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The Medium, Part One

I'm a practiced skeptic... a people reader who once made my living by knowing how magic works and reading the tiniest facial cues to keep myself from being found out. I watch John Edwards and quite often laugh.... there's always an 'A' in the room.

But I also believe in things I don't understand. Consider that the whole world of living things is, essentially, a pulsing, breathing organism, and we are part of that. Consider that their is a large percentage of the human brain that is simply a mystery to modern science- we do not know what it does.

Consider those things, and tell me it's not arrogant to concede willful disbelief in things such as psychics, mediums and clairvoyancy.

***

I saw a medium a week or so ago. It was terrifying, gratifying, made me cry for days and was exactly what I needed. Forgive me while I tell this one in the third person... it's easier.

***

It's a psychic fair at a small suburban club, the kind where you can take you children for dinner in the bistro and only vaguely hear the clanging of poker machines in the background.

Entry is $5 and there are tables set up all through a small auditorium. Some sell incense and oils, books and jewelry, tribal drums and dream catchers. Smaller tables dot the carpeted area in the middle, and seated at each is a seer of some kind... clairvoyants; mediums; tarot; color and number readers; spirit guides; healers and those who claim to read guardian angels.

If you spend enough time and money there, one of them is certain to tell you what you want to hear.

There's a 'show' starting, the kind of psychic show you see on Pay TV... a medium with a microphone and a captivated group of people sitting in front of her. The audience is not huge, but it grows as she speaks. This woman is the one that most people have come here to see, and her four hours worth of $40-for-20-minute bookings are completely filled within 15 minutes of the doors opening.

In the second row of the small crowd sits a tiny woman with dark hair. Her best friend sits next to her, and she has a tiny toddler with pigtails in her hair perched on her lap. In the seat in front of her is a boy, almost four years old and the spitting image of his late father. Both children are behaving extraordinarily well for being so young and having to sit so still, and the woman with the dark hair occasionally passes them snacks, drinks and toys from a gaudy Sesame St bag. She'd rather not have her children here, you can see that on her face, but the need to be her is not so easy to ignore, and her options are limited.

The first ten minutes of the show pass slowly as the medium relays a message from an old man with bowel cancer to his son in law. The woman with the dark hair is barely listening, her foot jiggling against the floor. She has the same feeling she gets when a thunderstorm is due.... there is electricity in the air. Something is about to happen.

"I'm sorry," the psychic on stage interrupts herself from chatting to the son-in-law about how heaven is everything the old man said it would be, "but I have to stop there. I'm choking. There's a man here and there's something around his neck, and this is how he died."

The tiny, dark haired woman feels the storm break and sits up as if a lightning bolt has hit her. She raises her hand, tentatively, as she notices the silence in the rest of the audience.

"I think that may be for me."

"Yes... I think so. There was no note, was there? And who found him? You? You did. Oh my.... you're so tiny. He's showing me that, you tried to help him, and you were so distressed. He says he's sorry, he's so sorry."

The dark haired woman says nothing, but nods occasionally in ascertain to the women's questions. The medium speaks faster, her words tumbling over each other as if she can't keep up with what she's seeing, can't keep up with what needs to be said. As she talks, she gestures behind her, as if that's where the images and messages are coming from.

"He wants you to know he got a good kick up the bum when he got here... an older woman, she gave him a hiding and said "You idiot." But he's OK. And he loves you. He wants you to know that he loves you."

"These are his children, yes? Yes, they are, and yes, they are beautiful! He says that he doesn't feel like he can call himself dad anymore. And he's telling me not to be too graphic, because the little ones are here. He's saying "Quick, make her laugh!" because he hates to see you crying."

"It's important you know... you where his anchor. He loved you, he loved you, he loved you. You showed him what true love was, what it meant to be loved. He adored you. The sun rose and set with you, and he's so sorry for what happened. He was in two minds, and he didn't mean it to go this way."

"And you're not going crazy, he says. He does come and play with your hair at night, you're not imaging it."

At this point the dark haired woman in the audience begins to sob....how many nights has she fallen asleep, positive she's on her way to her own psychosis because she can feel her husbands thick fingers gently unknotting her hair?

At this point, the medium turns to the tiny woman's friend, who is sitting beside her, crying also.

"You knew him well too. He's showing me you're a mother figure to her, you took care of her, and he says thank you. He also tells me you have a few choice words for him, and not to ask you too much about what you think of him right now."

"He wants you to know that he made it to Heaven, he got there... whoever it is that's worried about suicides not going to Heaven, he's telling them to stop worrying. And he had tattoos?" At this point, the medium puts her hand on her chest, over her heart. Ask her about it later, and she would probably not have remembered doing it, it seemed to be such an unconscious gesture. There's no way of knowing what could have been located there. There's also no way of knowing that he died with one tattoo, the one for me, unfinished.

"He wants you to know that he's having his tattoo finished. He's loving it up there. He wants you tell people "Na na, I got here", because it was a running joke during his life that he wouldn't. And he tells me you have a tattoo for him, you got it recently?"

In a daze, the woman in the audience pulls up her sleeve, revealing a brightly colored tattoo that has been entirely hidden by clothing until now.

"Ahhh yes! He loves it. He knows it'll be hard on the next bloke, but he loves it. And that's another thing- there's no jealousy, nothing like that, in Heaven, it's OK."

"He knows you had a few choice words for him too, and that's OK. But he wants to say thank you, thank you so much, thank you for the love."

And with that the medium smiles, and moves onto the next spirit, the next relative, the next message. The dark haired, tiny woman in the audience, she mouths a thank you to the psychic on stage, and then gets up, still blinded by tears, leaving her children in the care of a friend while she sits outside and cries, sucking down a cigarette as if it will be her last one ever.

There's no doubt in her mind what happened. It was all too accurate, too quick. She had not said a word, just nodded and cried. It was more than the words of the medium... she could feel her husband there, hear his tone in this woman's voice.

The dark haired woman feels better than she has in months; but much worse too. It's the feeling of someone being just there, knowing they're there, but they exist behind a pane of glass so thick and heavily tinted you can't see or hear them if you try.

***

The Medium, Part Two? It lives here.

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