Or “What is in a Name?”
In the 1970’s and ‘80’s, The “Bermuda Triangle” was all the rage. There were books and television movies. And we didn’t have the luxury of the internet to instantly debunk the theories. We couldn’t fact check the claims. We believed.
In those days, I read every horror and occult novel I could get my hands on. I worshipped at the altar of Stephen King. (I’m his “number one fan.”) I also lived alone and stayed up reading all night scaring the shit out of myself.
One night I was reading “The Bermuda Triangle,” (Clever name by Captain Obvious) by Charles Berlitz. Each chapter featured the story of a different mysterious disappearance. Were aliens to blame? Was there a swirling vortex to Hell somewhere out there in the ocean?
Confession time: Though I write under the name “Renea Dijab” or “Renea Dearing-Dijab,” that is not my actual name.
“Renea” is my middle name. I have been called that since birth. I did not choose it, not did I make any decisions regarding it, therefore, it is, in fact, my “real” name, as much as anybody’s. “Renea” is what I answer to. It is who I am.
However, my “legal” FIRST name and what is on my passport, driver’s license, and mortgage, is “Carol.” My last name is technically hyphenated now, but of course,“Dijab” is my husband’s name.
So, in the mid- 1980’s, when I was reading this book, alone in my apartment in Louisville, KY at 2 a.m., my legal name, first and last, was “Carol Dearing.”
I was already pretty creeped out and afraid to go to the bathroom (lest some monster attacked me from behind the shower curtain), when I started a new chapter in the book. The story unfolded that in 1921, a sailing vessel named, I shit you not, “The Carroll Deering” – google it if you don’t believe me – was found run aground with the entire crew missing, never to be heard from again.
By fact-checking today, you will find far more realistic explanations about what happened to The Carroll Deering in 1921, but in the darkest hours before dawn, in my tiny bedroom all alone, it was obvious that water-bound demons took the crew of that ship to Hell.
It was at that moment that I remembered that I had purchased a cruise from a telemarketer a couple of weeks earlier. Thank God I was young and had a strong heart as the inevitable occurred to me – “did my upcoming cruise sail through The Bermuda Triangle?” “Was the Universe sending me a warning only a moron would ignore?”
Of course, in those dark days, we did not have the internet, we had maps and globes, and in my apartment, I had my elementary school globe – that is still in my house today and is highly inaccurate for modern times – and I flung myself head-long towards the front of the apartment, weakened by fear, spurred on by panic.
I stared at the globe in disbelief as I traced the route of what would have been my very first cruise. Yes, in a matter of weeks, I, Carol Dearing, was to follow in the footsteps of the doomed ship, The Carroll Deering. Did I expect the Universe to rent a billboard and ring it with flashing lights?
Now, I am not a superstitious person. But I clarify it this way: I am not a superstitious person, but should I stumble upon an abandoned house at dusk and discover a coffin in the basement, I am (a) not going to open the casket, and (b) not staying until sundown. I am not superstitious, but I am not an idiot.
I agonized for weeks – was I really not going to take a wonderful holiday because I was some highly imaginative, overly emotional, crazy person? Or, was I going down a watery rabbit hole to the netherworld because I was too fucking stupid to listen to what the Universe was SHOUTING at me?
Thankfully, before I was forced to make an irrevocable, perhaps fatal, decision, I got a full-time job that prevented me from taking a vacation during the valid dates of my cruise certificate. So I had to cancel it. I got my money back. And I don’t mind telling you that I was more than a bit relieved.
Who knows? That swirling vortex to Hell may still be out there… calling my name… “Carol Dearing… Come to me now… Carol… Dearing…”
Cheaper Than Therapy is a blog and live storytelling show in Montgomery, AL. FOLLOW the blog, LIKE the show on FB, FOLLOW me on Twitter @ReneaDijab or come check out the show!