Later, in bed, I started thinking about my birthday and about the number six. I had brought up with me the book I’d been reading earlier—Your Days Are Numbered, that book about numerology. I thought it was all silly—but I decided, just for fun, to use that book to see what I could “learn” about myself.
The book said that to find my “life path” I had to add together the day, month, and year of my birth. So … 30 + 8 + 1983 = 2021. Add the digits 2 + 0 + 2 + 1 = 5. So five is my “life path number.” According to the book, my “constructive” qualities included “freedom,” “mental curiosity,” “cleverness,” “travel.” Those all fit. But some others didn’t—like “sociability” and “companionability.”
Among my “negative” aspects were “thoughtlessness” and “inconsistency” and “bad taste.”
And highlighting my “destructive” aspects were “abuse of freedom,” “indulgence in drink,” “indulgence in dope.” These are traits, says the book, that I must work to avoid. Not a bad idea.
The book then suggested that I can discover my “vibration” by using the vowels in my name. It even provided a little table to show me what to do. Victoria Stone had six vowels. I added up their “number value,” as the book advised, and came up with 9. This number means I want to serve the whole world, to give all the benefits of my knowledge and experience, that I have wisdom, and on and on.
But here’s where I knew it was all silliness (though, of course, I’d known this from the start): Is attractive to all and loved by all. That had never been true, and I was fairly certain it never would be. All, you see, is the largest category of all.
I closed that ridiculous book and would replace it later on the shelf.
Much later that night, still in bed but about to turn off the light, I remembered that Blue Boyle had brought a gift. Quietly I crept downstairs to the living room, where I’d left the package. A streetlight’s faint glow flowed into the room, but there wasn’t much of a moon to help.
The first thing I noticed was the horse book that Elena had left open earlier in the day. She’d turned it over, as if she’d planned to return to it later. But, of course, she hadn’t. I wanted to see what she had been looking at. I picked it up, turned it over, and held it up for the streetlight to illuminate the page.
On the top half of pages 218–219 were words; on the bottom, pictures. The words were under a heading—Foaling. I knew what it meant. It’s word used for horses, to describe the process of giving birth. The paragraphs were all about how mares deliver their young.
But even if I hadn’t known what the word meant, the ten pictures would have left no doubt. Arrayed across the bottom of the page in two rows—five color pictures in each row—they showed a mare delivering her foal. All stages are visible—from the first appearance of the foal’s head to the first nursing after the birth.
No wonder Elena wanted to stay behind and read a little more before we ate. Though I doubt she was doing much reading. A better word, probably, is looking. And wondering.
I closed the book, then looked over and could make out the Blue Boyle’s box, still sitting on one of the end tables right where we’d left it.
I picked it up and took it back up to my room. It wasn’t heavy. Not at all.
Back in bed, I slowly unwrapped this box that looked and felt as if it could hold nothing much larger than a softball. I pulled the top from the box and saw just a piece of paper wrapped around something in the bottom.
I picked it up, unwrapped the paper. It had been covering a rock. A plain old rock caked with dirt. There was no message. Nothing else. Just a dirty rock.