from Chapter One
MY FRONT room has 122 hardwood planks that makeup the floor. It’s an exact count. Precise. Some planks in the collection have ripples, and all have the patina of wood that’s a hundred years old.
Dining room’s next. It was yesterday, and I was more than halfway through the inventory of floor planks there when the phone rang. Dratz.
It had been a difficult count because of the interruptions. I should have marked the planks that I’d counted to help me stay on target. The living room had taken a week and a half, and the dining room was going to be as big a problem. Why do I need this information? Who the heck knows.
The call was for a tarot reading, and they were happy to do everything by phone. It was my only business yesterday, and I was happy to get the work. She wanted to know about somebody her daughter was dating.
First came the Five of Pentacles crossed by the Four of Pentacles. Ick.
“Get a prenup,” I told her.
“He seems so lovely,” she said.
Then why the Sam Hill did you friggin’ call me, lady? I thought to myself.
“Yes ma’am,” I said into the phone, trying to make it sound like I was smiling pleasantly.
Yeouch. Can I file for Workman’s Compensation when I bite my tongue? I thought.
“What do you see?” she asked me with a kind of British accent. I don’t think it was an upperclass accent, more like something you’d find from a blue collar woman. I don’t even know if British workers have blue collars. Maybe I’ll be curious enough to look that up some day. Not.
“The cards say there’s something about treasure,” I told her. “There’s struggle combined with not sharing. It says stinginess is some kind of issue in there.”
“Well, you’ve been right before,” she said grimly.
Keep that in mind, lady.
“It certainly puts me into a pickle jar,” she added. Ick. I can already smell the vinegar.
A few bucks that day from a phone call. That was it, and the credit card company was going to get its greedy claws into most of my profit. What’s most tragic is that the call made me lose track of my count on the floor. I was in danger of not knowing how many planks were in my dining room. I started the count again.
I counted planks on the floor of the dining room because there was no tarot business, and that was how it was at Brent Tarot yesterday.
Last week I played hide-and-seek with a squirrel in the front yard. Freakin’ squirrel knew he was faster than me and taunted me forever. Squirrels laugh and bark, you know. He didn’t take our hide-and-seek as seriously as I thought he should. Bloomin’ squirrel.
“Click, click,” the squirrel barked. I think that means neener-neener in squirrel’eze. Lame street squirrel: no proper squirrel would click like that.
“Don’t shake that tail at me,” I warned him.
“Click, click,” the squirrel repeated.
Some days I can do all sorts of things as I wonder how I’m going to pay the rent and keep the lights on. Those days are nothing but dust on my tarot cards.
Oh, for the quiet— that was then. Today’s like a bunch of drunken gnomes who congregated and brought out stacks of boxes and bags, each with a lifetime supply of wrinkly torment and sleazy mischief. Hey, Louie, let’s go to Brent’s place… They went down to the U-Store-It and retrieved a bunch of dusty shenanigans they hadn’t used in years, and they mushed it at my face like a mudpie. And then they got on the gnome-phone to summon all of their astral agitators and troublemakers to come invent whole new ways to keep me at a motocross pace. My tarot readings were on a double black diamond pathway with blind curves and moguls.
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s mystical moguls.
I was slammed, and the readings were all complicated or full of drama. It was so hectic that I had to turn people down who wanted me to do readings. That means I was turning away income, and I hate doing that. Some were regulars who’d be okay with a phone reading that evening.
What the hell is in freakin’ retrograde? I asked myself. Everybody wanted time with the sage. That’d be me. Brent and his Tarot. And everybody’s drama was sensitive and tangled and bizarre.
The crazy thing is that the whole day was nothing but an overture for my last two clients. The universe stored a couple of lollapaloozas for its great finale. Note to self: next time the universe gangs up with all its gnomes and salamanders, run like hell and take a job putting price stickers on bananas or running the machine that creates those brightly colored thumbtacks. Anything but tarot around these demented people with their unruly souls.
