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Sam & Sam

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Sometimes when a traumatic or weird event happens, you block it out of your memory. You boil it down to simply being a strange time in your life. Time can do amazing things to memories, what seemed like a fun and harmless night at a bar with friends, could later turn into a cringe worthy story of how you got too drunk and made out with a stranger.


Occasionally your memory needs boosting. Say you suffer from PTSD after witnessing someone get shot, you’re fine the majority of the time, but when new year’s eve comes around, you run and hide from the sound of fireworks.
~
Back in 2009 I was obsessed with a podcast called “Sam & Sam.” Basically, brother and sister, Samuel and Samantha would talk about random things which happened in their lives. Samuel was the star of the show, he would discuss video games a lot, and had a wicked sense of humour. Although Samantha was mainly someone he could bounce off, she had a very dry quality about her which I liked. She would talk about celebrities in a segment called “true gossip.” Samantha would rattle off fake tabloids, it was incredibly witty and always made me laugh.

Sam and Sam didn’t have any social media pages. They claimed if they divulged to everyone throughout the week what they had been up to, they wouldn’t have much to talk about. I wasn’t sure how large their fan base was, their website was minimalistic and I never asked my friends if they had heard of the show. I liked keeping the podcast to myself and since I’d never heard anyone else talk about it or mention it online, it made me feel special in a strange way. I had found a gem just for me. Eventually, my iPod became filled with their podcasts. I’d play an episode on my 90 minute commute to work. Sam and Sam was such a huge part of my daily routine, occasionally I would listen to old shows simply for the background noise. I liked the company.

One afternoon, sitting at my bay window which overlooked the park, I had Sam and Sam flowing from my laptop speakers as usual. The sun had started to go down, and I decided to grab a snack. I upped the volume and made my way into the kitchen to make a toasted cheese sandwich. Putting the sandwich on the plate, Samantha had started talking about this diner she went to, how they made the best toasted cheese sandwiches and they were her favourite. I smiled. What a cool coincidence, I thought. It’s strange to explain the feeling, but Samantha and I had something in common, and that made me happy.

The next day, I met a really sweet guy on the train who asked for my number. His name was Matt and he wanted to take me to dinner. I hadn’t been on a date in a while and my stomach was churning with excitement the whole day. I was really looking forward to his phone call. Maybe this is my chance, I thought. I couldn’t be this introverted forever.

Before jumping on the train home, I went to the book store to pick up a copy of Catching Fire. The plan was to cook a nice dinner while listening to Sam and Sam, their latest episode was released on their webpage that day, but I spent the trip home chatting with Matt.

That night, I decided to cut the episode short and listen to the rest of it on my way to work the next morning. Usually their shows ran for about 90 minutes but this one was 120, and I couldn’t wait to read my new book. As I was about to close my laptop, Samantha said somewhat frantically, “Don’t go anywhere!” I was taken aback by this but she followed it up by saying she understood the episode was longer than usual, but she really wanted to talk about The Hunger Games series, in particular Catching Fire - obviously I had to listen. We had something else in common, it felt nice.

As the months went by, more coincidences started showing up. I became closer and closer to Sam and Sam, particularly Samantha. Although since dating Matt, I wasn’t as dependent on them for company anymore, but still listened religiously. Matt was great, but he didn’t spend as much time with me as I would have liked, and always seemed to have work plans with attractive female friends who he avoided introducing me to. It bothered me, but I was too timid to say anything.

Matt came over late one evening to spend the night. Sam and Sam’s latest episode had just been released and I wanted to listen but decided to wait until I had time to myself on the train. I wasn’t ready to share the podcast with him. I turned the episode on as the train pulled out of the station, sitting back to close my eyes. Samantha had just finished up her “true gossip” segment, when she said something which made my heart pound: 

“Hey, Bro. This is going to sound completely insane but have you ever just completely hated a name, anyone with that name you come in contact with just automatically goes on your nope list.”

“Sure, I guess…weirdo. What name?”

“Matt. Never liked Matts, never trusted Matts. Hey listeners, if any of you are dating someone named Matt, he’s definitely fucking other women behind your back. Trust me.”

“Ha-ha, okay Sam. Watch out, Matts everywhere.”

