Joshua laughed loudly as he raised his glass to the others at the table. “What a heck of a party!” he said and he threw back his beer, then placed the container loudly onto the table.
“Hey, why do we always get together on the 5th Wednesday of every month?” Adam asked as he hailed the waitress for another round.
Billy looked at Adam with a strange look on his face. “Don't you remember? We started doing this our freshman year of college. The last day of finals fell on the 5th Wednesday of the month and you said we should go out to celebrate our survival. It was so much fun, you said we should continue celebrating the 5th Wednesdays and get together whenever it happens. And we have done so ever since.”
“No, no no! You're wrong, Billy,” interjected Trina. “We started getting together on the 5th Wednesday because Josh said it's lucky and we all know how much he needed a change of luck our Sophomore year of college,” she winked at her twin brother.
Joshua looked at his cousins all seated around him at a table at their local bar. They were all about the same age, and even though they grew up in different parts of the country, they had attended school in the same state, but not all of them went to the same University. It hadn't been planned, they just all gravitated in that region of the country. What a great group of people to be related to, he thought to himself as he finished another beer. To his left was Adam, the Mechanical Engineer, and then his twin sister, Trina, the Computer Engineer. On Trina's left was Miranda, then her twin William. Both of them had Nursing degrees. Albert was next to William, and he had studied Forensic Sciences. Then, on Josh's right was Kristy, Josh's triplet. Their brother had chosen the military as his occupation and did not attend these events unless he was on leave.
“Guys, you're all wrong,” interjected Josh. “We started this our Junior year when Robby came home on leave. He's tried to make it a point to make it every 5th Wednesday, but the Air Force isn't that flexible.” They laughed. Everyone knew that wasn't the case since Rob only made it to one of these gatherings. He's been out of the country for the rest of them.
Albert raised his glass. “I know when and why we started this,” the usually quiet cousin said. The others looked at him and were silent. “We started this because it was the day after Kristy was released from the hospital after her motorcycle accident and we wanted to celebrate that she was still alive. We've continued getting together to remind ourselves how fragile life is.”
“How long has it been, Al?” asked Trina.
“I'm not sure. How long have we been out of school?” he asked Miranda.
“It's been at least 20 years for some of us,” she replied without hesitation.
“Then I'd say it's safe to say we've been doing this about 20 years,” Albert said to Trina. She nodded her head.
“Yea, it's been about that long since the accident,” said Kristy, looking down at the scar on her arm where the pavement had scraped off a lot of skin. “Maybe Al's right.”
“Maybe? No maybe's about it. I'm always right,” said Albert as he grabbed his beer and chugged it down.
Trina laughed. “You are not always right,” she said.
“That is correct,” Adam interrupted Trina. “He is only half right. The other part of him is left.” The cousins burst out laughing. Albert rolled his eyes. As the only one without a multiple, he was used to having to stand on his own with this group.
“I tell you what. To prove to you I am always correct,” he glared at Adam and Trina, “I will use my powers of observation and precognition and predict the next time we will get together. Without the benefit of a calendar, I predict we will get together on September 29th, 2021.”
“Nope,” said Adam. “We are getting together before then because”, he paused, “Trina is getting married on July 24th.”
“No way! Who did you con into marrying you?” demanded Miranda. Trina showed her the engagement ring on her finger. They squealed together. The boys rolled their eyes in unison.
“OK, is Albert right on that date? Is the 29th the next 5th?” asked Josh.
“Yes, he's right,” said Miranda as she looked at her phone.
Kristy got real quiet. “I don't think the next time will be in September. I think we will get together in less than a week. Someone,” she swallowed hard, “is going to die in the next two days.” The group fell silent.
“What?” asked Joshua. “Who?”
“I can't tell. Just that someone is going to die.”
“Someone here?” asked Trina.
“I can't tell. Just that someone we know is going to die and we will be gathered together because of it.”
Adam shook his head. “You can't know that for sure,” he said. “No one can.”
Al disagreed. “Some people can see things before they happen. Do you often get premonitions, Kristy?”
Kristy shook her head. “No. This is the first time.”
“Well then, I'm going to say you're wrong and the next time we see each other is in September. Here's to September!” Josh raised his glass. The cousins joined in the toast, then finished their drinks.
“Time to go home,” said Miranda. “See you in September.”
It was July 5th. The eight cousins were sitting at a table in their favorite bar. Rob was with them. Everyone except for Rob was dressed in black. He was in military dress uniform.
“Well Kristy, I'll bet this is the first time in your life you wish you were wrong,” said Albert as he hugged his cousin. Tears were running down his face.
“God, I hate funerals!” Adam exclaimed as he wiped a tear from his eye. “Why did you have to be right?”
“At least it wasn't your dad who died, Adam,” Joshua retorted as he wiped his nose with a tissue.
“Uncle Chris was like my dad. He helped out when our dad got sick and was in the hospital for months. I still remember him taking us fishing and showing me how to bait a hook.”
Trina sighed. “He was great. He showed us the importance of family and that we need to take care of each other.”
“Mom always said he was the most compassionate of her siblings,” added Billy. “He gave our parents a loan when Dad was laid off for a year so that we could keep the house. Mom insisted on paying him back, with interest, once they had an income.”
“Because family doesn't mooch off of family,” the cousins all said in unison.
“I want to make a toast,” Joshua said as he raised a glass. The others picked up theirs and raised them up. “To my Dad, your uncle Chris,” Josh's voice cracked.
“He was the kindest... ”
“Person we will ever know. He was the glue that held his siblings together. Now it is our job to continue to meet with each other on the 5th Wednesday to make sure everyone is doing well,” ended Albert. The cousins raised their glasses. “Here, here,” they said and finished their drinks.