved seeing her in a meeting, in which she and other company employees were distressed and crying. When I related the dream to her the next day, she accused me of having prior knowledge of the meeting, which had occurred the night before. Apparently, it happened exactly as I saw it. The company was undergoing reorganization, and most of the employees would be losing their jobs. Her own future, as well as mine, was uncertain. Thankfully, both of us were among those chosen to stay.
Two men owned the company. Jerry was the serious intellectual type, who did most of the sales work. Jack, who provided the bulk of the cash, was addicted to gambling and usually kept a bottle of Old Crow at work to help him get through the day. Jack owned the safe in question, and he was the only person who had ever been able to open it.
A college professor from another part of our state came to the company wanting a large book produced, which involved hundreds of photographs and artwork. Since I was the company artist, the job of doing the layout and artwork would fall to me. I had other jobs to be completed first, so Jack decided we would store all of her photographs in the safe until I could clear time to work on her job.
None of us realized how deeply Jack was in trouble with gambling debts, One morning, we were stunned to learn Jack had committed suicide.
When our grief at having lost a member of our company had lessened to point of getting back to business, the question of how to open the safe was on everyone's mind. Jerry had the combination, but it didn't work for any of us. We spent hours and days trying to open it, but it stubbornly refused to open. Time was running out, and it appeared the lock would have to be blown off.
"I had a dream about you last night," Judy informed me one morning. "I dreamed I'd gone to break room to get coffee, and when I walked back through this door, you had opened the safe."
I shrugged and said, "You wish. That's not likely, as many times as I've tried the combination." Later when I saw her go for her morning coffee, I thought 'What the heck. Why not try it one more time.' To my complete amazement the safe opened smoothly just as Judy walked back through the door. I used the same combination, but this time something jelled.
Judy didn't seem surprised. After all, things like that happened for her all the time. For me, not so much. We didn't lock it again. It probably couldn't have been repeated.
Did it change my life? Indirectly, I'd say it did. Miss Michael, the lady who had left the photographs, came back a few days later. Jerry gave me permission to devote full time to her project. This involved going to the hotel where she was staying, and working with her in her hotel room. Did I mention this was the Deep South in the early sixties? Did I mention that Miss Madison was black at a time when only Caucasians were allowed in "white only" restaurants?
Miss Madison had grown up in New York, where she was a member of an elite black family. Black was the more polite term people used to refer to her race at that time. She was teaching in an all black college. Her bearing and confidence amazed me. I was surprised when she invited me to have lunch with her in one of Mississippi's nicer restaurants. I went along, proud to be considered her equal, but wondering if we would be escorted out. Whether it was due to her light skin tone, or the fact she was accompanied by an obviously white lady, we were served and treated with the utmost respect.
She was pleased with my work and her praise managed to secure me a nice raise, but the bigger change was my attitude toward members of other races. Any inbred prejudice I might have had melted away when I got to be friends with a really classy lady.
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