Emma woke to sunrays beaming in through her small window. She wasn’t expecting the warmth upon her face. The little apartment in the middle of New York was not strategically placed to accept sunlight from the sky above. It felt nice, unexpected, but nice.
Emma’s work week was starting and she was satisfied and comfortable with where she was in her life. She had let herself move to New York City a week before her new job began at the museum so she could get used to the area. It was so much different than her Colorado country upbringing and careful planning by her parents. If it were up to them, she would be back there, doing exactly what they wanted her to do, and that was blindly being led down a path of a life cut out perfectly for her according to them. And, according to Miss Cleo, the psychic she saw last week, it would have been a faster approach to her own demise.
She couldn’t get Miss Cleo out of her mind since she had met with her. Such a strange meeting but one that opened her eyes and cleared her senses. She was now on her way to creating her own life and her own happiness.
“Sometimes you just have to break out of the mold that was made for you and do what you need to do to be happy.” she told the image that stared back at her that Monday morning. “They will understand. They have to.”
On her way out the door Emma made sure she had enough time to stop by a favorite coffee shop down the road before beginning her new job. She wanted to show up with a little Monday morning welcome basket of coffee and muffins for her co-workers. The cafe was booming with customers, but most had already gotten their lattes and pastries and were nestled among the furniture chatting or working on laptops. Emma didn’t wait long before she was next to place her order. While waiting, she pulled Miss Cleo’s card from her pocket. She touched the sides and wondered where the woman came from. She had so much history in the weathered lines of her face. She had to be a hundred years old. How did she know Emma was a Virgo? How did she know just what she needed to hear? And then there was the money. Miss Cleo never told Emma what the reading cost. So she went back and left some money on the table. Somehow it was in her pocket again.
“Lost in thought?” Emma looked up from her inner world. A thin, gangly man stood just behind her with a grin on his face. He was much taller than Emma so he would have easily seen what she held in her hands. She merely smiled and turned back to the front. She didn’t like divulging her business to strangers, especially in such a cold and busy city. “I’ve gone to quite a few psychics myself.” Emma was guessing the man didn’t get the hint that she wasn’t interested so she turned around and pretended to be. “Been in this city a long time, there are a lot of them around.” He leaned close to her. “Just between you and me, most of them are phoneys.”
“I know what you mean. It’s not easy finding one you can trust.”
“I’m still looking myself.” Emma just nodded and turned back to the front secretly wishing for her order to be done. The man leaned over and around her pointing to the card with his long extra terrestrial like finger that she still had in her hands, almost touching it. “May I?”
“Uh. Sure.” She handed the man her card but kept her eye on it the whole time.
“Never heard of her. What did you think of her?”
“She was ok. Not sure really.” Emma shrugged. She felt like she was trying to hide a deep dark secret. He handed the card back to her with an awkward smile.
“I might just have to check her out. Thanks.”
Emma smiled and took a few steps to the side hoping he would direct his attention to the front counter. As soon as her order was up she grabbed it and left.
The day went very quickly. Emma fit right in at the museum and everyone seemed to love her. “Must have been the muffins.” She smiled at her new co-workers as she left for the day. On her ride home she stopped off in Queens to find Miss Cleo again. She didn’t want the woman to think she wasn’t going to pay for her services. Deep down she was hoping to get a little more of an insight to the woman and what she was about. She wasn’t like the other psychics she had been to. Far different in fact and Emma was intrigued.
She pulled up the same GPS on her phone and followed the familiar surroundings to the alleyway. It was later than it was the the first time she had gone and she made a mental note not to stay long. The darkness seemed to change the surroundings and she wasn’t looking forward to that again.
The door looked different some how. She knocked, not expecting an answer. The woman had to be over a hundred years old. She was probably in the back and couldn’t hear well. Emma attempted another knock and half way through it the door opened. There stood a plump, red faced man seemingly annoyed at the interruption. When he got a good look at Emma his face changed and he smiled like a child just given candy. Emma pulled her jacket closed.
“Is Miss Cleo in?”
“Who?” It didn’t take long for that annoyance to return. His eyebrows furrowed.
“I was here the other day and spoke with Miss Cleo.” She pulled the money from her pocket. “I forgot to pay her for her services.”
“There’s no Miss…Cleo…here. But I’ll take the money and give it to the proper person.” He smiled holding his hand out.
Emma stepped back. “That’s ok, um. Are you sure she isn’t here?” Emma tried looking past the fat man and he stepped back, opening the door further.
“Wanna come in?” His eyes got hungry as he looked her up and down. She peered inside and saw storage boxes and dusty furniture. She looked down at her GPS and looked around.
“I’m confused. I was just here a few days ago. None of this stuff was here, yet…it looks like it has been here for years.”
“Yea, I’ll get to cleaning it out some day.”
Emma backed up and thanked the man for his time. She looked at the door and the brick walls again before slowly walking away. She pulled the card from her pocket and looked at it again. The card didn’t change, so why did the room? Emma didn’t know what to make of what happened, or didn’t happen. Could she have dreamed it?
For days she tried figuring it all out until one day the gangly man from the coffee shop entered the museum. He seemed to know that Emma worked there because he walked through the door with a purpose. As soon as he spotted her he walked directly toward her and he didn’t look happy. As he got closer Emma noticed the side of his face was black and blue.
“Are you playing games with me miss?”
“I’m sorry?” Emma stepped back.
“You told me you went to see that psychic woman. You said she might have been a good one.”
“I went there and all I got was jumped! You set me up! There was no psychic there!”
“Excuse me sir, but I never….”
“I should sue you.” His eyes narrowed and he got two inches from her face.
As calm as Emma was and as much as she liked to go with the flow of things, she barked back and pushed the man out of her face.
“You need to learn to mind your own business. I didn’t even want to talk to you in that coffee shop but you kept meddling, you kept insisting almost taking the card from my hand. I’m surprised you asked first. You’re very forward and rude and I think you owe me an apology.” The man stepped back and looked appalled at the lashing he just got.
“Where did you get that card?” He wasn’t going to let this argument go.
“That’s none of your business.”
The man was getting furious and Emma started getting nervous.
“That woman has been dead for centuries!” Emma grabbed the wall phone and yelled for security. It didn’t take long before two men in security uniforms escorted the thin man out the door. Onlookers turned away when he disappeared out the front door but Emma continued to stand there and stare after the man with his words echoing in her head, ‘dead for centuries’.
“He is clearly delusional.” Or was he? Emma pulled the card out and looked at it again. She needed answers.