Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kimmydon Week 7 Entry: Tarot


Kimmydon's Choice: Both


There was something odd about the way she fanned the cards out on the table. It was just a normal table, the striped cloth was a bit weird, and the circle had an empty glass in the middle. I'd drained the last of my Coke, but Miss Terry - what kind of hoaky name was that? - was very careful not to touch it as she spread the standard Bicycle brand playing cards around it. I snagged one of the red velvet cake squares from beside her and she smiled at me, her thick eyeliner making her eyes even thinner.

"Now," she said in a terrible Romanian accent. "Choose where your life begins and ends." She gestured to the circle.

I snorted, my grandmother was Romanian, not Romani, not a gypsy, but still. I pursed my lips and picked a card from the right side of the table, sliding it out a little, but not completely from the circle.

"Excellent." She left that card in place and began making her way counter-clockwise around the circle. I stopped her, asking why. "The sun travels from east to west, so passes our lives."

Well, that made sense. I was so glad I hadn't paid money for this. My friend, Jody, had said that this was the best tarot reader around and I wouldn't be disappointed. She was so sure, she had forked out the fifty bucks this lady charged. Absolutely ludicrous.

I nibbled my cake while she counted off three cards, flipping the fourth. It was the three of diamonds. Ooooh, spooky.

"You were a happy, beautiful child. A happy home, loving parents, little care in the world." Yeah, that wasn't unusual. She counted three, flipping four, the eight of spades. "But you lost a pet. I believe it was a dog. One you had had for several years."

Okay, that was a little creepy. I had once had a dog named Jake, and he'd been hit by car when I was seven. He'd been mine since I got him, when I was two. We had taken him to a vet, but he was too badly injured. I'd held his paw as Dr. Brown gave him his last shot.

"Yeah," is all I murmur, unable to comprehend her accuracy.

She nodded and counted off another three cards, flipping the fourth. The ace of hearts is turned up and the reader lifted her face to mine. I resisted rolling my blue eyes. This is part of the show, I'm certain. "You skipped your first day of school."

What?! How in the hell did she know that from a card?! She was absolutely right. The kids on the bus had teased me so badly that as soon as I got off, I ran. I came back in time for the bus home. Mom was so mad. She drove me to school the next day and I met Jody, who had been my friend ever since. What did that have to do with the ace of hearts?

Miss Terry pursed her too red lips; it emphasized the lines on her face. I licked mine and took another bite of the cake, refusing to answer her. After a few seconds she counted off another three cards. This time she flipped the six of spades.

"Defense. You are defensive. You find yourself alone because you resist letting others in." I nodded in reply. That was general enough, and true enough in my case. Jody often told me I'd have a boyfriend by now if I'd just let one of them talk to me for more than two sentences, but I was afraid of getting hurt.

Miss Terry smiled at me again. "Let's hope the future brings those defenses down." We were a quarter of the way around the circle. "But first we have a little more of the past to cover." She continued her ritual, flipping the Jack of clubs. "A stranger enters your life. Usually, for a girl your age, this would be a step-father or mother."

"My parents..." I began, but she interrupted me.

"Are still happily married - an achievement, to be sure. I said, 'usually'. This stranger is... a new neighbour? You don't move often, and so have known your neighbours quite well. This man moving in next door was remarkable for some reason."

I remembered the day Ernest moved in next door - the day I got a curfew. I was only ten, so I wasn't likely to be out late anyhow, but mom and dad got extra protective then. It was only a few years ago that I learned he had molested his niece. He had served jail time, and was watched for a repeat offense. He had never looked at me twice, but it was the first neighbour that we didn't have over regularly for a barbeque or tea. Remarkable all right.

"Yes," I answered her. "He is different from my other neighbours."

Miss Terry nodded, closing her eyes for a moment. I gobbled the last of the cake while she did. It was very good, moist and sweet. The icing was almost crisp, it had hardened so well, like candy.

By the time I had swallowed, the next card was turned up, the seven of hearts. "New family," she murmured. "I don't think it was a new sibling though. A new pet, perhaps?" She smiled, knowingly.

