I have a friend, who not only believes in the paranormal but also visits a psychic frequently, not for entertainment purposes but for genuine life-advice.
Weird right, I know.
For ages, she had been trying to convince me to join her until one day I gave up and thought, “Why not?”
So last time I went to Finland, we ordered a taxi to take us to see the psychic.
In my angst-ridden teenage years, I used to be an angry atheist.
Now I consider myself more of an open-minded agnostic.
By which, I mean I think psychics are full of shit and that talking to the dead is nonsense.
One such person is Sylvia Browne, known by some as America’s most controversial psychic, author of books, frequent television and radio show guest who has also worked as a psychic detective.
The more painful it is, tragically, the more you do learn, though, that’s the good part. Sylvia Browne
Now when I say that she’s worked as a detective, I mean it in the same capacity that I’ve worked as a detective.
My help in solving world renowned kidnappings so far has been too vague to be verified or not useful.
Just like Sylvia’s.
Look, I said open-minded but there’s a line.
I firmly believe that there are things which exist in this universe beyond our current comprehension and observational tools but I’m more inclined to believe those things to be global warming over ghosts.
You never know, right?
And to the people who already believe, can’t we just let the dead rest already?
Imagine dying and still having to listen to people go on about their shit.
If it was me, I would be like, “You have reached the voice mail of Carlos, he’s dead right now but please leave a message and he’ll get back to you as soon as the energies of the universe allow it. Beep.”
After a 30-minute taxi ride, we arrive at the unassuming rural house.
Unlike what I imagined, this house is distinctly not derelict. Or an antique fortune teller machine behind a mysterious traveling circus.
So much for my one chance at becoming a kid trapped in a grown man’s body.
Who you gonna call?
The dark-haired woman who greets us is already waiting outside.
“No purple shawls or fingers covered in gold rings,” I think to myself, “Is she even a real psychic?”
As she invites us to walk up to her workspace, I compliment her on her nice home.
Apparently, it isn’t her home, she only rents the upstairs floor for her services.
I guess even psychics have to report expenses and pay taxes.
My friend waits outside as I, the paranormal-virgin, decide to have my first experience with “the other side” on my own.
My suspicions continue as I enter a perfectly normal room. No dimmed lights or crystal balls in sight.
No smell of incense violating my olfactory system.
She begins by making it clear that she has no intentions or desires of convincing me what any of this is real. Believe or don’t, she doesn’t care either way.
After a brief explanation of how it works, that I should only tell her if I understand something or not and her own personal journey that led her to finally embrace—she didn’t at first—her gift, I ask her, “Where do we begin?”
She tells me an older male presence has been with us ever since I stepped foot in the room.
The alcoholic who couldn’t get his shit together enough to financially support my mom, sister and me. The man who left when I was 3-years-old.
We kept sporadic contact at best throughout my life, up until his death eleven years ago.
The man who couldn’t show up in life, sure as shit stinks, could make the effort to show up in death.
Can you taste that? That’s the taste of unresolved daddy issues and lingering resentment.
I’d say I’m not bitter, but who are we kidding, it’s a work in progress.
She says she can sense an absence, he was there and then he wasn’t, there again, then gone. She says he has a lot of sorrow and regret.
“Good, you should,” I think.
“He’s still keeping an eye on you and your life,” she says, “he’s never left your side. “
She sees movement.
A constant upshifting of things and of emotional and physical movement.
“He says you need to look for stillness and calm,” her eyes gazing beyond my right-hand side.
“The pot calling the kettle black ey? Good one, dad.
“You are loved, even though you don’t always feel like it,” her shoulders slump down is resignation as his emotions become her words, “I’m sorry for creating that abscess in you.”
I’m keeping back the tears at this point.
“He sees you flicking through something, frantically flicking back and forth like you’re looking for something,” her fingers dance in the air like a finalist at an air-harp competition.
For a moment, I’m confused. So far the psychic has been surprisingly on point but this makes no sense.
I tell her I don’t understand.
Then it hits me.
I had spent yesterday evening in my mom’s attic looking through all of the old photo albums that I had left behind when we first moved to the UK. In deciding to bury the past and learn from its lessons, first I wanted to embrace it and its photos.
She says, “He tells me you’re trying to put things in their right place, and that that’s a good thing. You should keep doing that.”
Her otherwise relaxed body goes stiff, “But you have a problem with being told what to do.”
“What? No, I don—”
“God damn it.”
I’m not liking where did this Dad-Psychic tag team match is going. Woefully unequipped to fight the paranormal and the dark-haired stranger I just met, I surrender.
“Rarely to never,” would be the answer, if asked in a questionnaire how often I surrender.
From abandonment issues, being relentlessly bullied in school, to toxic and dysfunctional relationships, once you get used to fighting, everything starts to look like a fight.
Every word becomes a weapon.
Every silence a wall.
“And even though you seem really open and inviting, you don’t actually let people in,” she says, “Not really.”
I don’t let people in.
I never let anyone in close enough to see the misshapen mess that is truly me, for fear of rejection and abandonment.
I’m still no more convinced that psychics are real.
Or that there is an afterlife.
I still think that people who claim to be psychics are probably just taking advantage of people in desperate need of answers to questions that might not actually have answers.
But then again, maybe I have questions that need answers?
And if it brings you comfort and solace then why not?
Would I do it again?
No, probably not.
But, I should see a psychiatrist.