Chapter 16: Independence Day
Sandy gives Isadora and Carmen exactly one more hour before they leave to go back to Albuquerque. She reminds them that she only had a couple of hours sleep last night and she still has to work tonight. No, they cannot take the train back! No way! The girls have met older boys and one girl from California who are spending the summer traveling the Southwest. Two of the boys are doing this for some type of college credit as interns. The other three boys and girl are three siblings and the girl’s boyfriend from a small town in California. Carmen and Isadora are infatuated with the two brothers, Fred and Frank. The brothers are mostly identical, but Fred is two years older than Frank. Sandy pulls the girls aside at one point to remind them that these boys are considered adults and that the girls are both still fifteen; although today, they could pass for eighteen. It had seemed like such an innocent thing when Sandy agreed Carmen could spend the night on the 3rd and she would drive them to the town south of Albuquerque for a Fourth of July carnival. Sandy had pictured this quaint slice of Americana with two young girls with pony-tailed hair eating cotton candy and playing carnival games. Instead, she woke up to two young women with eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and curled, teased hair wearing short sun-dresses and identical green cowboy boots with white lizards on them. They told her cowboy boots with sun-dresses was the biggest fashion craze and Sandy realized she sounded old telling them it was ridiculous. How could you walk comfortably in cowboy boots? Once at the carnival, the girls had quickly met a seventeen year girl dressed almost identical, but in purple cowboy boots with a pink design, who had introduced them to her brothers and friends. That was hours ago and now Sandy is fatigued with the chaperoning. She is simultaneously amused and dismayed by the look in her daughter’s eyes, by the way she is tossing her hair and coyly looking down at the ground. Where did she learn these things? Sandy wonders if this is her first boy crush or just the first one she has witnessed. The girls are begging for some unchaperoned time. They promise to stay in the tent where local bands are playing. They just want to dance. Sandy thinks her daughter is about to experience her first kiss and her eyes swell with tears. These boys are adults, but not really that much older. She has been impressed with how polite Fred and Frank are. What can happen in an hour in a public place? In the debate in Sandy’s mind she thinks that these kids will be gone Thursday morning. There is no long term romance here. What harm can there be? Sandy agrees to one hour and then they have to leave to return to Albuquerque.
Sandy gets herself a slushy, watermelon drink and walks to the exhibit area of the carnival where jewelry, purses, and art vendors are set up in a line. At a leather vendor she looks at the boots. Boots with sundresses! She wonders if she should buy a pair of bright red boots with green cactus on them. She could wear them to the concert tomorrow night. Sandy’s checking account is a little light, she reminds herself, and she passes. It is the first time she has really thought about her date since accepting the invitation. If she is destined to date a cowboy, she is happy it is one who, instead of being a serious cowboy, is someone who is a tongue in cheek cowboy; someone who laughs at the concept of Cowboys. She had been shy about asking him if he wrote poetry or songs. He is handsome. He is not as handsome as Mike, but he is young and fit. She realizes Mike is texting, as if on cue, and she texts him back that she is spending the day with her daughter and working tonight. He texts that he misses her and it has been a while. Sandy sighs. She looks past the vendors in their row and sees a tent a little bit beyond and in back of the other vendors by itself. She walks over to it.
“Gypsy psychic, palm reading and tarot cards” the sign says. Sandy laughs thinking of the day before and how the medium got at least meeting a man employed with UNM and wearing a cowboy hat right. Of course, she played the odds, with UNM being such a large employer in Albuquerque. The gypsy psychic peeks out of the tent, sees Sandy and walks out. She looks no older than the kids Sandy has been chaperoning all day. Sandy notices that she is wearing hippie sandals instead of cowboy boots. She is dressed in an ankle length sunflower yellow dress. She is wearing no make-up, has very long and straight, straw color hair. She doesn’t look like a gypsy. She looks like she is straight out of Americana. She introduces herself as Gypsy and Sandy asks if that is actually her name.
Gypsy: That’s what my parents named me. I hated them as a teenager for it, but you know, they were the free love bohemian types.
Sandy: How did you become a psychic?
Gypsy: Born into it, but I’m the first one to join a carnival. I’m just traveling around this summer for the experience before I start college, but you can trust me. All the women in my family have had the gift for generations.
There is something Sandy likes about this girl. Besides she is trying to save money for college. Sandy agrees to the cheapest session, a three tarot card reading, but warns Gypsy she had just paid to learn about her past lives yesterday.
They walk into the tent. There is a folding card table with two folding chairs. There are no mirrors, beautiful views, offers of tea, or smell of patchouli. It appears Gypsy had been eating a corn dog at the table and first she needs to clear and clean the table. Sandy smells mustard. She laughs to herself. Her adventures in psychic phenomena! She had started at the hypnotist so serious, but Sandy is having difficulty taking this psychic seriously. Sandy and Gypsy sit across from each other and Gypsy spreads the cards on the table in front of Sandy face down.
