Again the dream: Pinch smiling, her skin glistening, her smile solemn. The pliant light of dusk folds over her body. A deep purple cloak spreads white, colors like a kaleidoscope ripples at its heart, red, blue and pale white. A hand moves out of it’s chest and swiftly, before I can wake, before I can scream, she is run through with an instrument that flares gold, blood bubbles and a whiff of vapor coils across the scene. A voice that is me but not me calls out a truth that I have known for too long: that when I wake to the soft shadows of dawn, she will be no more. They say that cops routinely dream about their partner’s death. So why should it be different for social workers? This is my dream of Pinch’s murder. It is as clear as I see myself in my bathroom mirror, in the soap and grease-encrusted mirror at work, and in the mirror that is Pinch’s eyes. I had told her about it, about how sometimes what I saw in my mind came true, how other times I just couldn’t know because it happened in places far away. She said she understood. Her grandmother had practiced voodoo.
“Perhaps you’re a Gran Met. A voodoo guide or something,” she had laughed.
It wasn’t until a week later that I remembered to look up the term in a history of voodoo in New Orleans. Gran Met: intermediary between the living and the dead. A priestess. Mildly shaken, I had gone to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and watched as tourists with cameras hanging from their necks scratched three Xs on Marie Laveau’s crumbling tomb. Mold and soot attached themselves to the stucco encasement no matter how often it was cleaned. Admirers and sycophants had cluttered the area with tokens, most of them trinkets that symbolized appeals for a better life. And then I heard children laughing, a sonorous but faraway tinkling, like a bewitched wind chime. There are times when we scoff at what we perceive as the irrational, brushing away stentorian alarms; and we pay dearly for that foolish action. I had done that most of my life, hushing the voices that begged for validation, closing my eyes to the pulsating shapes that followed me. As I surveyed the gaggle of tourists on that now far away day, I saw no children. Gran Met with two souls, one the gros bon ange which gives her the will to live and survive and connects her to the living and should she wish, if good works are done, she may return, I guess be reincarnated, for a better life. Soul number two: our personality, the face we see in the mirror, our earthly essence: ti bon ange. I walked away shaking my head and thinking perhaps it was time I paid another visit to the department’s psychiatrist. I had watched my mother sit at our kitchen table talking to people who were not there, soothing their fears, understanding their pain. The year before she died, she stared at me as though I had become air; the night she died, I was but a ghost in her life. My mother died a madwoman and that was something I never wanted to tell Pinch. Better a voodoo princess than the madwoman of New Orleans.
*****excerpt from: The Beatitudes, amazon.com, Lyn LeJeune, both book and Kindle. "An intriquing mystery, a paranormal thriller, a beautiful portrait of New Orleans and the culture of a American great city."