My next-to-last reading would be a total nightmare. The woman was in a foul mood. She had one of those spirits that dripped angst, and I tried to figure out how to lay out a metaphysical drop-cloth so cleanup would be easier. She brought an emotional stench to it that stunk up my entire house. She buzzed and radiated her problems so the drama oozed into every crack in my front room. A hundred year old house has plenty of cracks and hiding places for spiritual gunk, so it was going to take me forever to get rid of her ooze. I was going to have to wash the draperies in frankincense or burn them in myrrh.
Her emotional baggage smelled like corpse flatulence. No kidding. And if you can’t smell somebody’s foul temper, thank every one of your gods and goddesses. Hire a whole new crew of guardian angels just so you can thank them too.
Oh, and she had all the answers, so I didn’t really know why she came for a reading. The woman had ‘tude for days, snapping around with a frazzled soul that looked like hair that’s been bleached a few too many times. The edges of her aura were actually frayed and flapping around in the astral breeze. Ick.
Corpse flatulence is an unmistakable aroma that linkers for weeks in your memory.
I commiserated with her spirit guides halfway through the reading. She’d exhausted me in just a few minutes, and they got her all day every day.
I’d turn over a card, and she would launch out into some tirade about this or that. On a good day, I’d just smile and think about her money. When the LOVERS card popped up, she lit into her daughter who’d gotten pregnant by a Latino boy. She had issues with Latino boys, and she wasn’t the slightest bit concerned that I didn’t appreciate racist tirades. I wanted her to stop, but I didn’t want her to get so mad that she’d leave without paying.
The Nine of Pentacles threw the old biddy into a storm of vitriol over her son.
“See,” she said. “He’s hogging all his money.”
“I see all those coins as being a token,” I told her.
“Token for what?” she said in a huff. “It’s money! They’re coins.” They’re pentacles, woman. Do your own reading, if you’re such an expert,
“Well,” I said, “money’s a token you get in exchange for your life’s work. All these cards usually are tokens for something, but it doesn’t have to be wealth. Five pointed stars on each coin can be people. Five points is like a head, two arms, and two legs. It can be treasure, but it doesn’t have to be money. The nine card shows a lot of those tokens. To me, it can mean gratitude.” You’d need a six pointed star because you have two heads.
“My son just moved in with his boyfriend,” she screeched. “Boyfriend!”
We didn’t even get to the boyfriend’s race. He might have been Latino, too. She was stuck on his gender and the body parts he was undoubtedly sticking into her son. The boyfriend might be fondling and stroking her son’s parts. Who knew the Nine of Pentacles was loaded with such intrigue? It’s a lovely card usually, very grounded.
“Marriage?” she sneered. “They invited me to their wedding. Of all the disgusting— .”
I didn’t see a connection between the nine card and the son’s new boyfriend, so all the wheels fell off my reading somewhere. Get off The Lovers card, woman. We’ve moved on. We’ve turned over other cards.
It could be a reminder that we should have gratitude (nine) for the choices (Lovers) we make. That’s an interpretation that fits into my world view, but I wasn’t going to try to get the lady to understand subtle concepts such as gratitude. Anyway, the Lovers was already… wait, the daughter and her boyfriend… the son and his boyfriend. All her children had found mates, and it was time for the woman to make her own life choices (Lovers). The card were saying the woman should be happy for her children. Okay, I’m better now. Cards win again! Gosh, they’re smart about stuff.
Poor, unfortunate woman: I felt sorry for her. I felt sorrier for the kids. I wanted to feel sorry for them all at some great distance, but she was paying to be close to me. I always set a little timer on tarot readings, because I can lose track of time. A client wants one hour, so I try not to spend all afternoon on the reading because my other clients want my time too. The timer conspired to tick slower than usual. I stared at it’s digital display counting down in slow motion. I threatened it: Tick faster or I’ll feed you to those cheeky squirrels outside! It didn’t listen.