Gypsy: I like to use the three card tarot read more for meditation than anything else. You can ask a specific question, but often people are disappointed because this reading isn’t in depth enough to really guide you. But you don’t want to think too general either. Otherwise it’s easy for the cards to be read as generic, for anyone. For instance, if I want to know about a career path, if I want to know if I should take a specific job- that is specific enough for a more detailed reading with more cards. If I think will I have a good career, that is too broad and the reading will be too general. If I think should I pursue a career in music- that is the right amount of specificity for this three card reading. I read for a lot of people my age so career paths are a big topic.
Sandy: Okay. I think I understand.
Gypsy: I believe in the existence of energy of the past, present and future and of all living things. We are each individuals, but we do belong to a greater collective energy. This energy is always trying to guide us- sometimes with large signs and sometimes with small- you might have dreams, or see a pattern in the same symbol showing up in different ways in your life. Most people don’t know how to read the signs or see the patterns. The gift I inherited through the women in my family allows me to see the patterns, but remember you have free will. I don’t really see the future because the future isn’t determined yet, but I can sometimes see how the future might be or what the energy is warning you about in the future.
Sandy: That all sounds pretty mystical.
Gypsy: The belief system of your reader influences the reading. This is why I give these details. Now, the first card you select is sometimes called the past card. I call it the influence card. The past does influence us, but I read for a lot of younger people and it might be their fears or their parents influencing them. The second card is sometimes called the present. I think of it as a crossroads card. It reflects your state of mind. The third card is sometimes called the future, but I call it a path card. Most of us seek psychic intervention because we want to know if we should choose a path or stay on our current path. This card tells you what to consider if you choose or continue on the path you are considering. It tells you what you will encounter. Remember free will. This is why I say use this reading as more meditative than fortune telling.
Sandy likes the approach Gypsy is articulating. In the same way that the hypnotist and clairvoyant calm, modulated voices from yesterday had reassure Sandy, Gypsy’s enthusiasm and lack of calming modulation is reassuring after yesterday’s experiences. Gypsy seems sincere and full of youthful optimism. Gypsy’s belief that life is a big adventure is infectious and appropriate for a Fourth of July carnival setting. Sandy is having fun. It helps that the reading was just $5.
Sandy: So love seems too general a topic, but asking about a specific man would require a more complex reading. I guess I want to know if I have a soul mate or a true love and if I have already met him or will meet him in the near future.
Sandy draws three cards and Gypsy lays them in front of her and sweeps the other cards away. The first card is the picture of the Devil and represents obsession. The second card is the nine of Pentacles and represents discipline and self-reliance. The third card is the Lovers Card. Wow, Sandy thinks, there must be something to this. The reading seems quite clear and appropriate. Yet Gypsy seems to be faltering and having trouble concentrating. Sandy tells her it all makes sense. The obsession card for the past is about her daughter’s father. The self-reliance card is because she has been living a life of arrogant self-reliance. Sandy thinks about the Browning poem again. Sandy says she has never thought about true love until recently. This future card means she should be open to love, right? Gypsy sweeps the cards away. Her forehead wrinkles and she gathers her hair together, holds it in a tail with her left hand and runs her right hand around and down the tail. This is similar to a gesture Sandy and Isadora does in common when they are worried about something. Gypsy opens a large red hemp product bag and pulls out a large candle and matches. She places the candle on the table and lights it.
Gypsy: I am getting very strong psychic energy from you that are beyond this tarot card reading. I need to use the candle to focus the energy to speak to me. (Gypsy stares intently into the candle. Her facial expression is one of bewilderment.)
Sandy: I don’t understand.
Gypsy: Be quiet. I am trying to understand.
Sandy is surprised by being shushed and wonders at Gypsy’s theatrics. This for $5. Suddenly Sandy has a sense of…what? It is a new sensation for Sandy which she cannot name. The background carnival noises from outside seem to disappear. The dry New Mexico air seems to have moisture clinging to it. Gypsy is sweating at her brow. Sandy feels a sense of something portent in the air she had not experienced at the clairvoyant’s. She wants to dismiss it and might be able to later, but in this moment the anticipation of pending revelation is as strong as anything Sandy has ever felt.
Gypsy: People don’t really understand the concept of soul mates. They think of it as a romantic concept- someone you will have a romantic relationship with over several lifetimes.
Sandy: It’s not? (Her voice sounds loud to herself)
Gypsy: Only in the movies. It is more frequent that you have souls attached to yours that you travel with through different life times, but they might be a brother in this life, a parent in the next, a boss or close friend in another.
Sandy: Oh, never a love connection? (Sandy whispers to keep her voice from being loud)
Gypsy: You might have love connections over life times, but in that case the soul mate connection is to teach you something. These are the relationships that are usually the most difficult and challenging. You could love passionately but end in heartbreak. You reconnect only to teach each other lessons.
Sandy: That sounds horrible. (Sandy has found the right volume for her voice but realize her voice is now quivering.)
Gypsy: Eventually you might become Twin Flames. This means you have learned from your past lives. You do have a great romance: the kind of epic, wonderful romance that we all dream about, but so few couples ever achieve with complete connection and happiness. A few souls achieve this with each other after living through several lifetimes of heartbreak.
