One of my favorite things about the location where I sling coffee every day is the part where we make plans to go drinking on weekdays. Every now and then the stars align and we’ll be able to get a group together to meet up with the closing crew and head out for cheap beer and good stories. More often than not we end up at The Imperial, crowding together on the couches or pushing tables together on the patio when we get too hot to live.
We ended up there last Wednesday. As the night was winding down and there were only a handful of us left sitting outside, a man came up and asked if he could sit at the end of our table. His friend was smoking nearby and I suppose he wanted to sit next to him.
Everything was fine until he started talking.
I’m not about to sit here and say there’s no such thing as psychics. I’m open to a lot of things in this life, and I certainly don’t think I know everything about the world around me, but believe me when I say this man was fishing for information and I didn’t realize it until it was too late to back out. He started by telling us he could see energy. I reacted by being a dick, mostly because I was a little drunk but also because I couldn’t figure out why he was interrupting in the first place.
He asked us all a lot of questions and then proceeded to make his predictions.
He asked me where my family was. I told him Newfoundland.
He asked me where my father was. I said, “In a hole in the ground.”
He told me my father is sorry, and suddenly I was not OK.
Not at all.
It’s not that I believed this stranger. It’s not that I put any faith at all in his ability to interpret my “hole in the ground” response as some sort of bad blood family drama indicator. It’s not even that he dared to make assumptions and offer fake sage advice on a subject he couldn’t possibly know anything about.
What upset me more than anything was how guilty I felt when he said that.
I had spent the previous weekend with my sister at my mom’s and we ended up drinking a little too much wine and having ourselves a long overdue heart-to-heart/confession cry-fest. I said some things about my relationship with my father that I would never say sober. I share a lot here, probably more than I should, but even I would never publish the things I had to say that weekend. So when I got back home and thought about what I’d shared, I began to feel guilty. When Fake Psychic told me my dad is sorry, it made me feel guiltier, as if somehow he’d heard what I’d said to my mom and sis and was apologizing for it.
When somebody dies unexpectedly, sometimes they leave a lot of emotional loose ends. When it comes to my relationship with my mother, I have an opportunity to talk over some of the actions she took when I was a kid and analyze them from an adult perspective to try to figure out why I’ve been having difficulties in certain areas of my life. Essentially, if you have living parents you have the option of yelling at them for fucking you up in your formative years. When your parent is dead, and died when you were still too young to understand anything about lasting impacts or psychological ricochets, it can be incredibly difficult to work out your feelings.
So I bury them. Not far enough that I can’t reach them, just far enough that they don’t cripple my normal routine. When I sat in my mom’s living room and talked about the truth of what hurts me, I ended up feeling guilty for having given voice to my inner dialogue.
So that’s why Fake Psychic pissed me off. That’s why I growled in frustration in the streets and punched a brick wall as a way to vent. That’s why I ended up in a playground in the middle of the night with some of my closest friends until I felt okay enough (and tired enough) to go home.
It’s nice to know I don’t have to face the dark alone anymore.
If my dad’s still out there, I hope he knows I’m sorry too.