" I see people stubbornly hanging onto their own persona, when it’s clearly outworn. I am talking about trying to think like a 25 year old when you’re 32 or even 42..."-Elsa P.I saved the last of the duck-shaped cinnamon toast and broke it into pieces, poured the last of the milk now lukewarm into the chipped china and sprinkled the bits upon the white sea. "They'll love it," The Lady said nodding at my intentions. The kitties woke as I walked over to the window. The ravens perched on the strands of lights made a ruckus. Silver-hair flashed out of the corner of my eye, "Make no never-mind dear. In your pocket, something sparkly is what they're after." I wasn't a bit nervous about the familiarity inside The Safety Pin Cafe although, I swear to have never seen it on this block before. The locket. A heart made of wood dangled from a leaf made of gold and a chain of silver. A keepsake, a precious gift from one who asked nothing from me and gave comfort without words. Normally I wore the locket against my our heart. A reminder of sunrises and a talisman wore smooth as I prayed away the fears as long as genealogy.
The Raven's breath was cool and close, "Now Crow will as soon pick your pocket as caw. Not so the kin," he blinked and turned a shade of crimson uncommon to birds. But he was not a common bird and with his gloved hand he reached out. The sill ravens waited. "They speak of a woman of seaweed, salty breath and no teeth," Raven smiled and I relived the lines that drew white sandy beaches. I said her name. "Josephine. She was sweet Josephine," and reached into my skirt pocket. "Needed elsewhere.' It was a question on my part, an answer on his. Delicately, the bigger of the two ravens lifted the wooden heart from my palm and slid it into a breast pocket of her own. "In exchange," she said to me in a voice that was so like my mother's. A safety pin. "Common magic for uncommon necessity."
The rain had stopped. Sunlight mute but precious mingled with the tinkling reflections on the windows. So caught in the moment and the growing flirtation with Raven I hadn't noticed an old Gypsy woman seated across the room. At a round table positioned beneath an awning covered with purple silk she spread her cards. Tarot, I guessed. Now, I know Tarot by reputation rather than experience of study. But the one in front of the jeweled and ringed Gypsy watched and listened with her whole body. Student or seeker? "It's all right to visit, no need to hesitate or speculate." The voice of the Lady said. She moved not a lip when she spoke I realized, transferring thoughts to me I wondered, "Is it my brain that hears her? Or my heart."
My sensible black shoes were dry now though whenever I stepped, a small quack leaked from their bottoms. To maintain a modicum of modesty as I approached I reached to unlace them. Did that. Stepped onto the plush though worn carpeting. Obviously ancient, maybe Persian, images and scents of foreign spaces rubbed my bare feet into smiles. Closer still I stepped, quiet as a hungry mouse. "Oh my!" it was me screaming, no opportunity to pretend. Her flesh hung in moldy patches, hair once sunny gold lay atop the cards between the two women. "So long for a while. That's all the songs for a while. So long to the Hit Parade," the old Gypsy woman sang in voice as bold and pure as a baritone. She was singing an old theme song from the Lucky Strike sponsored black and white television program. "As old as the hills and no chance for gold. It's time to move on with your Hit Parade."
Tears washed from the hallows where once pretty young eyes wore a future that fit her. Now, more flesh moved off her bones. A kettle, black and crusty stood on cast-iron feet within inches of the table. Raven, silver-hair now tied back to reveal lean long shoulder muscles pushed at the cauldron. Mounds of the woman's self flooded the pot to near over-flowing. Seated on the edge of the table now the pair of sill ravens looked on. I took the empty chair, my bare feet oddly calm now. "She's the one in need of comfort, courage and a wooden heart," I heard myself say the words. Untying his hair, Raven once again, smiled his face into lines and to the now-faceless woman said, "Common magic for uncommon necessity."
The old Gypsy woman gathered her Tarot. "In exchange," whispered Raven dropping a pin of copper in the Gypsy's hand. A safety pin. "For Jt."
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The Safety Pin Cafe is Copyright Protected(c), 2012
Yvonne Mokihana Calizar