I wanted crystal balls. I wanted tea leaves. I wanted scarves and draped layers of (ideally velvet) clothing. I wanted thick-rimmed glasses, a mop of curly, unkempt hair and the faint smell of patchouli or incense sticks. That is what I signed up for when I texted a stranger in September, hoping she would be a conduit for a conversation between me and dead people.
I contacted a medium after my friend went to her back in August. “Do you want to know the good and the bad?” the old psychic whispered as she peered over her half-moon glasses. This anecdote may have become tainted by my recent rewatch of Hocus Pocus — ’tis the season, after all. My friend told the psychic that she wanted to know it all. What she found out was worthy of any paranormal movie plot. Apparently my friend’s father-in-law is going to die in March; her own mother will pass the following October and she was firmly warned not to buy her son a bike until he had passed the age of eight.
I rolled my eyes in supreme cynicism but, inside, my jaw was on the floor. I don’t like to admit that the supernatural fascinates me. It’s just too easy to ridicule and too difficult to defend. The simple fact of it is, no one can absolutely disprove the possibility that someone, somewhere in the world, can communicate with the dead. Why not a woman living in a cul-de-sac in Meath? I’ve heard that a reading with a gifted medium can change you, your life and the trajectory of your grief. It’s not going to erase the pain of losing someone but many people report feeling comforted or that they get closure from the messages received through the medium or clairvoyant.
Many of you may know, from previous articles, that there are two things I love dearly. The first is knowing exactly what is going to happen at all times — no surprises. The second is my nana. It follows as logical, then, that a woman who can tell the future and communicate with the dead would be someone with whom I’d be willing to share my bank details
I dropped the cynicism and texted her immediately to book a reading. I probably should have taken more time to share my condolences with my friend about the imminent deaths in her immediate family, but I didn’t. “Hi, I got your number from my friend. I was wondering if I could come and see you. Steph.” I purposely misspelled my name to throw her off the scent. I’m not completely naive, I’ll still do what I can to stop her from being able to google me. As clients go, I’d be a pretty easy read with all the oversharing I’ve done.
She texted back exactly three days later at the exact time, down to the minute, that I had texted her. I think I’ve read something about three being a magic number, so my belief in this whole situation was being reinforced. I was in deep. The Mayo Man had feelings about my upcoming epiphany. He was somewhere between critical and disapproving, which is unlike him; he’s usually my biggest cheerleader.
The Mayo Man has logic, sense and reason woven into his DNA. ‘If it can’t be proven, it’s not real’ is his motto. He also felt because I so desperately want to know the precise timing of every future event, that I might start living my life according to whatever this mystic might tell me. If my friend wasn’t going to buy her child a bike until he is eight, how would I react if she told me not to go on a plane until I’m 50, say? He’s not wrong: I’m exactly the type of person who might create rules out of psychic speculation.
He needn’t have worried. On the morning of my reading, she texted me to cancel. My disappointment quickly turned to awe. Could it be that I was going to die in a car crash on the way down to her and she was saving me? Then, the terror hit. What if she was doing her psychic preparation for our session and was hit with a vision so traumatic and brutal that she couldn’t dare to face me? Was I going to die? Was my life going to be mangled by trauma and loss? Or did she really have Covid-19 symptoms?
I waited for every pedestrian light that day, unwilling to take even the smallest risk. I’m still not sure what it all means. Did my medium actually have Covid-19 or am I going to die? I wanted a message from the dead, but all I got was a deep awareness and fear of my own mortality and possible impending doom. Today, as I write, I am alive. Check on me when this gets published.