What We Hear
©2010 Rebecca Rhielle
Pulling open the door, Sadie’s vision was filled with the wonder that was Noreen Davis. She was dressed in a dark, navy blue skirt set, with pearls at her neck and wrist. A navy blue pillbox hat rested atop her perfectly coiffed hair, completing the Jackie O look. Added to all of that were her impeccably manicured nails and sensible pumps. Navy blue, of course.
She was clutching a handkerchief in her left hand, already blotting at her eyes, though Sadie could see she had clearly not been crying.
“Hello, Mrs. Davis,” she said cordially.
“Hello, Sadie,” came the sniffling reply.
“Hello, Harpy,” Markie chimed in brightly, causing Sadie to fight down a grin.
“Won’t you come in?” she asked the elder woman.
“Yes, thank you,” Noreen answered, voice quivering.
It was all Sadie could do to not roll her eyes. Academy Awards, here she comes.
She heard Markie giggle at her thought.
Together they walked up the stairs to Sadie’s office, Noreen taking a seat in one of the plush club chairs as Sadie shut the door behind them.
Sitting across from the woman in the other chair, Sadie began their session.
“What is it you are wanting to know today, Noreen?”
“Well,” she sniffed. “I just know Markie’s been trying to contact me. You know how it is…certain songs come on the radio, signs that I’ve passed by on the road. Why, just this morning I heard a commercial for the Almand Center. You know – that place downtown that helps out wayward teens? And I knew, I just knew it was Markie trying to tell me how much she wished she could have turned her life around before she passed on.”
“Oh good grief,” Markie said. “Don’t they have medication for delusional people now, Noreen?”
Shushing the girl mentally, Sadie spoke aloud to Mrs. Davis.
“Now, Noreen, we’ve talked about misinterpreting signs before, remember? Sometimes the mind wants to believe something so badly that it latches on to anything that could support its theory.”
In an instant, the woman’s demeanor changed. “I do not pay you to tell me what I am doing wrong, girl. I pay you to talk to my daughter. So let’s get on with it.” Her mouth set itself into a firm line, the handkerchief routine all but forgotten.
Sadie sighed inwardly. Not for the first time, she wondered why she couldn’t have just gone into something simple, like brain surgery.
“Okay, Mrs. Davis. Let me see what I can do. Did you bring something of Markie’s for me to hold?”
Of course this was completely unnecessary, but Noreen had insisted that this was the way psychics did it on television, therefore it was the way Sadie was to do it, too.
Fishing through her purse (navy blue), Mrs. Davis brought out an elaborate cameo necklace.
Sadie could hear Markie chuckling. “That thing wasn’t mine. I never even touched it! She gave it to me for my fourteenth birthday. I left it in the box and shoved it in a drawer behind my underwear.”
Trying desperately to maintain her composure, Sadie took the item from Noreen, holding it in her left hand and pretending to concentrate. After a few moments she opened her eyes, telling the woman her daughter was now here.
“Ask her if it was her giving me all those signs. Ask her if she wanted to tell me she wished she could change,” Mrs. Davis asked greedily, eyes hungry for validation.
“No, and no,” came Markie’s reply.
Reminding herself how much she needed the money, Sadie worked up a smile and told Noreen, “Well, she says she has been trying to communicate with you.”
“I knew it!” the woman shouted. “Didn’t I tell you? I know my daughter, Ms. Johnson. I told you not to question me on that. See how wrong you were?”
Before she could reply, there was a knock at the door, and Gale entered with a tray full of tea things. As she placed it on the small square table between the chairs, Sadie was mortified to see it was one of her art pieces…the one with the Greek urn design around the edges and women enjoying various sex acts illustrated in the middle. Shooting a sharp glance at her partner, Sadie had to smile a little at the knowing wink Gale shot back as she shut the door.
Mrs. Davis picked up the teapot and began to pour. Much to Sadie’s chagrin, Noreen was studying the center of the tray.
“Is that…?” she asked, confused.
Laughter echoed again in Sadie’s head.
“She wouldn’t know what to do with that if she had a handbook,” Markie said.
“Why don’t you let me pour,” Sadie interrupted quickly. “It’s only proper for the hostess to serve the guest, after all.”
She reached for the teapot, surreptitiously pushing the cream pitcher with her elbow into the middle of the tray to cover the pictures.
“Well,” Noreen answered with a demure smile, “you do have a point. Sugar please, no cream.”
Thanking the gods for small favors, Sadie poured.