Monday promised to be a hot day with only a little breeze. My set up for reading at the Antiques & Art Faire was quick and easy. I had remembered to bring my new patchwork quilt table cloth made by my friend Rosie, my box of tissues, even my sunscreen. Instead of dressing in antique costume, I had chosen one of my favorite tie-dye t-shirt dresses, something simple, cool and colorful for the day.
My husband disappeared in the crowd on a mission of breakfast mercy and returned with Peets coffee, a donut, a bag of ice, two bottles of water and some carrots. We agreed on an end time and he left to see his cousins who live in the same town.
I looked at the roofline of the museum under whose eaves I had set my table. I judged the unrelenting sun to encroach on my comfort at about noon. I was scheduled to read until 3 pm. I had a while to adjust for comfort. I shuffled my cards, Robert Place’s 4th edition of The Alchemical Tarot. They had seemed perfect for an outdoor antiques show when I had packed my things earlier in the morning. I spread them out into an arc and pulled a few out to show examples. I dug in my purse to get an old Carreras Dondorf Lenormand from 1926, part of my collection but also the deck I had determined to read with if Lenormand felt right. I remembered I still had a tiny crystal ball in my purse from BATS, one with an inclusion that would flash an inner rainbow in the right light at the right angle. I set it on its stand on my orange and purple patchwork. I sipped my coffee. I was ready.
It started slowly. One woman toyed with the idea, tracing the edge of the table with her eyes, at the edge of decision. She sat down casually, or tried to. There was nothing casual about it. Her reading was one of the most poignant of the year. I was riveted, understanding her question, including the unspoken one. On the surface, she asked casually, “What about work?”
It was not her question really, but some topics must be approached carefully. She wanted to give nothing away. So many clients are like that, smart people who do not want to be fools. I don’t mind. I see them do it. I understand. I read the cards. We talked about pulling in from giving so much energy away, the habit of teaching being so automatic, but the need now being to make the best use of resources. Of time. Time with family. I ached for her fears. I asked if they had suggested surgery; she would find out soon.
My table was set near the steps to the restrooms and I was very good as informal ambassador, pointing the desperate up the stairs, smiling as they returned relieved, repeating the schedule for the antique appraisal booth and the museum, taking custody of a purple-cased smartphone left in the restroom. So soon the wide-eyed owner, breathless, came to find it and was overjoyed at the reunion.
Soon, several others stopped and business picked up. The sun rose high in the sky and I hugged the wall for the last bit of shade and read for several other people. My husband surprised me with a sandwich and I hadn’t realized he was still around—excellent timing!
Just after I downed my lunch, one of the men doing appraisals came to me with another phone, black rubberized case this time.
“A man’s,” I thought, then remembered that my own work phone had some commando-black case on it so perhaps not. I waited for the frantic owner, the glad reunion. The sun drove me to the edge of the wall. I would have to move soon or burn. I started to worry about the phone and its owner. I pressed the button, just to see if it had some way to identify the owner.
No password! The phone was completely unprotected. I was shocked. In this time of identity theft, here was an expensive new phone exposed to anyone who might pick it up. I looked for the information that might provide the name of the owner. Jackpot! In the contact list was the owner’s name. Not only that, but the owner had put his wife’s numbers, other relative’s numbers and astonishingly his bank account numbers. My jaw dropped. What if someone else had gotten this? I quickly dialed his wife’s cell number, ringing but no answer.
I asked the organizers if they knew someone by that name. Enough time had passed that I was certain he had left the antique show. Surely he should notice by now. A few minutes later I looked down and saw his wife’s name light up on his phone. Contact! I was too late but called her right back and we connected.
“Hi, this is a little awkward but your husband left his phone at the antique show and I have it.”
She laughed and we had a good chat about lost phones and sudden realizations. He was on his way back to the fair, having left his lunch mid-bite at a nearby restaurant. I asked her permission to give him a good scolding for having his cell phone so completely unprotected and she eagerly agreed.
Moments later he arrived, grinning, sheepish, towed by my friend, the show organizer. It was clear he felt exposed to women in charge of his well-being and was ready to take his punishment.
“Sit down,” I said, using The Voice.
“Oh,” he said. “A Tarot reading?” He was clearly confused.
“No, we are going to sit here and password protect your phone. And your bank account numbers are in your contact list! You’ve worked hard for your money. Why would you want to lose it to carelessness at the hands of someone who isn’t honest like I am?”
We looked at his phone features and decided it was better if his wife set the password.
“When we finish lunch,” he said with pleading eyes, “I’ll have her come to get a reading from you.”
“I’m much more interested in your promise to secure your phone. Pinky swear?”
We crooked our fingers. He brought his wife back at the end of the show and I read her cards, the last of the day.
The Sun finally won and I moved to the shade of the tall sycamore in the parking lot. Some readers think the Sun in Tarot is always a good card, shining its light in the darkest places. But that shining light can represent the unvarnished truth that’s hard to face. It can expose secrets that should be secret and leave you unprotected and burned. The choice is yours.