*cue supernatural-sounding music here*
The following is a story about some weird shit that happened to me many years ago:
I was 20 and rooming in Southern California with a friend who had an eighteen month-old daughter. Due to a cascade of events she was doing the single mom gig, and I helped her as much as I could with her little girl. That was my first glimpse into the love that comes with parenting; I haven't seen her since she was six, but I feel that I know her in a way that few can.
Anyway, one weekend afternoon my roommate and I were meandering along a beach; at one point we stopped and spoke face-to-face,trying to decide if it was time to turn around and head back to our towels. I was facing my friend with the ocean behind her, my back was to the rolling dunes. The little girl was propped on her left hip and the waves calmly lapped at her feet while I wiggled my toes in the dry sand.
Suddenly, OUT OF NOWHERE a wave that must have been five feet high engulfed her and her daughter.
And then they were gone.
The ocean was back to looking calm, and there was no sign of the two of them. I stood there for an instant, stunned, and then (here is where it gets weird) I ran out about five feet into the water, stopped, abruptly made a left turn, ran about 10 feet parallel to the beach, stopped, bent down, put both of my hands out, and waited. I couldn't see anything, I just was acting without knowing why. A few seconds later the baby emerges from the water, still being held by my friend (one hand under each of her armpits)...all I could see of my friend was about half of her forearms. She then released her grasp on her daughter, who was now in my hands as well (I grabbed her by the waist).
Her arms disappeared and my friend was gone again.
I stood still for a second, checked on the baby girl who was now on my left hip who was sputtering but fine, and inexplicably I started running parallel to the beach again, about 15 feet from where I had been standing. I stopped, bent over again, put out my right hand...and waited. Then, out of the water and directly into my waiting hand, my friend's right hand appeared. We clasped and I pulled her out, and the three of us stumble back to the shore and my friend and I discussed what we had separately (yet somehow together) experienced.
She said she was tumbling and turning and didn't know which way was up; she just clutched her baby as tightly as possible. Then, she didn't know why as it was counterintuitive and against all of her maternal instincts, she pushed her daughter away from her body and extended her own arms as far as she could...and then let go of her little girl. She didn't know why she was doing so, as she couldn't see me didn't know I was there; she didn't know I'd grabbed her daughter any more than I knew what she was doing. She just acted without thought. As I had been doing.
She tumbled around a bit more, then stuck out her right arm, felt my hand in hers. The rest you know.
If this hadn't happened to me I wouldn't believe it. If I hadn't written it down at the time I would doubt my recall. If this friend and I hadn't over the following years occasionally rehashed it I might think I had exaggerated my memory.
I don't know what was at work there, but something was.
(We came to understand later that this was a particularly dangerous beach with an odd shelf and these types of waves happen occasionally. So that explains that. The rest...your guess is as good as mine).