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|Essays · Poetry · Comedy · Art · Video||summer 2021|
Psychic Friends, cont'd.
Mar. 2002, published in Feb. 2003, sredfearn
One of the first in was Ingrid, who received some bad news. Mrs. T foretold that her relationship with my pal Adam would end in three to four months when Ingrid meets a man whose name starts with the letter "L." Ouch. Cate was told she would work in computers and find the love of her life. Caroline was instructed not to give advice to anyone named Michelle, as that advice would be turned against her. She was also told she would have two kids. Kathleen was informed that in her next job, her boss would be either a Henry or a Howard, and he would be a good man. "Gee, do you think I should base my employment searches on that?" she said to us, crunching on a tortilla chip.
When I had enough of the drink in me, I took my turn in the candlelit room. Mrs. T had barely put a dent in her red wine. I noticed for the first time her heavy black eyeliner and the small circular Band-Aid on her left cheek. What was she concealing? A pimple? Skin cancer? Vampire-tooth marks?
I told her I wanted a tarot-card reading, like most of the others were getting. She instructed me to think of a question and put my hand on the worn-looking deck. "And be pacific!" she intoned. I wasn't sure how to do that.
I laid my hand on the deck, closed my eyes, and tried to shoot powerful gamma rays into the cards, thinking, I'm very distracted by her odd English. But OK, here goes: 'Will my writing ever reach as broad and appreciative an audience as, say, David Sedaris'?
As soon as I opened my eyes, Mrs. T began furiously laying the deck out on the small black table. How could she have time to examine the cards at such high speed? Suddenly, she exclaimed with conviction, "You are filled with confusement!"
I was stunned. Gosh, I thought, no I'm not. I've never had my head on straighter in my entire life. But then I realized that maybe she was talking about my secret question. Oh sure, I am filled with "confusement" about how far my writing might go. OK...
Next Mrs. T waved her bony fingers in the air and said I had a loved one who died and is now at peace. Hmm. Could be my dad, though I highly doubt he was at peace in the netherworld, never having been at peace as a living being. I asked her if the dead person expired recently or awhile ago. She said there was one of each. How convenient, I thought, but then realized that there actually was one of each--my dad, who gave up the ghost 13 years ago, and David, my former co-worker who died a few months ago. I didn't see how David could be at peace either, being young, troubled, and successfully suicidal. I decided to disregard this information.
Mrs. T then reared back and looked down her nose at me for emphasis. "You have a good solid marriage, and your husband loves you verrrry much. He's a good man, and the marriage will last. But for continued happiness, you must learn to trust him, really trust him."
Whoa! I thought. How could she know I'm the one in the group with trust issues? Indeed, I've always felt unable to truly trust men--really deeply trust them. But the fault lies with my parents, not with any cheating boyfriends. Separating when I was 3 and deciding to live the partying single life though they still had a small child, my parents had been far more wayward than any boys I'd encountered. Thus, the abandonment thing was burned pretty deeply into me, resulting in a continuous sense of suspicion in my love life that has just recently begun to fade. But how could Mrs. T detect that? Was it something in my eyes? My skin?
She continued rapidly turning over the cards, changing the subject. "Ah, money will be no problem for you," she said, adding that I would eventually achieve success in my career. "When?" I asked, sick to death of waiting. "In two or three years--but you have to work harder." She was probably right. I did spend an awful lot of my writing time cleaning the apartment and looking up old classmates on the Internet.
And then suddenly Mrs. T sat back, showing her readiness to be rid of me.
"Do you want to axe me a question?" she purred.
I did. I realized she hadn't said a word about offspring, a concept that lately has been coursing through my head like robust sperm swimming resolutely north. "Yes, kids," I said, not wanting to give away whether I had any, didn't have any, wanted some, didn't want any.
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