I wanted to run outside and shake my fist at the heavens and order the earth and planets to spin faster. Let’s get a move on. That woman’s making me nuts.
The Seven of Swords card reminded her of her husband.
“He’s cheating on me,” she said.
Yeah, well I would too, Lady, I thought, visualizing her with a hat made of pistachio ice cream. I added a lovely pair of popcorn earrings for good measure.
“Okay, that’s your time, ma’am,” I said, not wanting to give her any free minutes.
“But what should I do about Lory?” she snapped. The pregnant daughter. Back to reality. The pistachio hat would have to hang on a few minutes longer.
“Does she want to marry the baby’s father?”
“Then be happy for her,” I shrugged. “Be the best grandmother you can be.”
She didn’t like my answer, but the timer told us that her time was up. You get up on the wrong side of your broom?
“See the eight of swords here?” I said, pointing to an upside down card, as my timer continued to beep. “It’s reversed. You feel like you’re trapped now, but seeing the card upside down tells me that it’s all in your imagination. You can break out of it if you want.”
She just stared at me for a minute while the timer beeped. Then she put my money on the table and walked out the screen door without saying a word, without giving me a tip. Bless her heart, I thought, and it was the kind of blessing that told the Lords of Karma that I was washing my hands of the woman. They could do whatever they wanted because I had blessed her and released her.
Harm ye none, I thought. I know the rules, but it didn’t stop me from giving the Lords of Karma permission to swoop down with a much-needed course correction. I really thought she could use a smoke, but it’s not my place to suggest pharmaceutical remedies of murky legality.
The whole room was all buzzy with her energy. Some people come by and dump all their psychic tar in my home, and they just assume that’s okay. Just because they pay me for a reading, they think they can jettison all the sludge from their life. I have to clean it up.
The room felt awful. I was depressed just walking around, but I had to act fast because I had another reading. One more reading and the day would be over. Yippie.
I had to get ready for that last reading. I didn’t want to do another reading, but I had rent and insurance and utilities. I have a kind of routine between readings because I’ve been doing this for years.
First, the cards. They were ruined for the day.
“Sorry, guys,” I told the cards. “We’ll get you cleaned up.”
I have an alabaster box that I use to clean tarot decks full of gunk. It gets rid of all kinds of ethereal detritus, and it works great for me. It’s like dipping white cotton in a bowl of bleach. Die, metaphysical ickiness.
I was wishing I could just put my whole house into my box, but the box was too small or the house was too big. Is there some magical property with alabaster? Heck if I know, but a few hours in that box seems to get my cards back to a neutral state. It’s probably just my imagination, and that’s fine. I don’t care how the box works: it just works. I needed to get all of that hateful racist’s crap off my deck of cards. I gathered up the tarot cards and carried them to the kitchen and put them in the box. I washed my hands with cold water, hoping to get all that woman’s emotional phlegm off me. Skin holds onto psychic cooties, but cold water sends everything down the drain.
She could call for another reading, but I decided that I’d be busy that day. Whatever day she wanted to come back, I was going to be busy.
That’s so not like me, but she was a vile crank.
I picked up one of the fresh decks I keep in the kitchen, the Hanson-Roberts deck. I put it back down. I was not in the mood for fluffy bunnies today; not after that last reading. Maybe a goth deck. Maybe something with dripping blood and gore and goblins and banshees and scalawags. Attack of the Major Arcana: film at eleven.
There’s a blank deck in my collection. It’s really for making your own tarot cards, but I always wanted to use the blank deck for a reading. The backing looks like any tarot deck, but the front of each card is blank. If I’m really psychic, then I shouldn’t need pictures. Right? I’m not really psychic, so it’s just my little joke.
I grabbed two decks: Morgan-Greer and Yeager.
