Today is Sunday. The sun came out gently and the crisp smell of winter surrounded my home. My neighbors were, for once, quiet. Then, I remembered that someone was coming in today for a morning consult. I had already met her two days ago. I met this lady, whose name I don’t know, when I got home from school and work. She had been getting a tarot reading from my mom and they had finished when I arrived. Immediately I saw that something was amiss. She was upset, tense, and I saw that my mom was exasperated. They said they were waiting for me. Sounded a little creepy and I was surprised.
“What for?”, I asked.
“She wants you to see her.” said my mom.
I then understood that this desperate woman wanted me to give her answers to a problem I knew nothing about. She wanted me to see her. I’ve found in doing this type of work that sometimes people just want that; sometimes people just want to be seen, in all the sense of the word. So, I sat down across from her, looked at her forlorn face, and told her what I saw. It wasn’t hard because my heart went out to her, I felt for her, and as I write this now and think of what happened today, I feel so so sorry for her. See, it is not pity what I feel, don’t misunderstand me, I just wish she didn’t have to experience what she is experiencing. But I understand that it is not my responsibility to solve or fix anything for anyone, simply to wipe the dust off the present.
I told her that she was having a problem with a cellphone. I asked her what it was. She was shocked, her soft brown skin turned pale and she didn’t speak. My mom intervened and told me that they had already discussed that, which I had not heard since I had not been there. The lady suspected that her lost phone was stolen by her boyfriend in order to spy on her. I told her other things, personal and hopefully helpful. I told her of herself, because sometimes the querent, the person seeking the reading, just doesn’t know about himself or herself, and then everything else doesn’t make sense, no matter how simple the issue.
She was happy and impressed with what I told her. I didn’t lie to her or give her false hope. I explained to her that sometimes I have to say harsh things, things people might not want to hear. She understood. And she said she would come back on Sunday, that being today.
So she came today. It all started with a phone call asking us if she could come in sooner, an hour sooner, because she couldn’t find anyone to babysit her daughter. I said okay, ate quickly and got in the shower. It was while I was showering that my mom started knocking on the bathroom door. I let her in and she explained to me that the lady was already here, downstairs, but that she was with her boyfriend. She told me that they both wanted to come in, together. I understood it to mean that they wanted a joint reading. I once thought that joint readings were doable, but after a horrible experience, I realized that it is not. I told my mother that I would not see both of them at once, one at a time. I hurried to get ready and my mom let the lady and boyfriend know.
When I came out of the bathroom, the lady was sitting in the chair. The look on that woman’s face caused my stomach to turn, I felt my gut drop and my heart tense. She was crying, barely, her face almost frozen. And then she said that the boyfriend had followed her here, to my home, and that he was downstairs waiting for her. My mom confirmed and described him as being furious. Then the lady told me that the boyfriend had slapped her, in the middle of the street, slapped her across the face. What could I do? I immediately thought of calling the police. The man was downstairs, right outside my door, and this woman was in my living room, silent.
“Take your jacket off.” I told her in an effort to make her comfortable. What could I do? I kept asking myself, what can I do?
We had a small conversation, broken, only phrases and words. Then her phone rang. It was the boyfriend. I heard his voice coming from the cellphone even though it wasn’t on speaker. His voice was mean, heavy, and he demanded that she go downstairs.
“I’m just going to go and see what he wants.”
“Okay.” Again, what could I do? I told her that he could not come in. I said to her, moments after she had arrived, “I don’t know him, but he cannot come in. I do not want him in here.”
She went down the stairs and I heard the apartment door open. Then I heard their hushed voices. Then it went quiet. I heard her footsteps coming back up the stairs. The front door was left open, and then I saw the piece of shit on the last step of my stairs. She sat back down next to me and I said to him, “Woa, señor, nobody gave you permission to come in. You cannot be here.” He laughed and was about to step further into the living room, “No, do not take another step forward. From that point you do not pass.” I hate men like him and I know how to deal with them. “I give you ten seconds to leave this place or I will call the police.” He laughed slightly and kept asking the lady for a picture.
“Where’s the photo?”
I started my countdown, “Ten, nine, eight,” and he spoke to her, asking to search her bag for a photograph of himself.
My mom started to panic, but I continued my countdown. “Seven, six, five, four.” I stopped my countdown when he started to go down the stairs. Dick.
We told this lady that she had to go. As kindly as we could, we kicked her out. I followed her downstairs to close and lock the door, and the boyfriend kept asking for a photograph of himself. He thought she had come here to have us do magick against him. He thought we were going to use his image to do something to him. Dude is crazy, I thought.
They kept talking and arguing outside of my place. At one point, he grabbed her by the hair, gently pulling on it. I can’t help but think that I should have done something more. What could I do? It is the question I keep asking myself. She didn’t say anything, she didn’t say, “I don’t want to go with him.” Had she said that, I would have said, “Okay, you can stay and we’ll wait for him to leave. Maybe call someone to come and help you.” But she opened the door. She literally opened the door for him to come in, after I had told her I did not want him in here, that he was not allowed in here. She let him in and let him come upstairs. What could I do? I cannot make her get help. I wish she hadn’t left with him.
It’s funny, thinking of how I reacted to this situation. I won’t lie, my voice trembled and my bones shook inside of me when I saw him at the edge of my living room. It brought back memories, seeing this angry and threatening man standing nonchalantly, speaking down to a battered woman. It brought back memories. But throughout high school I had to deal with disrespectful guys, either friends or classmates, and even recently in college and at work; and the countdown has always been effective and I always follow through with my warnings.
I have decided that if anyone is going to receive a reading it will be at a higher price. Friends tell friends, and every once in a while I do these readings, but I am raising my prices. I hope I never have to deal with anything like this again.
After they left, my mother and I, we were shaken. It was like watching an explosion, wanting to stop the explosion, to avoid it from happening, but then considering your own personal safety. If you touch the fire, you will get burnt. It felt like that. Although I was slightly nervous, we both kept thinking that the man might come back and knock on the door, I thought and felt. I felt what my home suddenly felt like; unsafe and intruded.
Photo Credit: Melissa Portan