Unhappy Customer

“What’s her problem?” Rueben said. A woman had stomped out, slamming the door behind her. “She’s not gonna win a million dollars this year?”

It was the first time she’d come for a reading, and she didn’t believe a word of it. Or maybe she did, Blondi thinks, and that’s the problem.

“Sometimes people don’t like what they hear,” she tells Rueben. “You’ll come up against that sometimes when reading tea leaves too.”

He’s only been reading tea leaves for a year, at Blondi’s suggestion. He’s good at it, a natural; his grandmother used to do it when she was alive.

“People have their own ideas about what a reading should be. Some expect to be told something dramatic; not that their life is going to continue much as it is. They want a personal mystery to be revealed. They want to be a little bit shocked, maybe told that there’s a message for them from the other side.”

Rueben considers this.

“I know you can’t tell me anything about that lady or her reading,” he says. “But what do you do when someone is upset like that?”

“It’s’s rare, Rube. The first time it happened, I was just starting to do readings for other people and I was mortified. I thought, ‘I’m no good at this! I shouldn’t be doing it.’ I thought people had to go away happy. But that’s not the purpose. I have to tell them what I see, straight out; no sugar-coating.”

“You’re gentle though.”

“It doesn’t always matter,” she says, with a shake of her head. “But if you insist the cards are right, people just dig in their heels and have even more trouble seeing.”

“But the cards can be wrong, can’t they?”

“Of course! You have to take it all with a grain of salt.” Blondi laughs.  “You always have to think for yourself!  I just ask people not to make up their minds right away. Give it a few days to settle in. Things start making sense once they’re alone and their defences aren’t up so high.”

“Still you must feel shitty when this happens.”

“Shitty? No. Not exactly.” Blondi isn’t sure how to explain. “I’m not responsible for the message itself. Only in the way I give it, right? And I’ve done the best I was able. That has to be good enough.”

 

 

 

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Not Available to Take Your Call

“I like this idea,” says Rueben, leaning over her shoulder to peer into the laptop screen.

“Can you imagine! I wouldn’t want to police that kind of demand,” she replies. “The things are attached to people’s arms now. They might as well do everything else with one hand.”

It is annoying sometimes. Heaven knows Blondi agrees with the man. People will sit in the café playing noisy games or videos on their phones, while customers around them glare and are ignored. More than once she’s had to request these boors turn down the volume. Isn’t that simply something they should do without being asked? But they seem oblivious to all but their teeny tiny screens.

no phonesSource: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cafes-put-a-lid-on-customers-ordering-coffee-while-on-their-mobile-phone-20160203-gml89r.html

She glances up at the empty tables. Outside, snow is falling, hitting the big window and turning to droplets of water. It’s been this way most of the afternoon. People are staying home, using their own stoves and ovens, keeping their houses warm. Another 20 minutes she’ll give it, she decides, and then she’ll lock up.

“Go home, Rueben,” she says. “Nothing much left to do.”

Ten minutes later he’s still there, sweeping. In no hurry to leave, apparently. And then she finds out why.

“Could you pull a card for me?”

Of course she can.

“Without me telling you why?”

Of course.

She shuts the front door, turns the deadbolt, flips the sign.

IX Swords057

Rueben follows her into the sitting room and she takes the cards off a shelf, sits down, shuffles, splays the deck out on a table.

“Ask your question, silently, and choose one card.”

He does this carefully, as if giving it much thought, as if it matters, and maybe it does. She doesn’t know. He hands it to her and they both look at it. She knows he understands what its message is, but goes ahead anyway. Her particular way of translating it into words might be exactly what he needs to hear.

“It’s telling you to be patient.”

Yes, but how do I do that? he wants to know.

“Accept the way things are. That requires the most strength of all, but it’s what the card advises. Acceptance is the way to escape frustration right now.”

She wonders what the trouble is, but doesn’t ask. Doesn’t want to know. Doesn’t dare.

 

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Alone Together

How is it that people can be so close together, yet so alone?

How is it that they can have so much to say, and yet nothing?

There they are, two against the world, and yet … so far apart.

There is the way they appear as they sit there side-by-side, and there is the numbness Blondi can feel emanating from them as she takes their order, sets down their drinks, clears their table, asks them how the roads are this morning, where they’re on their way to.

They deserve to be happy, she thinks, but can feel it: they are not.

They must have noticed the sign on the wall:
Would you like your cards read? Ask Blondi.

But they are surprised when she brings them the print-out of a tarot card. The lady blushes; the man says, “What is this?”

A tarot card, she tells them. I pull one tarot card for each table. When there is more than one person, I ask the question ‘What do they most need to know?’

Yours says you two need to drop all the mumbo jumbo, take your clothes off and cuddle.

VI The Lovers076

“No charge,” she says, refilling their cups.

 

 

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Magic Money

When she says money magically appears, she’s not kidding.
No matter what they do, there is always more cash in the cashbox than there should be.
That is a given, and Blondi is mystified, but given the other ghostly weirdnesses that have occurred around here, she is no longer surprised.
She’s sure it’s her grandpa, gone these 20 years.
If ghosts can do anything, her grandpa would give her cash. It was always that way when he was alive. And there is no other explanation that satisfies. No one has ever owned up. Maybe that would take the fun out of it.

After lunch the café emptied out, and Rueben vacuumed. It took 20 minutes. No one else came in or left, and there were no customers. Rueben then joined Blondi in the kitchen and neither went out front. But just now, Blondi found a shiny silver toonie laying in the middle of the floor, where it couldn’t be missed. It couldn’t have been missed. So how did it get there?

Sometimes there is no answer or one is never found and she is not going to drive herself crazy wondering what it is.

buffetSource

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Spring & Arnaud

“Your charm,” she said to Arnaud. “I thought it would last about a year and be gone. Your charm, your kindness to me — I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it never did. It never has.”
~ Spring, in Spring and Arnaud, a documentary about the art and love story of Arnaud Maggs and Spring Hurlburt.

So it is possible! Just as Blondi has always believed.

ingredients

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Soul Soup

People run themselves ragged.

They are afraid to say no to an invitation or an “opportunity,” even when they are exhausted, even when they need solitude and rest.

Blondi constantly hears folks talking about how tired they are, about how they have no time to do the things they love because they are too busy doing all the other things they think are necessary, like what others want or expect them to do, maybe even what their parents taught them when they were too young to think for themselves. They cannot say no, even to maintain their own sanity.

People don’t value themselves; they are too concerned about the judgments of others who may not approve of them or believe they are “nice” and so on. They are under the false assumption that others spend time thinking about them. Ha! Not likely. That time is absolutely minimal. How is it that people think others spend a lot of time pondering anyone but themselves?

Oh, a café is where one sees the best in people but also the most pathetic weakness and lack of self-knowledge.

Blondi thinks everyone should take at least five minutes to have a bowl of soul-nourishing soup every day, even if they can’t really believe they are good enough to deserve it.

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To Frida from Pera

Written in English on notepaper and kept by Frida Kahlo among her personal possessions:

Dear Frida,

May your life ever be

Sweet as the breeze of morn

All of life’s roses offered thee

Without one piercing thorn.

By Pera

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