Sandy: That sounds great. (Sandy closes her eyes. The tall cowboy in the distance had seemed so real.)
Gypsy: But you are only supposed to have it once. Then you are supposed to let go of that soul and begin the path of new learning with other souls. (Gypsy leans and stares at the fame more closely. Her face changes from bewilderment to understanding. She blows out the flame and leans back. Sandy looks at her but Gypsy does not make eye contact. She seems fatigued as if it took too much for her to have seen what she had seen. A solitary tear falls from her eye before she returns Sandy gaze. Gypsy breathes deep, seems to gather energy and sits up straight.)
Gypsy: You and this man are not content with being twin flames in one lifetime. That’s the way it is supposed to work-only once with a great true love- but for the two of you this has not been enough. Your souls have formed a psychic bond that is forcing your paths together. The answer to your question is that you have not already met, but you will within the next two days.
Sandy: (begins to hear the distant sounds of the carnival. The air returns to normal. Sandy feels as if she is emerging from a place she had not known existed) I don’t understand.
Gypsy: It is not the collective energy that drew the two of you together. Your souls simply missed each other. Neither of you are happy in love. To your souls it feels as if you already have been apart so long in this lifetime. It is as if, in your sleep, you sent your souls out into the collective energy searching for each other. I don’t quite understand because it is not supposed to work this way. The free will of your souls have altered your path and fate. The force of how much you have loved each other in a past lifetime is what is drawing you together now. I am so confused and yet it seems so simple really. You love each other. You want to see each other.
Gypsy begins to cry softly and Sandy seeks to comfort her. Sandy finds herself telling Gypsy about the poems coming to her on a blue screen, the poems and songs, and the man holding her in her arms and whispering darlin’. She hasn’t told anyone else. What does it mean? When she meets him will they fall in love? Sandy is sure at this moment that Gypsy has some power of vision.
Gypsy: Your souls are already in love. I don’t know if you are coming together just to see each other one last time or for the rest of this lifetime. It is so unusual. I just can’t see beyond the fact that you will meet within the next two days.
Sandy: I don’t know how you can be sure we will meet if it is not our destiny.
Gypsy: It’s confusing, I know, but it is now your destiny to meet. Your souls have created that shared destiny, but why or what it means? How does your destiny and free will interact in the future…that I couldn’t see no matter how hard I tried. (Gypsy takes Sandy’s hand between her two hands. Sandy’s hand betrays a bit of age wrapped in Gypsy’s youthful hands, but Gypsy seems like an old soul to Sandy now). I had a twin flame in a previous life, but it’s been many lives ago. I wish I could choose to meet him in this lifetime. Even for just a minute. It is so beautiful.
Sandy drives the girls back to Albuquerque. They are sun-burned, tired and distracted. Isadora tells her mom that Frank had kissed her and given her a little tongue, but nothing else happened. Carmen is napping in the back seat. Isadora asks her mother if she can tell her something. Sandy says yes, of course. While she is not sure she wants to hear details related to her daughter’s time with an 18 year old man, she is glad her daughter wants to talk to her. Isadora said when they slow danced she could feel it, you know, it. She said it was a little scary to think she could have that power over a boy. All she had done was dance with him. Sandy looks at Isadora. Isadora said it was scary, but her smile and her face indicates that she is having other emotions as well. Not tonight, Sandy thinks, but this week I need to have a more detailed “talk” with her. Sandy and her mother had never talked about sex. Sandy has already had two sex talks with Isadora. The first was just about basic things when she started menstruating and the second was last year to be sure she knew about safe sex. There was so much more to talk about, though, so much more.
Sandy thinks about Gypsy. They had left each other with a hug. Sandy tries to process the session. The tarot cards had been interesting. What are the odds that randomly pulling cards from a deck could be so right on? She will need to read up on that more. She likes the idea of using them for a meditative purpose. The session could have ended right there. It would have been enough. That would have been her money’s worth. Sandy tries to convince herself now the rest was theatrics and she had been caught up in the moment. She cannot stop thinking, though, about the tall cowboy in the distance. Souls searching in their sleep through the collective energy for the soul they missed? It doesn’t sound like Sandy, but it does sound like the man who wrote the poems and songs. Sandy thinks of Sammy who seems to fit the description provided by the psychic in Santa Fe, but Gypsy said she hasn’t met her soulmate yet, but will in the next two days. Would it have been too easy if the two psychic’s had seen the same thing?
She has little time the rest of the night to think through what Gypsy had told her. She drops the girls off, rushes home for a shower and goes to the bar. Fourth of July is supposed to be slow in a bar due to family time and everyone watching fire-works. She realizes as she walks the few blocks from her condominium to the bar how busy the downtown area is. The bar is packed. The bartender tells her the concert tomorrow night is sold out and the closest is booked solid for two nights with out of town travelers. She looks around and notices groups of twenty something women (wearing that same look of cowboy boots and sundresses) and groups of men of different ages. There is a lot of heavy drinking happening. It has the feel of a night far from routine. She reminds the bartender and wait staff not to over serve and to check IDs. She doesn’t want any fines on her watch. Then, she puts on her apron and begins to pour beer.