This story is apropos of nothing other than a stray, pleasant memory this morning. In the mid 90s, I went with three friends (hereby known as S, D, and R) to New Orleans. We went toward the end of October, and the weather was perfect. Gorgeous blue skies and mild temperatures the entire four days we were there. It was my first (and only) trip there.
I was delighted by the history and flavor of the French Quarter, and I couldn’t have been with better friends. S and D had been a couple for six or seven years at that point. R and I were just friends, but he was a good friend, and I was nursing a bit of a broken heart. Over part of the summer I had gone out a man I was absolutely crazy about, but he had broken off our relationship — which really hadn’t been anything more than casual anyway — when he went away to graduate school a month before. I liked the guy. (Heck, it has been almost 15 years, and I’m still terribly fond of him.) But it wasn’t to be, and the vacation to New Orleans was just the ticket to cheer me up.
I’m not a drinker, so the allure of New Orleans was in the food and the (mostly) window shopping. The first day S & D wanted to get a Tarot card reading from a place in the French Quarter. Hey, I knew it was a tourist trap, but I love the woo woo stuff, so me too, me too, me too! Typical reading, nothing memorable until the end. The reader said, “You’ve been dating a guy through the summer. He’s not good for you. End the relationship.”
Um, wow. That was specific. I told my friends, and we all laughed. They weren’t a fan of the guy I’d been dating, so I received a good-natured “I told you so.” We didn’t, of course, take it too seriously.
In addition to the food and shopping, we took several tours. We did a ghost tour through the French Quarter one night and a tour of the Garden District one day. And then one day we took a Voodoo tour. It ended at a Voodoo church, and I was really impressed with the priestess. She didn’t try to sell any of her wares, but I searched out her info and found out she did readings. I arranged one for the following afternoon. Rather than Tarot, she cast bones. Again, it was a pretty standard reading until the end. Then she said, “You’ve been dating a guy for six week. He’s evil. You need to get him out of your life.”
Okay, that was a little weird. She nailed the six weeks. I wouldn’t call him evil, but in retrospect I’d say we’re yin and yang (and not necessarily in a good way). My friends were also wowed, and R vowed to kick my ass if I ever saw the guy again.
Our last morning in New Orleans came. We payed for the hotel, and then popped to the French Quarter for coffee and beignets. There was an occult shop up the street I had visited earlier in the week, and I decided to pop back in for a last-minute purchase. The thing I wanted was behind the counter, and the guy working there chatted with me and S for a minute. Then he looked at me, cocked his head to the side, and motioned with his finger for me to come closer. “You’ve been dating someone. He’s bad news. Lose the guy.”
Then he stepped back. “Do you know what I’m talking about?” he asked. “I just deliver the message.”
I nodded. Dang. Three for three. I hadn’t even paid for that one!
S’s eyes were huge. “I TOLD YOU!” she sputtered.
He talked to us a few minutes more. I’d forgotten what he’d said, but S remembered, and we talked about it one night over dinner not too long ago. “He said I had broken hearts in my future and would have a hard time finding happiness.” She remembered, because it had pissed her off at the time, but it had also been true. S is gorgeous (inside and out) and brilliant and talented, but she has had a difficult time with relationships. Lots of ups and downs.
“What did he say about me?” I asked.
She smiled. “He said you didn’t have to worry. You’d be fine.”
And I have been.