That night, a meeting was taking place at Mona’s house. Candles were lit and threw shadows on the walls, chanting would start them stop. Mixed herbs burned in their censers in the four corners of the room, swipes of white smoke danced and painted the air with their scent.
Mona sat at the head of a fold out table with BeBe on her right, who was armed with pad and pan. Raul and Sadie sat at their usual places.
Mona alternated between chanting and prayers in a mixture of languages.
“Madrina gave the watch to Adinah, so we know that she is chosen.” Raul said.
“She can be very powerful, she has the mark. She has no idea about the gift and we’ll need to encourage her somehow.” BeBe told him.
Raul snorted and looked over at Sadie, who was trying to focus.
“We wouldn’t have to do this if Sadie would have done what she was suppose to when she reached the proper age.” he glowered at her.
Sadie chuckled ruefully.
“I didn’t see you in my position, Raul.”
He leaned in closer with fake interest.
“What position was that, Sadie? Please, you didn’t want to be a mother anyway. When you stupidly showed off your gift, she asked you about it and that’s why you let her father raise her. So you could be free to ruin your life and not have anything change that.”
He mouth begged for the sweet liquid and pill that will reduce this to a muted scene.
“That’s not what happened.” she said weakly.
It was useless to try to explain to them what her life was like.
Her ex husband, Greg had gotten ill one day, when Adinah was still a teenager. She had performed a healing ritual. The room scented with powerful herbs and blessed water was sprinkled on him. A drumming sound was throbbing through the floor and the room became warm as Sadie lost herself in the beat and the trance.
The next morning, he was back to his usual self. Sadie noticed how amazed Adinah looked at him, as if he were a ghost. She tried asking questions about it, but Sadie refused. Eventually, she gave up and neither spoke of it again. Time went by so quickly and then Adinah was gone on her own way. Sadie felt that her daughter was always strong willed. From the day she was born with her eyes, open and a birthmark on the nape of her neck.
Raul didn’t even hear her, he had turned to Mona.
“We thought he was a real deadbeat, didn’t we, Mama? Good thing he straightened himself out. Look, she’s a doctor!” he was impressed with the endurance of the educated.
“Adinah will get stronger and someone will have to watch over her.” she said.
Sadie moved her head too quick and regretted it. It pounded at her.
“Mama, she’s my daughter. I can do it.” she pleaded. She was anxious to win Mona’s favor and to bring Adinah back into the family would give her a closer seat to her mother.
Mona shook her head, her eyes half lidded,
“She’s too strong minded to be told what to do and she won’t trust you without time, something we don’t have.”
She lifted her head and palms in the air, her eyes close and she called out to a spirit to come forth and join them. A ball of white opened up in a blink and the spirit showed itself in its purest form to the four, who smiled with satisfaction.
BeBe took notes and listened carefully to Mona’s plan as she explained it to her, Raul and Sadie.
The Botanica was losing money and potential customers because they didn’t have a good reader. If Adinah was in the family, she would eventually be trained to hone her skills. They could turn a tidy profit and most importantly, Adinah will conceive a daughter more powerful than her mother. This is the child that that will continue their ancestor’s line.
Their ancestor, Ruby Figueroa was a Santera in the Dominican Republic. In her village, she helped many and rumors started about her healing the sick and speaking to spirits. Despite them, she continued to ease their pains and their troubles, and they continued to come back.
A daughter born in the family was a blessing, but not every one had been gifted. When a girl was born with her eyes open and laughed with the spirits that hovered around her, she was trained in using the gift and the skills early. Mona had passed it on to Sadie, but she ruined herself with booze and drugs. Now, this was their chance to make a great change for everyone involved.
A spirit called Eaden sat on the arm of the sofa, watching Sadie go from rage to depression with rapid speed. Her apartment was untidy and smelled of liquor and cigarettes, it stilled in the evening air.
Sadie was sitting on the other end with a cigarette in her fingers and a drink in her other hand. Her hair was unkempt and she looked older than her forty something years.
“How is she?” Sadie asked quietly.
“She wants nothing to do with me, you know?” she told her as she fiddled with the butt of her cigarette with her thumb.
“I know, but who is responsible for that?”
Sadie glanced in the spirit’s direction.
“I tried, but it just didn’t happen the way it was supposed to.” Sadie explained and took a hasty drag of her cigarette.
“The shrinks didn’t help either and all I ended up doing was paying more money and getting nothing back.” she added as she drained her drink.