Yeager isn’t as traditional as my regular Rider-Waite cards. I love the Yeager tarot, and I needed to be around something pleasant after spending an hour with that horrible woman. People who come for readings expect a tarot deck that looks like a tarot deck. Yeager doesn’t. It’s sensuous and sexy and lush and comforting without resorting to fluffy bunnies and pretty cherubs. Yeager is the deck I use when I’m by myself. It’s a wonderful deck but hard to find. Each card is almost square, not rectangular like most decks. I protect my Yeager cards because they’re almost impossible to replace these days. I think older versions are sexier. Somebody made the artist tone things down at some point. It was surely a prude at U.S. GAMES, the publisher of most decks.
Yeager was going to sit on the table and be my companion at the next reading. Yeager cards are so adorable that they’d distract me too much to do a reading with them. I’d be quite happy just knowing that Yeager was nearby.
Morgan-Greer would be the deck to use. It’s a little plain, but it has nice artwork. The lads pictured are cute. That racist put me off Rider-Waite for the rest of the day. Morgan-Greer was a prettier Rider-Waite, and I could use prettier. I wondered if there was room to add “adult day care” to my sign out front.
Goddam day care.
Next to prepare: the main room. I had to banish that woman’s spiritual mucus. That part was fairly easy: smudge. I can light a leaf of dried white sage and walk around to clear any space. There’s something about the smoke from smoldering white sage that sends energy scurrying for safety. Whatever a room feels like, smudging gets rid of it. It’s like creating a kind of cosmic vacuum. White sage doesn’t fill up a space with little cherubs singing Kumbaya. It would get rid of them too. Burn, little cherubs. You and your nasty little Kumbaya. Death to the fluffy bunnies. White sage gets rid of everything, and a blank slate is what I needed. The alabaster box leaves things nice and smooth, while white sage just leaves things empty.
“Brent Tarot,” I said into the phone. If the caller wanted to get a reading, it would have to be another day.
“It’s Carmella from MysticWays.com,” she said. I buy some of my oils and incense from them. “I’m returning your call. Tell me, how’s my favorite wholesale customer?”
“I’m your only wholesale customer.”
It’s true. Mystic Ways does retail, but they let me slide through at wholesale prices because I buy things every week. Everything really is for resale, so they’re okay with it.
“I got a customer,” I told her.
“Just the one, dear?” Carmella asked.
“One of many,” I said. “I’m what the universe uses when it needs a prototype for New Age retail.”
“Congratulations,” she interrupted.
“Funny. My customer has a hankerin’ for dragons blood.”
“Does a kilo satisfy such a hankering?” she asked.
“Make it two,” I said. “And who do I need to sleep with to get that shipped out today?”
“That would be me, dear,” Carmella said.
“I’m gay, Carmella. Does that matter?”
“Not to me, sweetie.”
“We are here to serve, dear,” she said in a playfully mocking voice like she was reading it from a script. “Same shipping address?”
“Which credit card do you want to use?” she asked.
“Yours,” I said. “Can we put it on your card?”
“Don’t make me go get that box of druid badness that I keep for deadbeat wholesale customers.”
“Yes, ma’am. Let’s use my MasterCard you got on file,” I told her.
“Yup. Anything else?” Carmella asked.
“Well, I was thinking…” I said.
“I’ve warned you about that,” she needled.
“I know,” I said. “You what? Never mind about that. Do you still have ceramics?”
“Some, check the website and let me know what you want.”
That’s one hell of a New Age store, or at least Carmella is one hell of a sales maven.
I lit a leaf of dried white sage and then blew out the flame. Smoke rose from the leaf, and I waved my free hand to send the smoke around.
I was whistling Kumbaya as I walked through the room with my smoldering sage leaf when I heard him singing on the porch: “Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya.”
“Sorry,” I said through the screen door.
When I turned around, I saw him. I almost had a heart attack. The most studly spectacular gorgeous hunk in the whole and entire world was standing outside my front door, and he was serenading me through the screen. He instantly owned my every breath and controlled every beat of my heart.