I chuckled quietly. She was right. I thought idly about Mom and Dad having another kid. It was kind of late in life for them, but not beyond the realm of possibility. Certainly, at the time we got Johnny, it was well within the realm. Johnny had been only a few months when we brought him home, a golden retriever; Dad liked big dogs. And he was five now, so my baby brother or sister could have been five...

"Am I wrong?" she asked, interrupting my daydream.

"No," I answered quickly. "Just imagining if I had gotten a new sibling." I smiled at her.

"Very different, no?" she asked with a small chuckle of her own.

"Very different."

"There may be one yet, we still have the future to see." She gestured to the second half of the circle and counted and flipped. The ten of diamonds. "Honors. For school, I believe. You get good marks, do you not?"

I nodded again. "High Bs. Never gotten many As though."

"That may change soon." She counted and flipped. The five of clubs. "A change of location. You will move in the next three years." Again, that was a safe bet; that was when I graduated. So far, so meh.

The Queen of diamonds came up. Miss Terry sat back a little in her chair. "That is an ill-fated card. She brings disaster of some sort." The reader put her hands over her eyes and whispered. Mojo, I thought, fighting a snicker. She pulled her hands down enough to quirk an eyebrow at me. "Have I given you reason to question me?"

I thought about that. No, she hadn't. "I'm sorry, please excuse me." I sat back in my chair and fiddled with my hat, which was on the corner of the table.

Miss Terry covered her eyes again, but not for long. "Physical. You will be in an accident and receive an injury." She was suddenly cold. She hadn't been up until now. I wondered if it was because I'd been rude.

She bent to the cards again and flipped the nine of clubs. She shook her head. "And worse, your family will be torn by it. Many will be hurt as a result of that incident." She didn't slow now, flipping the three of clubs. "Pain. A slow recovery perhaps." She didn't elaborate, continuing. She counted to the last card before the one I had chosen. The king of hearts. She sighed, frowning.
"He brings relief. In this case, an actual person. He will help you emerge from the pain, from the consequences. He will be kind and beautiful. He will be everything you can't imagine now, and everything you will need then."

I tried to imagine this beautiful man, even though she had told me I couldn't. Should I be worried that the last card came so quickly after pain and loss? Did that signifiy something? My death?

Miss Terry squared the three cards carefully before touching the last, the first. "This is how your life began and how it will end." She turned the card over. The queen of clubs. She smiled slightly. "This card is notoriously difficult to interpret. After, all it is both birth and death. When that card is something like the Jack of clubs," she pointed to that card in the circle, "it is easy to say you enter the world as a stranger, but can you leave as one? The Queen of clubs, however... You came with friends and you leave with friends. It is the simplest and easiest of prime cards to decipher. You have many watching over you, Rebekkah. Do not be afraid to embrace them, especially those you do not know are watching. They are strange to you, but they are not strangers. They know you better than you think. Embrace them, you will need them."

I sat silently, looking at the revealed cards. "It's like a clock," I murmured, noticing how the twelve laid out nearly on the hours, with the starting card offset.

"It is," Miss Terry said with a smile. "The past," she swept her arm over half, "the future. Learn from the past, take it into the future."

I looked over the past again, my happy childhood, Jake, Jody, Ernest, Johnny. I had too few friends, I needed to try to make more. I didn't look at the future. She had done a good job of scaring me with that. I had to ask though.

"The pain, the relief, will I die?"

Miss Terry closed her eyes looking down. "I only know what I see. I see a relief that does take you from this world. I'm sorry, child. I hope I am wrong."

"I do too." I put my hat on my head and got out of the chair. "Thank you very much."

"Thank you." She didn't rise to see me out, still gazing at the cards in front of her. I think she was trying to see a way out of the fate she had witnessed for me.

I slipped past the beaded curtain to the doorway I had left my shoes in. The sunlight surprised me. It felt like it should be the dead of night. Somehow that calmed me; it was hard to be scared on a sunny day. It was all a bunch of superstition, I reminded myself.

Kicking my chucks on, I stepped out of the doorway, squinting slightly as I started my trek home. Jody had offered to wait for me, but that seemed silly. A fifty dollar reading should take more than a few minutes, why should she waste the day? So I walked home alone. I couldn't stop thinking about what Miss Terry had said, what she had seen and shown. I stepped off the curb and heard squealing tires.