|Andy Ferris looked at the calendar and crossed his arms. There it was, big and bold and black, seemingly taunting him from the glossy page: “March 15.”
He snapped his head away and his eyes widened, thoughts now racing in his head as his breathing became more rapid and his palms began to sweat.
“Now this is crazy,” Andy thought. “Why should I be so fearful of March 15? So what if it is the Ides of March!”
He knew why, all right. It had been more than twenty years, but it seemed like yesterday, when he played Caesar in the college play and he was stabbed by the Liberators. Brutus, of course...he tried to remember the other names, but could not.
Andy felt his legs shaking as he turned his back on the calendar and strode into the hallway. But like an explosive bolt of both mockery and scare, that home-crafted wood calendar caught his eye like a fisherman’s net catches minnows, and there on the spot, with precision and incisive aplomb directed at the very center of terror and tremble, that one square tile seemed to jump from its tongue and grooved horizontal placement to torment Andy with cold cruelty.
“I had to look at it, didn’t I?” Andy thought, flat-footed in the middle of the hall, drumming his fingers on the cellar door inches from his right shoulder.
“O this is silly,” Andy now spoke aloud, and realized his mouth was dry. So he pivoted and went back to the kitchen and grabbed a water bottle from the counter.
“This is just a date!” Andy swigged the water, but some of it spilled on his chin and wetted his yellow tee shirt.
“I am not Caesar, nor are there any knives in the air! March 15--Ides of March be damned!”
Andy had no more than cursed the Ides when he heard a knock at the back door. Through the glass he saw his friend Don Cavanaugh, so he released the deadbolt and opened the door.
“Hi Don,” Andy said.
“How goes it Andy?” and Don bounded in.
“Hey old buddy, since we’re both off today, what say we go on down to the Y and play some basketball? Good day for it, don’t you think?”
Normally, Andy would have jumped at the chance to play basketball, and in fact had earned the nickname, “Hoops.” Yet on this day he felt as if any activity a muddy field of silt, and he a decrepit old bicycle with frayed tires. Just entertaining the thought made his tires sink deeper.
“O no, not today, Don, I’m just gonna kick back inside and...”
“What!?” Don snapped it off like the crack of a whip, his face frozen with astonishment.
“Since when do you turn down the chance to play some hoops?”
Andy looked at Don and noticed the wall calendar beyond his left shoulder. Feeling his heart race, he grabbed his left arm with his right hand and vigorously rubbed it, where a red rash had suddenly raised objection with the peacefulness of epidermis.
“I’m not in the mood, okay? Just let it go, Don.”
Don went to speak, but Andy went on:
“Hey, it’s nothing, man. Just not my day. How about something to drink?”
Don left after a bit a good-natured kidding, seemingly convinced, but Andy knew otherwise.
“So, you see that?” Andy spoke to himself. “Has it come to this? I’m going to let it control me? I think not! I choose to control it!”
He went over to the wall calendar and put his nose on the 21 and his eye socket right up to the 15, where his eyelash touched the smoothness of the calendar page.
“No, March 15, no you don’t! You don’t scare me anymore! I am Andy Ferris, and I love life!”
It was still March when Andy sat back in his easy chair sipping some hot chamomile tea. Sports Central was on, and they were covering the basketball tournament, with all the flashy hype afforded to March madness. The announcers were discussing the fact that the tournament was down to the final, “Sweet 16.”
“A whole sight better than that sour 15,” Andy thought.