I had forgotten this until I went to look for the photo for my last post, but on the actual day we separated, the only photo I took was a shot of my computer screen. We were (ironically) scheduled to have our house painted the next morning, and I was on Etsy looking for new address numbers to put up next to the door.
As I was searching, I noticed two signs featured next to each other. One said “John” and the other, “29.” My dad’s name w
as John, and 29 was his lucky number. It was the number on his uniform when he played football and lacrosse in high school and college. (He was such a good athlete, I am told, that he once arrived at an away game to find the other team burning in effigy a scarecrow wearing a jersey with the number 29 on it - a move that I feel like probably wouldn’t fly today).
I’m not sure what the significance of the number was for him. His parents were married on October 29th, but other than that, I’m not sure why he considered it lucky.
It also happens to be the date he died, February 9th – 2/9. Seeing “John” and “29” next to each other on my screen whe
n I hadn’t expected it stopped me for a moment. I sucked in my breath and snapped a picture to text my mom. Then I went back to shopping.
A few hours later, I had the conversation that would end my marriage.
In hindsight, how serendipitous was it that his name and number showed up for me that afternoon? What luck that I paused to capture that image at that moment, when the tectonic plates were rumbling beneath the surface of my life but I did not know yet that an earthquake was going to hit.