Last week, a friend of Cora’s read our auras for us from the backseat of Cora’s car. She told Cora hers was deep red. Mine was emerald green. “I just see people as colors,” Cora’s friend told us. As a child, my grandmother always told me my aura was indigo. The last time a psychic tried to see it, she’d told me it was non-existent, black. At that point in time, I was practically on the streets in Brooklyn, high as the stratosphere most days and blacked out like a winter sky most nights. The last psychic Cora and I went to see didn’t say anything about my aura. Instead, she focused more specifically upon my spiritual past.
Cora and I had gone down to Georgetown that night to get hamburgers at this spot Cora really likes. She considers herself a hamburger connoisseur, and thus far, she’s proven herself right. While we were eating, we thought it might be nice to go see Disney’s Maleficent that night. Both of us are huge fans of that particular character, and the idea of a whole movie dedicated to the wicked sorceress was very enticing. However, the only show we could get tickets to didn’t start for another three hours. We decided it was time for us to visit the psychic we’d been talking about going to since we first started dating.
One night, very early in our relationship, our entire date turned into an attempt to discover the best psychic in Dupont Circle, but we never found one who was still open and available. We decided the universe had determined that wasn’t the right night for us to visit a psychic at all.
In Georgetown, as soon as we made up our minds, we walked right past a billboard stating there was a “psychic upstairs.” When we buzzed her door, she told us to go get some cash and come back in a half an hour. That’s exactly what we did. We sat outside her door until she came out and asked who wanted to go first. Cora did. She’d never been to see a “real” psychic before. While I visit psychics as often as a lapsed Catholic goes to church. They’re the religion I grew up with as a child. Like with any childhood religion the world has destroyed for you, I don’t believe in them anymore, but I can’t shake the notion that what they say very well may be true. Whenever I’m at a crossroads in life, I always wind up getting my tarot cards read.
Cora came out of the psychic’s with a dazed look in her eye. It was my turn. In the low, somber light of red bulbs and beaded table cloths, the psychic read my cards. But it was one question she asked about my past that proved the most compelling. Midway through our session, she turned to look me straight in the eye and said, “Now, tell me about the Satanism.”
I admitted it was something that had attracted me as a child. I’d been hurt by my parents’ divorce and wanted revenge upon the entire world.
“You awoke some very dark forces with that,” she said to me. “They still cling to you today.”
I was stunned. How could she have known about my history with black magic just from looking at me and flipping over some cards. When I left, Cora asked, “So what did you think?”
“That was weird,” I said. “I think she might really be psychic.”
“I know. I thought that, too,” Cora said. She told me what the psychic had revealed about her, that she wants lots of kids (“But ten is too many,” the psychic had admonished her. Apparently, to Cora’s nervous laughter since that’s a secret fantasy Cora has kept hidden from almost everybody), that she was born in the winter and she’s very close to her family. But the thing that really shook me is the psychic also told Cora she’s a warm, happy soul and I’m much too dark a figure for her to ever be happy with.
At Cora’s last week, after we dropped off her friend who read our auras for us, we started doing some research of our own.
“So what do you think? Are you emerald green or indigo?” Cora asked me, our phones still in our hands open to various psychic websites.
I shrugged. “Indigo sounds like me when I was younger. I can see how I’d be emerald now. I’ve heard auras can change color over time.”
“What are indigos supposed to be like?” Cora asked.
“They were a big deal in the seventies. Practically every kid was an ‘indigo’ child, fresh out of somewhere and brand new to this plane, the harbingers of some future world,” I said.
“That makes sense. You seem like a new soul.” Cora laughed. “I think I’m an old soul.”
“Oh, really?” I smiled. “I don’t even know what all that means.”
“Well, let’s look it up,” Cora said. She found this website that, as far as I could tell, equated the age of a human soul with some physical variant.
“That’s bull shit,” I scoffed.
“What’s bull shit?” Cora asked.
“The way they talk about souls. There’s no linear progression to the soul.”
“I don’t think that’s quite what they’re saying, Gabriel.”
“That’s not what I learned in my psychosis.”
“What?” Cora wondered with a shake of her head.
I tried laughing my statement off. “I mean, what I believed when I was in psychosis was that souls were eternal and that I’ve returned from somewhere else to teach this plane something. I’m not brand new here, but now I’m stuck. And the problem is no one’s listening. How am I supposed to teach people who think they already know everything?”
“What are you talking about, Gabriel?”
I grew serious again, “I know it sounds crazy, and I know that what happens to me in psychosis isn’t real, but for years, my spirituality, my whole life, was based on it. Even before I ever had a psychotic break. My first break… I’d been pushing myself so hard to it, trying to discover what exists on the other side. And then, after this last break in Richmond, I pretend like none of it’s real. Because that’s the only way I can live in this world – to believe that everything that formed my spiritual existence simply can’t be true, which means everything I ever believed is worthless. So what’s left? Atheism? Nihilism?”
“I don’t think I understand, Gabriel.”
I looked at her. She could tell I was angry for some crazy reason, and she could tell I was hurt by an even crazier reason. She wanted to understand what I was talking about so madly so badly. I slid closer to her on the couch and put my arm around her shoulder. I softened my tone. I could feel my eyes open up from angry slits. “That’s okay,” I said. “I don’t really want you to. I’m sorry I got all worked up. That was crazy. Truth is if I wanted to live in a psychosis, I never would have come off the streets. I never would have gotten clean again. I wouldn’t be working the job I have today, and I’d be incapable of trying to build a relationship with you. My psychosis is the world I lived in for 15 years, and I simply can’t live there anymore. Sometimes, that really hurts.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever understand, Gabriel.” Cora looked at me. “Is that okay with you?”
“Yeah, it is,” I said. “In fact, not understanding that piece of me is probably the best thing both of us could ever hope for.”
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