“I have an appointment,” he said.
“Babble, bah, buuu, babble,” I think I said. How can I carry on a conversation with this guy? There’s no way for me to concentrate.
This guy would be beyond eye candy, if I could get through the reading without having a stroke. I’d probably fall down with the vapors, with foam coming out my nose.
Swarthy and mysterious with a stubble beard and a smile that made me want to get sunglasses.
I wouldn’t mind gazing into his exotic eyes for fifty minutes. Bedroom eyes, if I’m not mistaken. Sparkly and dark, framed by an almost black eyelash. Come fuck me eyes. Mmmm.
So out of my league. He didn’t look European descent, but I couldn’t place his ancestors. He was on the dark side but didn’t appear Mexican or African, and I doubted he came from India. He was from some kind of perfect breeding stock.
I was going to have to wipe lots of drool off my tarot deck later.
“Takoda,” he said.
“North or South?” I said.
“Funny,” he chuckled. “North Takoda: I get it. Hey that’s the first time I heard that one.”
Oh, Takoda is his name. Stupid Brent. Stop insulting the gorgeous hunk.
“First time today,” I said meekly, feeling every inch of my stupidity.
“It’s Sioux,” he said. “And I’ve heard all the courtroom jokes about that too.”
“No Sioux jokes then. Boy named Sioux?”
He shook his head and grinned. Melt. And I thought the package couldn’t get better, but his grin lit up my room.
“Hi, I’m Brent,” I said, proving to the universe that I have thousands of awesome lines of banter to use in the presence of one of their gods.
“Cool, since your sign says ‘Brent Tarot’ I sort of figured, but it could have been a lucky guess.”
“Gorgeous and cheeky,” I said.
“White sage,” he observed. “Is that a hint of Nag Champa in the background?”
“It is. You want me to light another punk?”
Incense punk for my afternoon hunk. Mmmm.
There are a couple of other things he could light too.
“Here, let me,” he said as he took a stick of Nag Champa out of its box on my tarot table. He lit it and put it into one of the zillion incense holders I keep around.
When Takoda had the incense burning, I walked up and stood in front of him. It’s not my normal routine, but I took both his hands and let myself feel his energy engulf the room. The nice thing about white sage is that it creates such an energy vacuum that any new astral force will rush in. I wanted to bottle what Takoda was oozing.
Sioux energy, if that’s what I was feeling, was amazing. He just about knocked me over like a Van de Graaff generator or Tesla coil. There’s little chance I can maintain my serenity for the entire reading.
Takoda did such a number on me that I knew I couldn’t do a reading. My heart was racing. My blood-pressure was pegging. My pants were getting tighter and tighter from the growth down there. Ouch: crotch pinch.
Seven, eight, nine, ten. I breathed deeply and exhaled slowly. Takoda did the same. I squeezed his hands, and he squeezed back. He was calming his mind for a reading. I’ve done so much tarot that I usually don’t have to do the deep breathing before I start. Takoda made me get back to the basics just because of the way I was reacting to him.
What lovely pheromones, you have, I thought.
Stop! I was about to cum in my pants. Very professional, Brent! Shame on you, Brent.
“Sit,” I said as I stepped back. Maybe if I stick to short one-syllable words, I won’t embarrass myself too much.
I thought most Native Americans had round faces and strong noses, but Takoda’s face was long and angular. His skin was dark like I’d expect from an American Indian, but his face wasn’t what I’d expect. He had a beard that was short stubble, like he wanted to look like he just didn’t shave for the day.
He was making me change all my preconceived ideas about Native American men.
“Yeager,” he observed. “Sweet.”
“Wow, you’re probably the only person in this zip code who recognizes Yeager tarot.”
“I use it for meditation,” he said.
“Complete wow,” I glowed. “Me too. We’ll be using Morgan-Greer for the reading. I never did a reading with Yeager.”
