The Smell of Circus

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Denise’s topic choice for this week: Write about a time (at least one, can be more) someone else described you and you were shocked — either because they were so wrong or because they were spot on.

I attended my first psychic fair the summer I turned 18. At the time, I was interested in all things metaphysical. I loved reading all I could on horoscope and astrology, often pinning certain characteristics onto my friends and family based on their birth date. A psychic fair seemed the next step in my budding interests.

The heat was nearly unbearable, out of the ordinary for Salem. Salem, Oregon, not Salem, Mass. The fair consisted of a variety of tents and booths on display, all outdoors and all random. There were palm readers, tarot card readers, psychics, aura photographers. Some were selling crystals or jewelry. Artwork. I had a $20 dollar bill nestled deep into my shorts pocket, a lot of money for me in those days. I had to be choosy.

I stopped in front of an older woman whose sign read: “Palm reading, past lives. $20.” I don’t know why I chose her. Maybe it was intuition. She didn’t look like someone you’d stereotype as a palm reader, a mystic. She was squat, with short graying hair, and quiet. She wasn’t trying to peddle anything, not like most of the others. I remember admiring that about her. I felt like I could trust what she had to say.

I was nervous, then. I always get that way before I’ve had my palm read, or my cards examined. You never know what will be said, and considering this being my first time I was even more nervous. I smiled shyly while she waved her hand at the empty seat in front of her. “Are you interested in having your palm read?” she asked me. I nodded and took a seat.

“For $15 dollars, I will do the reading. For $20, I can tape it for you. Which would you prefer?” She showed me a blank cassette tape, and a bulky tape recorder sitting next to it. “I’ll pay $20.” I told her, digging into my shorts pocket for the $20 crumpled up inside it. I felt a twinge of regret while I handed the money over. Something else I usually feel when parting with hard-earned money.

The woman stuck the cassette tape into the recorder, pressing “record”. Then, she reached out and grabbed onto both of my hands, palms facing up. I knew a little about palm reading, knowing my life line, head line and heart line. That was the extent of it, though. She studied my hands with intensity, which made me even more nervous. What would she find buried deep within the markings of my palms?

“You’ve had a hard life. I see you as a mother with a lot of kids, very poor. Living on the streets.” She peered into my palms. “I also see you as a man, a viking.” It was at this point where I started to seriously doubt choosing her to read my palms. She kept coming up with stories that anyone could conjure up. A princess in the Renaissance period. An avid bird watcher in the 1920’s. What was next, that I was Cleopatra in my past life? Doesn’t that honor belong to Shirley Maclaine?

“I see you working in a circus. You were a circus performer. There are elephants.”

I’d been looking down at my palms for most of the conversation, trying to see what she saw, trying to figure out what she interpreted by the lines and etchings of my hands. This time, I quickly glanced up at her and looked her dead in the eye. “What did you say?”

“A circus. You were a circus performer, and your act involved many elephants.”

When I was very little, around the age of 3, I had a reoccurring dream. In it, I couldn’t see anything. There was nothing but darkness, as though I kept my eyes closed the entire time while in my dream state. But where there was the absence of sight, I could smell and hear everything around me.  A strong smell of hay, the sounds of people talking. I could smell the animals, and I kid you not, I could hear the trumpeting of elephants. There was so much going on around me that I’d wake up from this dream feeling confused and disoriented. I’d never been to a circus and to this day I still haven’t been to a circus. Where did this memory stem from?

After the palm reading was over, the woman popped the tape out for me and handed it over. “Enjoy the rest of your day, ” she said with a knowing look in her eye. She knew she’d gotten to me.

Years later, I have no idea where that cassette tape is. I don’t remember a lot of the reading, but I’ve never forgotten the elephants. I’m not sure what I believe when it comes to mystical things, now. Age and life have dulled down my interests where the metaphysical is concerned, yet I will never forget my reoccurring dream, or the woman who knew about it just from looking into my palms.


4 thoughts on “The Smell of Circus”

  1. That is amazing. Isn’t it freaky what psychics can conjure up sometimes. I wish they had the past lives pavilion in real life like they had in “Defending Your Life.” That would be so cool!

  2. Ooh! I loved this! How funny that she hit upon something so obscure. I went to a psychic a few years back and some of what he said was general but there was so much he got right that it blew my mind. He had names and weird things, like, “You and your sister look nothing alike,” which is totally true. Clever interpretation of this week’s topic!

    1. I think as with everything, you win some, you lose some. Psychics are human, too, and can’t be right 100% of the time. They see/feel things that come through and have to guess on whether it’s something legit or not. Isn’t that crazy, how your psychic knew those things about you? That stuff always blows my mind!

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