She told me to trust her! It was another coincidence but felt so specific. I started to feel like one of those people who go crazy over a songwriter and start thinking their music was written directly for them, but it was all too weird. I started getting obsessed, lurking through Matt’s social media pages trying to find clues, but came up empty. When he came over a couple of days later, I tried to tell myself I was being ridiculous and had nothing to worry about. I really tried, but when he got up to take a shower and his phone was sitting there, illuminated and unlocked, I felt compelled to go through it.

Hey sexy, I had so much fun with you last night ;)

Samantha was right. My gut feeling to trust her was right. I stuttered and tried to hold in my tears as he emerged from the bathroom, I told him to leave, and he came up with excuses and reasoning that I would have bought before if it wasn’t for my trust in Samantha. I finally had found some courage, and everything went white and I yelled and yelled until he left. Though distraught, I felt strong.

A friend of mine invited me to lunch the Saturday after Matt and I broke up. The news had been plugging the category 1 hurricane all morning, and I wondered why. Hurricanes, especially category 1, weren’t particularly rare. I’d been out in hurricanes many times before, and the stores in the area had even stopped closing on these days. It was still miserable though, and cold, I didn’t particularly want to go out in the weather but my friend insisted. Throwing a raincoat over my clothes, I tucked my iPod into my back pocket so I could listen to some of the new Sam and Sam on my walk. Although the cafe was only a couple of blocks, I needed a distraction from the weather and the podcast seemed like the perfect one.

Making my way through the park, I looked around the grim playground. Apart from a teenage boy on a skateboard, not too far behind me, no one else was in sight. The wind had started picking up, and I was regretting my decision to go out more and more. That’s when I heard it. That’s when Samantha paused.

“Stop!”

I kept walking, confused.

“Stop now!”

I figured Samuel was doing something annoying and wondered why they hadn’t cut it from the show.

“Stop! Now, Kate! Stop!”

I was shocked at Samantha saying my name, and stopped more so because of that than the sudden order to stop. She’s speaking to me, I thought. How does she know who I am?

The boy on the skateboard sped past me, and as he did, I heard the crack. I tried to yell to him, but he was wearing headphones, too. I tried to help him… I tried.

The power lines came crashing down. For a moment, I thought he was ahead of them, until his body practically disappeared. His arm jolted about, amidst the terrible sparks and eardrum rupturing crackles. I jumped back and screamed. Without thinking, I grabbed my phone to dial for help, then everything was a blur. The firefighters, the paramedics, the questions until one of the paramedics offered to drive me home.

While vacantly looking out the passenger’s side window, I remembered what Samantha had said on the podcast. It was a recording. It wasn’t live. How did she know, I wondered. I was in shock like never before. “That should have been me,” I muttered to myself. “That…should have been me.”

Reaching for my iPod to replay the recording, I went back to the estimate time stamp. The recording was silent. I went back to the beginning when they would give their usual greeting, again, silence. I clicked on an older recording, nothing. Questioning myself, reasoning with myself… It must have been the rain, I thought. Maybe the iPod got wet?

Racing to my laptop as I got home, going through the files and again, they all played silent. I went to their website, webpage not found. Frightened, unsure of everything, but I was alive. “That should have been me.”

The months that followed, I went to a psychologist to deal with the anxiety and the constant nightmares recapping what had happened to that poor boy, but was always too frightened to tell them about Sam and Sam, certain they would send me away. I would check the website every week, do google searches, but nothing ever came up. Broken for a while, unsure of myself for even longer, I eventually stopped searching. Regardless of who they were, whether or not they were real, they saved my life, they cared. My thought process was to ignore the situation, there really was nothing that could be done, it was simply a strange time in my life.

Last night, I was browsing the web and came across a new podcast. I was reluctant to listen but it has been almost six years. It looked interesting, funny, light-hearted, two guys and one girl. It was just the type of thing I liked and missed. Halfway through the first episode, I was ecstatic to have found it. It was nice to have the company again, I thought. Smoking was a terrible habit I had picked up after everything and I’m planning on quitting once this pack runs out.

I lit a smoke while listening intently, but thinking about how much I’d miss the ritual of smoking, when the girl on the podcast paused and said, “Quitting smoking is always a good idea.”


Credits to: Bruxism

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