I know it’s aught to be bitter cold. After all, I’m walking on snow-covered fields. Yet, I feel comfortably warm. This in itself isn't particularly noteworthy considering I have had many winter strolls in my life and as long as I wore a good jacket, I hardly ever felt the cold. But this time it’s different. I’m in my summer pajamas and on top of it I'm barefoot. Despite this, I don't feel the cold. Two questions keep coming up as I continue to my walk. For one, why in the world am I wearing summer pajamas when it’s snowing outside? The other one being, why aren’t I freezing to death?
„Hi Lina! Are you ready for your trip? You do realize you’re freaking lucky that you can go to Australia and enjoy the heat, while we freeze to death here, don’t you?“ Amy was smiling when she said it, so Lina didn’t raise the point that it sounded like Amy was jealous. „Did you remember to pack your summer pajamas?“ she asked as she glanced at Lina’s suitcase.
„Of course I did," replied Lina with a big grin on her face, „in fact, I took the sexy ones. After all, you never know whom you’ll meet, right?“ Lina continuously threw more clothes on her bed while speaking. Her preference was to have everything laid out in front of her and then decide what to pack and what to put back in the closet.
Of course. I’m probably wearing summer pajamas because I was supposed to be in Australia. So how did I end up here in this winter wonderland? Besides, where in God’s name am I? I wish I could ask someone, but there’s nobody around. It’s just me and the snow. There are no mountains, woods or streets. I keep walking, hoping to run into someone. Did I ever make it to Australia? Think harder, Lina! Try to remember!
Amy drove Lina to the airport and helped her with her luggage. „Who’s gonna help you with all of this in Australia? Seriously, did you really have to pack so much stuff for a two-week trip? I could have done with half of it,“ she complained while putting one of the bags down. After Lina had checked in her three bags she invited Amy to a cup of coffee, which was a welcome treat considering the blazing wind outside. „Would you look at this,“ Amy exclaimed and pointed at Lina’s boarding pass. „You have been assigned seat 42 and the gate is also 42. Do you believe in angel numbers? They say that if you keep seeing a certain number over and over again, it’s a signal from your guardian angels. I believe 42 means that a great change is coming to your life.“
„Nope, I don’t really believe in that kind of stuff,“ said Lina and ordered two cups of coffee and two chocolate cakes.
„That’s 42 Dollars, madam,“ said the lady behind the counter.
„See! There it is again. This can’t be a coincidence,“ proclaimed Amy.
„I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence or a sign from my guardian angel. However, I do know that this is a rip-off. Why would two cups of coffee and two cakes cost 42 Dollars?“ said Lina.
„Well, we’re living in an expensive country, my dear. Add on the airport premiums and you’re at 42 Dollars,“ said the lady while patiently waiting for Lina to pay.
Oh yes. 42! Now I remember again. I was at the airport with Amy, which means that I boarded the plane. Did the plane crash? Unlikely. I wouldn’t have put on my pajamas on the plane. I turn around to look back at where I came from. It seems like I landed in the middle of this field because there’s nothing behind me. No crashed plane, no cars, no houses, no humans and no footprints. Wait, there are no footprints at all! Not even my own. I take two steps forward and look back but there are no prints in the snow. What the heck is going on? Is this a dream? It must be a dream. That's the only explanation for why I can't remember how I got here. I'm probably in that beautiful hotel in Australia and just having a strange dream. I did check into a hotel, didn't I? Why can't I remember that? What’s wrong with my memory today?
„Welcome to Starhotels! As our preferred guest we’re happy to offer you a free upgrade to a suite. We hope, you’ll like it,“ said the good-looking guy at the reception. „Could I have your passport, please? Lina Nidya. That’s a beautiful name. Quite fitting for a beautiful woman,“ he added.
„Do you flirt with all of your guests?“ asked Lina.
