Madam Felicity

Madam Felicity was everything Eddie had wanted a psychic to be. She was olive-skinned, somewhere between sixty and two-hundred years’ old; her eyeliner was caked-on thick with little dramatic ticks on the outsides; and she wore a medley of clothing borrowed from pretty much every religion Eddie knew of, including a massive purple turban that created the illusion that her cranium bulged up to fill the space underneath – a huge brain to conjure and harness such awesome psychic powers.

‘Come on, Edward,’ she said and her voice was heavily accented, but hard to place.

‘How’d you know my name?’ said Eddie.

‘Because I’m psychic, dear. And because you called yesterday to make the appointment.’

 They both laughed and Madam Felicity’s generous smile lingered on after they’d stopped laughing.  What had Eddie been so worried about? She looked nice. This was going to be okay. And anyway, no one’s properly psychic.

‘Ah,’ she said. ‘I see we have a sceptic. This is fine by me. I am not offended. Your money is good whether you believe me or not.’

‘Yeah. I guess I don’t really believe in this sort of stuff. Sorry.’

‘Nonsense. Nothing to apologise for.’ There was that warm smile again, and she touched his hand in reassurance. ‘Oh,’ she said, pulling her hand away like it was a scalding hot cup of tea, ‘there’s plenty of juice coming off you, boy. But we’ll get to that. Let’s ease in with a tarot reading; how does that sound?

‘Yeah. Sure. That’d be fine.’

Eddie picked at the dry skin on his palm and tried not to think about Ruth. There was no such thing as psychic powers, but he still didn’t want to make it too easy for her.

Madam Felicity took out the deck of cards and shuffled it lengthways, which Eddie had never seen before. She shuffled slowly, deftly, calmly, and there was a rhythm, a motion, that lulled him for a moment.

She flipped the first card: a stylish crescent moon with The Moon written beneath it.

‘Hmmm,’ she said, and she sighed. ‘You poor soul.’

She flipped over the next card: a young man holding a stick with a little dog alongside him and The Fool written underneath.

‘Ah, dear,’ she said, and she cried a little and wiped her eyes with her sleeve, smudging her eyeliner.

She flipped over the next card: an angel with a horn and a flag with naked people beneath him and the word Judgement written underneath.

She gasped and looked up at him, tears falling freely now. None of his friends, his counsellor, or his mum had looked at him with such gentle pity. Her soft eyes, muddied with tears and mascara, were too much for him to take.

She moved around to his side of the table and held him for a while. He let her. It was impossible to tell how long he sat there in her arms.

‘I don’t know how you managed to leave the house, let alone come here,’ she said, when her breathing calmed a little – although there was still a faint shudder in her voice. ‘It’s so hard to sustain such intense feeling without shattering into pieces. But it’s also kind of beautiful.’

‘Yeah,’ said Eddie.

‘But remember,’ she said, leaning back to look at him, to smile for him, ‘it’s okay to close your ribcage if you can’t take it anymore.’



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