Shall I go for broke and tell you the rest of this peculiar story? I’ll do so, having gone this far already. My novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said was released by Doubleday in February of 1974. The week after it was released, I had two impacted wisdom teeth removed, under sodium pentathol. Later that day I found myself in intense pain. My wife phoned the oral surgeon and he phoned a pharmacy. Half an hour later there was a knock at my door: the delivery person from the pharmacy with the pain medication. Although I was bleeding and sick and weak, I felt the need to answer the knock on the door myself. When I opened the door, I found myself facing a young woman—who wore a shining gold necklace in the center of which was a gleaming gold fish. For some reason I was hypnotized by the gleaming golden fish; I forgot my pain, forgot the medication, forgot why the girl was there. I just kept staring at the fish sign.
“What does that mean?” I asked her.
The girl touched the glimmering golden fish with her hand and said, “This is a sign worn by the early Christians.” She then gave me the package of medication.
In that instant, as I stared at the gleaming fish sign and heard her words, I suddenly experienced what I later learned is called anamnesis—a Greek word meaning, literally, “loss of forgetfulness.” I remembered who I was and where I was. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, it all came back to me. And not only could I remember it but I could see it. The girl was a secret Christian and so was I. We lived in fear of detection by the Romans. We had to communicate with cryptic signs. She had just told me all this, and it was true.
For a short time, as hard as this is to believe or explain, I saw fading into view the black prison-like contours of hateful Rome. But, of much more importance, I remembered Jesus, who had just recently been with us, and had gone temporarily away, and would very soon return. My emotion was one of joy. We were secretly preparing to welcome Him back. It would not be long. And the Romans did not know. They thought He was dead, forever dead. That was our great secret, our joyous knowledge. Despite all appearances, Christ was going to return, and our delight and anticipation was boundless.
Isn’t it odd that this strange event, this recovery of lost memory, occured only a week after Flow My Tears was released? And it is Flow My Tears which contains the replication of people and events from the Book of Acts, which is set at the precise moment in time—just after Jesus’ death and resurrection—that I remembered, by means of the golden fish sign, as having just taken place?
If you were me, and had this happen to you, I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to leave it alone. You would seek a theory that would account for it. For over four years now, I have been trying one theory after another: circular time, frozen time, timeless time, what is called “sacred” as contrasted to “mundane” time… I can’t count the theories I’ve tried out. One constant has prevailed, though, throughout all theories. There must indeed be a mysterious Holy Spirit which has an exact and intimate relation to Christ, which can indwell in human minds, guide and inform them, and even express itself through those humans, even without their awareness.