„No. Only with the beautiful ones that are called Lina,“ he said and offered a warm smile. „Here is your room key. It’s room 42 in the 4th floor.“
„42?“ asked Lina. „This number really is following me,“ she murmured to herself on her way to the elevator. It was shortly after midnight when she finally entered her room. The flight was long and exhausting and she had had difficulties sleeping on the plane. After dropping her bags on the floor she threw herself on the bed to rest a few minutes before putting on her pajamas. More than an hour later she woke up thanks to her bladder. „I shouldn’t have had so many drinks on the plane,“ she thought to herself. It was quite hot in the room and her clothes were trenched in sweat, so Lina persuaded herself to open a suitcase and grab the very first pajama she could find. Luckily, it was one of the summer pajamas she had packed for the trip.
Ahh, of course! The good-looking guy at the reception. So I checked in and even managed to put on my pajamas. But what happened next? Am I still sleeping? I’m pretty convinced that all of this is nothing but a strange dream. Most probably a side effect of the jet-lag. All right, Lina, it’s time to wake up now. OK, here we go. I’m going to pinch myself as hard as I can, that’ll wake me up. Holy smokes, that didn’t even hurt. When I wake up I’m going to bust this myth about pinching yourself while dreaming. Wait a second. This is the first time I’m aware that I’m dreaming while being in a dream. Is this what they call lucid dreaming? Must be. What else could it be, right?
Unless… No, that’s not possible. That wouldn’t make any sense. I couldn’t possibly be dead, could I? Is this the afterlife that I’ve heard so much about? I remember someone telling me about his near-death experience. But he was talking about a bright light and a guardian angel. All I see is snow covered fields and no other soul around. I think I’m loosing my mind. I’m sure, I’ll soon wake up and laugh about these thoughts.
Holy smokes! Is that a person at the horizon? Yes! It’s definitely a human being! Hello! Can you hear me? Wait! Don’t go away, I’m coming as fast as I can. Hey! Turn around. I’m behind you! Hello! Isn’t that great, I finally find someone and he or she seems to be deaf. Hey!! Thank God, he’s slowing down, which means he finally heard me. Hi there, I’m glad you stopped, I thought you didn’t hear me. Who are you? Let me see your face, please. What? Dad? Dad! What are you doing here? I haven’t seen you since…well, since you died in that accident. It’s so great to see you again! I missed you so much! There’s tons of stuff I want to tell you. Finally we’re united again. But that means I’m dead, right? What? What do you mean it’s not my time yet? Don’t walk away, please! Let me come with you, dad. I’m so tired, I just want to rest. I don’t want to go back. I want to stay with you! Dad? Dad! Dad!!
„This is definitely a Christmas miracle,“ said the reporter in the news and continued „the lady was found unconscious in her room, while the entire hotel was in flames. The raging bushfire had turned direction due to the changing wind and went towards the hotel. Even though the alarm was sounded on time so that all guests were able to escape, the receptionist, James Blue, mentioned that a young lady was missing. He explained that she had checked into room 42 and must have been so jet-lagged that she didn’t hear the alarm. Despite all the odds the fire fighters were able to get her out of the burning hotel and to resuscitate her. She’s now in the ICU in a nearby hospital. If it wasn’t for this young receptionist, she would probably be dead.“ The reporter turned to James to ask him a few questions. „How come you remembered that there was a lady in room 42?“
„It’s the strangest thing, you know. Today is my 42nd birthday and this very day also marks my 42nd day as a receptionist in this hotel. So this beautiful lady walks in at 11:42 pm to check in and is assigned to room 42. That was too strange to be a coincidence. Everyone would have remembered that!“
„Hi Mom! I’m back,“ said Lina as she walked in the door. Her mom looked at her with a smile.
„Where are James and Aylin?“ she asked. „I want to give Aylin a big hug. She must have grown up by now.“
„Yes, she’s really going to be a tall girl,“ replied Lina.
„You know, ever since you survived that fire five years ago and married James, your life has become so much better,“ said her mom.
„Yes,“ said Lina and added, „Amy was right. 42 really was a lucky number that was going to change my life forever.“