“Yes, I know.”
Sadie got up and went to make herself another drink.
“You know everything, don’t you?” Sadie called out from the kitchen. Ice cubes clinked down into a glass.
Sadie came back and returned to her seat.
“She’s still your daughter, Sadie. Maybe you have forgotten that along the way.”
Sadie was about to answer when her boyfriend, Manny opened the door and stumbled in. He looked down and kicked away what was in his way.
“Too busy to clean the house today,
sweetheart?” he said sarcastically. Sadie ignored the comment.
“Where have you been?” she asked as she watched him change out of his clothes.
“My brother’s house.” he said from the bedroom.
He didn’t work anymore because of an accident that caused severe damage to his back and has since received disability. He spent most of his days his brother’s bar, but Sadie knew that he had been cheating on her for the last few years. She didn’t need to see it, she could smell it on his clothes and skin, hear it in his voice, saw it in his eyes and most of all, felt it in her heart.
He wouldn’t be able to use her as an excuse either. If her truly loved her, he would love her whether she gain 20 pounds and let her hair go gray.
“Maybe it’s time to find out who loves you the most. You or him.” Edean whispered in her mind.
Manny returned to the living room and stood in Sadie’s view as she watched Edean drift away.
“What’s with you?”
She pulled him into focus and tried to blink away the haze.
“We need to talk, Manny.”
Mona sat in her chair and watched BeBe cook pensively.
It unnerved her and she had to break the silence somehow.
“Everything going fine so far, right Mama?”
“Fine? Of course it not going fine. Adinah is no closer to us. She has gifts that need to be guided and it will only get stronger with time. A daughter from her will be greater because we will be teaching her from a young age. There has to be a way to make this move a little faster.”
BeBe nodded in agreement. “Maybe if we bring them together somehow.”
Mona thought for a moment and then her face relaxed when she had found the answer.
“Call Sadie and tell her to come over, make it sound important.”
BeBe did what she asked and searched for Sadie’s number.
Thirty minutes later, Sadie was knocking on the apartment door.
BeBe opened and ushered her inside. She was disappointed that Sadie had not bothered to change her clothes. This had always confused her about Sadie. She acts as if she would do anything for Mama, but then turns rebellious and expects for others to take the blame.
She sat on the sofa and then noticed that it was just the three of them.
She tried to hear their thoughts, but alcohol dulled her senses.
Mona stood in front of her with BeBe at her side.
“Have you talked to Adinah?” Mona asked her.
“No, I don’t think she wants to talk to me.”
“How do you know if you don’t try? I mean, if you say she means so much to you?”
“If she wanted to talk to me, she would have found a way to get in touch.” Sadie explained, suddenly feeling dizzy.
“Why does everyone have to come to you, Sadie? Do you want special treatment because you are a bruja? That gift was a waste on you.” Mona told her in a biting tone.
The dizziness was rolling itself into a sharp pain in her right eye.
Fear couldn’t get through the agony, but the panic was coming on.
“What’s going on?” she asked weakly.
“It’s a shame that my blood is in your veins. You are worthless to this family, to yourself and most of all, to your daughter.”
The pain in Sadie’s head spread down to her shoulder and a tight band around her chest was blocking her breathing.
“Mama, please.” she pleaded. She tried to fight her off mentally, but didn’t have the strength. She became numb and paralyzed to the increasing pressure.
“You have been a burden to this family too long and we deal with the shame of your wrong choices every day. You are only hanging on for the attention and affection you think you will get.”
Sadie’s heart beat rapidly as she started to lose consciousness and gripped the arm of the sofa.
“Again, Sadie, you were wrong.”
Sadie was thrust into blackness and laid there still.
BeBe moaned loudly. “Oh, my God! She’s dead! Oh Shit!” she yelled hysterically.
“Shut up.” Mona said calmly and watched Sadie.
“Oh Shit! What do I do now? Call the ambulance, yes.” BeBe babbled as she jumped around nervously.
Mona grabbed BeBe by the arm and with an incredible strength, threw her to the sofa where Sadie slouched.
“I said shut up!” Mona growled.
“First, you will call the ambulance then call Adinah. You will do what I tell you and remember what I tell you. Understand, BeBe?” she said in a deadly tone.
Bebe’s hands shook as she dialed for help.
Julia Manuel on Poem #4 ingridfalconi on Poem #4 Julia Manuel on Poem #4