Why do they say that? It comes in threes. The bad things. The things you don’t want to come. Ever.
Some people have this all knowing air about them when they say it, nodding their heads slowly like a well meaning teacher. It’s as if they are just walking around being the clairvoyant to the masses or something.
I’ve always questioned the comes in threes things. Who was it that said if one bad thing happens another two have to follow? It better have been someone really important, otherwise I’m just going to stick my fingers in my ears and do that really annoying thing where people go: I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you.
I get the power of the three, I really do. The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Tom, Dick and Harry. The Three Musketeers. Crosby, Stills and Nash. Bananarama.
But I don’t get three as a portent of doom.
I had three bad things happen this week and after the first one happened several people told me to brace myself for the next two even though they had no idea what the next two would be. They were so convinced of the next two that I began to believe in them myself and the entire week turned into one messy, horrible self-fulfilling prophecy.
I look after baby birds. There are a lot of them around here who fall out of nests, lose their way, become ill or sustain an injury of some kind. For about two weeks I have been looking after a baby pigeon who had injured his wing. I had splinted the wing and he was just learning how to fly. I was really pleased with his progress but on Monday morning as he flew up to the closest branch in the jacaranda two magpies descended from nowhere and viciously attacked him. It was one of the most horrendous things I have ever witnessed because they literally ripped at his poor little body. I was screaming and throwing things but they were a good two metres above me so I couldn’t reach them. My poor little Sore Wing fell to the ground, a bloody mess. They had ripped out his throat. I didn’t know what to do. I rang a couple of vets and they said they would not treat a wild pigeon, that I should just let him die. I wrapped little Sore Wing in a blanket and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. He died an hour later.
That was the first thing.
Lately I have been seeing a little white cat in the laneway behind my house. He is quite young, just out of kitten-hood, and very proud of his handsome white coat. He is a very friendly little guy but was worrying me because he is not road savvy at all. Although the laneway is generally quiet there are a couple of local hoons who drive up there like maniacs. They’ve almost hit me a couple of times and I know a lot of people have complained about them to the police.
On Monday night I got the strangest feeling. I felt cold and shivery and I had this urgent need to go out to the back of the house. I opened the door to the laneway and there he was. The little white cat. He’d been hit by a car. He was dead. I couldn’t believe it because I had seen him two or three hours before and he was completely fine. But he’d been hit. And just left there. He had a name tag – turned out his name was Jimmy – with a phone number. I put him in a cardboard box, dialled the number and took him home.
Jimmy belonged to a lady up the road named Marianne. He was just out of kitten-hood. She was having trouble reining in his wandering ways. She had a photo of him on the cabinet in the kitchen. She was devastated he had been hit by a car and just left there.
Why do people do that? she asked.
Because they are shits, I replied.
That was the second thing.
After a very emotional, weary day I noticed my oldest goldfish, Blue, who I have had for five years, wasn’t looking too good. Red streaks in the fins, listless, having difficulty swimming. Illness in fish can come on very quickly. I changed the water, added some medication and felt that blue would be fine. He’s an old campaigner, tough as they come.
Blue died this morning. I am in shock about it. He was such a dear friend to me. Losing him was the third thing and it has kind of freaked me out. I am shaking slightly because I feel like some invisible force has been unleashed that is challenging me to believe the unbelievable.
It comes in threes. That is a frightening way to live. I am partly hoping that something else happens – please God, not a death- which definitively proves that the number three does not contain the power it seems to.
I can’t live with the threat of the three hanging over me – I am superstitious and anxiety-ridden enough – so I am hoping the three things were just coincidence.
Oh yeah, and denial is also a river in Egypt.