“Could be interesting,” he said with a wide grin. Was that a sparkle coming off one tooth? The goddess is into special theatrical effects now?
“Maybe next time. Here,” I said as I pushed the Morgan-Greer deck toward him. “Shuffle. Add your energy.”
He shuffled. I watched. Adored. Fantasized.
“That’s interesting,” he said when he saw the first card. It was the Page of Wands. It’s one guy in a bowler hat, holding a big wand. I wanted to hold this guy’s wand, but that wasn’t on the agenda. In the Rider-Waite deck, the lad is obviously on a flat plain or desert. Most decks have the same kind of image. Morgan-Greer’s drawing is a little different, but Rider and Greer both do a young man holding a big stick. Greer does a close-up, so it’s hard to know that. You just have to know your decks. He’s in a yellow shirt or smock or something, and yellow makes me think of intellect. The Page cards usually mean change of some sort. I put the Page in the middle of the table and turned over the next card.
The Tower. Dratz.
People hate the tower. It’s big and mean. There’s fire and smoke and lightening bolts. People are flying out of its tiny windows.
“I used to hate that card,” Takoda said. “Then I realized I was identifying with the human bodies.”
“You’re the tower, and you’re being cleansed.”
He nodded. It’s great doing a reading for somebody who’s been around tarot. Only people who’ve spent lots of time around tarot cards would know that. He knows the cards and could probably do his own reading, but he came to me. I had to pay attention. You can’t slack through a reading when the client knows the cards.
I saw a tear in his eye so I stopped and sat quietly. I was waiting for some signal from Takoda that I could go on.
“My lover died,” he said.
“Sorry,” I said, wanting to kick myself for not having something better to say. I reached across the table and put my hands on top of his.
“It was a year ago,” he cried. “Tower card tells me to let him go. Right?”
“Maybe, but I don’t think The Tower casts off loved ones by throwing them out windows,” I whispered. “Tower card speaks to you here. All I got’s opinion.”
We just sat there for ten or fifteen minutes. He stared at the two cards on the table. I stared at Takoda. He didn’t seem to want to continue the reading, so I quietly turned off the timer.
There’d be no payment for this reading, and that isn’t like me. The universe has to stay in balance, so Takoda would eventually have to do something for me as payment for my services. He’d probably offer money for this session, but I knew we weren’t going to finish the full spread of cards. He might insist. I just wanted to be there for him because I knew it was the right thing to do.
AIDS has taken so many men. I don’t know how I’d react, but I knew it must have been hard on Takoda. So sad. I almost started crying to think that Takoda might be infected like is late lover.
“He fought cancer for so long,” Takoda said.
“KS?” I asked. That’s the AIDS cancer.
“No, not HIV,” he said. “Brain cancer.”
“I am so sorry, Takoda.”
“We thought we had it whooped,” he whispered, “but it kept coming back. He was in so much pain, and there was nothing I could do.”
“Were you with him?”
“Then you did what a lover is supposed to do.”
“But he died,” Takoda cried.
“He crossed over to someplace,” I said softly. “We all do that. Every one of us. It’s part of living.”
Cancer but not HIV-related. That doesn’t make it any easier on my new friend, of course. It’s still cancer. It’s still the death of a young man. A man in his twenties shouldn’t have to bury a lover, regardless of what took him. It made me so sad for Takoda, and it was obvious he was fighting to hold on to Rune. His faintly brown aura told me that Takoda was hurting. His psyche was a mess, according to the blobs of gray in his body’s energy. Poor guy wasn’t this bad when he walked into my house for the reading, but his spirit was crumbling right before me. I was glad we stopped the reading because it was obviously not doing him any good. We could finish it later, but the reading served as a kind of astral triage. I had to get my client into metaphysical intensive care.
His aura was so dim and small that I had to go back to the basics of seeing spiritual colors. I looked at the wall about a foot to the left of his head, and that’s the only way the aura finally came into view. It was faint and dull, with wavy lines like warm car hood makes on a cold day. At first I didn’t see any colors, but I kept my eyes on the wall and that awful brown started to make itself known. Gray blotches came later. Takoda needed help, maybe more help than I could offer. But I had to try.
