A Fairy Tale

(Excerpt from Bedeviled )

The next psychic incident came in the form of a real-life messenger in the least likely of circumstances. We were moving, my son and I. We'd been pinned down in our little Fifties town for over a decade, waiting for the big break for Tom, hoping against hope that someone would finally give him his chance to show what he can do. But we have to move on. With energy I didn't know I had, I cleaned and sorted through everything we’d accumulated over a thirty-five-year marriage. I had to lighten the load for our move to… wherever. In spite of everything, I was feeling better. The memorial service went well. The son is recovering from his terrible grief. The idea of moving has energized him, too.

Sometimes the operating principles of the universe are more likely to be revealed in the strange and improbable events in fairy tales, than in all the grim realities of hard hitting, fact filled news stories. This true story reads like a fairy tale where magical feathers guide Simpleton to safety, or the kindly woodcutter knows the way through the enchanted forest.

The story begins with our New Jersey PSE and G electric meter reader. He's a very sweet man with ginger hair, married, with two sets of twins and claustrophobia. He has to go into dark, messy, musty, cramped basements many times every day to read people's electric meters. Whenever I was around, I’d go down into the basement with him, turn on the lights, and chat to keep him company. We talked about our kids, their sports, their little foibles and life in general. On this particular monthly visit, sometime around November, a few months after Tom has passed away, he expressed his condolences and said, "I guess you'll be moving away, now."

Slightly surprised that he knows this, I answered that yes, we probably will. I wondered if he had somehow overheard me talking about moving to my son, while he was in our basement on a previous meter reading.

Then he said, "You're going to move to the mountains."

"Oh, maybe", I answered casually, more surprised, than suspicious. "My son wants to move to Colorado."

"I knew it!" he said. "Sometimes, I can see things about people."

He needed no encouragement to go on. "I see mountains around you, when I look at you. Mountains with snow."

"Well, maybe," I conceded, dubiously. I had never met or spoken to anyone who claimed to be psychic. I wasn't even sure if that was what he was trying to say. He's a very unaffected, sweet, kind man who I've chatted with for years. Even now, there was no showmanship or bragging in his manner. He was innocently telling me something he 'sees'. But I am, as always, skeptical to the end of time. However, somebody kept knocking at my stubborn door, even if I didn't seem to be listening.

My ginger haired friend departed with a knowing smile, and we left it at that.

Because he was totally devastated by his father's death, I dipped into the savings and sent our son off to Colorado to give him some hope for his future and to see if he liked it. It doesn't go well. Colorado is okay, but he doesn't want to live there.

Fine. I wanted to move to North Carolina all along. Much closer to home. Near friends.

The Red-haired meter reader came by soon after. "So when are you moving to the mountains?" he asked with a friendly, conspiratorial smile.

"Well, we're not moving to Colorado, so no snow-covered mountains," I replied, sorry to disappoint him. "Our plans have changed. We're probably going to North Carolina."

He gave me a funny look. "No, I don't think so," he said, "You're gonna be by lots of snow covered mountains."

I smiled and didn't argue. Sweet, sweet man. And maybe he was right the first time, but things have changed.

It was a couple of months before he came by again when I was at home. Much had changed. North Carolina was a no go with the son. It's Seattle. It's only 3300 miles away, and we've never even been to Washington State. But I guess, in for a penny, in for a pound.

In the midst of all our packing, the meter reader came by again. "Well," I admitted, "You were right. We are moving near snow covered mountains. We're moving to Seattle, by Mount Rainier. It's a snow-covered mountain."

"See," he cried happily, "I told you so." And I, freely and in amazement, admitted that, yes, as a matter of fact, he did. I admitted it, but reluctantly. How can he have known that? I mean, come on!

But encouraged by his success, he went further with his prediction. "You're going to live right beside a big park, and just on the other side of that park is a big brown building, like a library or a school. You can walk through the park to it. And you will be surrounded by lots of snow covered mountains. That's what I see."

I listened in incredulity and wonder. I remembered every word he said, but frankly didn't know what to make of it. When he stuck to his first prediction, in spite of my telling him he was wrong, he had proved how truly he saw my future. Could he be right about the park and the building? I sincerely doubted it.

I laughingly mentioned his prediction to some friends before we moved. They smiled and wondered if things like that aren't sort of self-fulfilling, like I'll look around for a place near a park and make it come true. Well, maybe.

We arrived in Washington State and stayed in a motel with kitchen facilities in a suburb just north of Seattle. I had a week before the furniture arrived to find a place to live or pay for furniture storage. Checking out craigslist on my lap top every day, I began driving around to nearby towns to get a feel for what areas would be best for us.

And yes, I did Google parks in the area, looking for one with a school, library or some institution nearby. That idea faded fast. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. This moving to a completely new place was a lot tougher than I'd thought. I drove all over the suburbs, but nothing really felt right.

Then, I heard about Western Washington University in Bellingham, which was an hour and a half north of Seattle and in desperation I made the bold move to take a drive up to see it. One look at Bellingham, and I fell totally in love with it. It even met with the approval of my toughest critic, the son type person.

The place we found to live was on a lovely historic block, near the top of wooded Sehome hill... with a view of lots of snow covered mountains, the Cascade Range, including the snowcapped cone of Mount Baker, which is the defining feature of the town. The wooded hill turned out to be one end of a huge arboretum, not a park... exactly... but at the top of my street there's a small path through the arboretum. All the college kids who live in my area walk right up my street through the arboretum to the college.

One day, I decided to walk through the arboretum to see the college. It wasn't as far as I'd thought, only a couple of hundred yards. At the end of that path is... a big, brown college building, called the Old Campus building. Like a library or a school....Yeah.

And they lived happily ever after. Seriously, can you make this stuff up?

It was very hard to accept that way back months ago in New Jersey a red haired meter reader could see that I would move to Bellingham right beside a park with a big brown building on the other side and in view of snowcapped mountains. I just couldn't figure out how that could possibly work. Especially when it felt so much like I discovered Bellingham on my own. I drove up to this college town on a whim based on what I'd read on the internet. It was my own brilliant idea and accomplishment, right? Where does the 'I' fit in there? What happened to Marcy did that? Should I stop patting myself on the back for my good job with the move? What the heck is really going on here?
This is the strangest afterlife story you will ever read. A man with a divided soul, one in hell and one in heaven, came back to confess the truth and expose how the devil ruined his life. A must read for anyone struggling to reconcile sin and mental illness.


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