The sun was making the main room darker by the minute. I lit a candle.
“Wait here,” I said as I got up to go into the kitchen. I got Takoda a glass of water, and I brought back a box of my private spiritual goodies.
“Thanks,” he said as he took the water. “Sorry. I don’t usually cry like that.”
“Shhh,” I said. “Come sit with me.”
We walked to some pillows on the floor in the corner of the main room, and I closed the front door and turned off my “OPEN” light. Takoda took his glass of water. I took my box of spiritual goodies and the candle. When he was comfortable, I rummaged around in the box. It was just dark enough that I had to hold the box near the candle.
“Ah, there you are,” I said to two pieces of silver yarn. I tied them together loosely.
We sat quietly. Takoda was crying gently. He was so adorable, even through the tears. I loved how he wasn’t afraid of looking tender and lonely. Takoda obviously missed his lover a lot.
“What was his name?” I asked.
“Rune,” he said.
“No, he was Swedish.”
“Well, you obviously have great taste in men,” I said. “I’m Swedish too, or so I was told.”
That got a grin.
“Okay, here’s what I want you to do. Take this yarn.”
He took it, and I closed his fingers around it.
“There are two pieces,” I told him. “One is you, and the other is Rune. Hold them as long as you want. I’ll be here all night if you want. When you’re ready to say Goodbye, untie the two pieces.”
“Silver string?” he said.
Takoda looked confused.
“I think this may be an old Native American ritual. The point is that Rune needs his freedom. He can’t go where he’s supposed to be while you hold on so tightly. You’ll always remember, but you have to let him go. When you untie the yarn, say Goodbye to Rune. The two pieces of yarn are in a knot, like you’re holding onto Rune. That’s been okay up to know, but you need to let him go. Lovingly, but you need to release Rune to go on.”
He was crying when I got up.
“Why silver?” he asked.
“Halfway between white and black. It isn’t good or bad. It isn’t on or off. It is what it is.”
He nodded. I really didn’t know why silver to tell you the truth, but Takoda didn’t need to know that.
“Remember everything you guys did together,” I said softly. “Remember the sights and sounds and smells. Be grateful for the time you had. Be happy. Be sad. Remember. It’s your last time together on this plane, but he needs his freedom. He needs your permission to move on and complete the cross over. You’ll always carry him in your heart… your memory… but Rune needs to move along. When you undo the knot, see Rune crossing over. It’s all mystical and wonderful in its own way. The knot is the symbol of you letting Rune continue what you both know he needs to do. It really is a wonderful experience. Take as much time as you need. A minute… an hour… all night… it’s up to you. When you and Rune are ready, untie the yarn and watch him rise into the light.”
Takoda nodded as he stared at the knotted yarn.
I quietly moved to the far side of the room as he sat quietly.
I sat on the floor against the far wall and let Takoda say farewell to his lover. He never moved. He’d smile and cry. He held the yarn tightly in a fist. Minutes became hours.
The next thing I knew it was morning. I’d fallen asleep.
Takoda was gone. There were two separated pieces of yarn on the tarot table. He left me two hundred dollar bills and a note: “Thank you for letting the old ones speak through you. And loving from your heart.”
“Wow,” I said to the separated yarn as I put them into my alabaster box for cleaning. Two hundred dollars: the universe was in balance. Maybe Takoda understands about energy exchanges.
He’d put a blanket over me before he left, and he locked the front door on his way out.
“That was epic,” the universe seemed to say.
“Thanks, guys,” as I put the Morgan-Greer deck on top of the two separated yarn pieces in my alabaster box. The deck felt wonderful, so the box’s job of scrubbing would be simple. I could almost use the deck as-is, but I didn’t want to cross-pollinate my readings.