INT: A SMALL HOUSE CROWDED WITH TCHOTCHKES AND FURNITURE COVERED IN CROCHETED THROWS.
JAN, a grumpy middle-aged woman in her pajamas, is making coffee when her phone starts to ring.
I'm comin', I'm comin'. Who's calling at 7:30 in the morning, anyway? Fix your own problems if they happen before my coffee.
(Walks to the phone and checks the area code. Muttering to herself)
Whoa, and calling from Florida? Okay, let's see. It's 5:30 there, so that's gotta be frantic consolation or an elderly widow.
Spin the wheel, spin the wheel…
(Answers the phone. In a mystical, ethereal tone, with a bit of a nonspecific accent that drifts from one dialect to another throughout the exchange)
Hello? Yes, hello? I'm afraid you'll have to speak up, my dear, the spirits are wild this morning. Mm. Yes. Yes, your aura is coming across to me very strongly across this line. I feel that something has happened to disrupt you this morning. You awoke feeling very unsure about something important.
You…you…hm? You wanted to know where the—hm? Oh yes, my dear, you want to know how your fuchsia wants to be cared for?
(Puts the phone against her shoulder and sits down at her computer)
Mhmm…I can see that this plant has brought you much aesthetic pleasure, but you are new to caring for this particular flower, are you not? Hm, well, I can hear its needs strongly. Yes, it has very specific needs.
(Reading on a website and occasionally checking her watch with a smile)
Oh yes, your fuchsia wants to sleep very much. It might seem like it's dying, but it's just waiting for the sun again. Yes, if you just put it somewhere cool and dark for the winter. Um…45-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes. But I am also sensing that the fuchsia was urging you along because it knew you were worried about something deeper. Yes, I am seeing much anxiety within you. For yourself, or perhaps someone close to you?
(Listens for a long time. Her accent falters for the first time)
Oh. Oh yes. And-and I sense that this was…this was a recent diagnosis, am I right? Yes, it's been very hard for you. You…you feel as though you are all alone, although you are surrounded by caring doctors and loving family.
All of them, huh? In a car accident? I mean, yes. Yes, I see them. You had children, am I correct? I'm seeing several faces…two…no, three? Yes, three. Happy, smiling faces, and so young, too. It seems they preferred their childhood forms, or they were taken from you too young…
Twelve and fourteen? And the third was younger, I can see. Eight or nine? Yes, nine. There's a boy…yes, the older one, he's saying something, you must focus on him very hard. He's saying, "We'll see you soon, Mom. We'll go to the…beach?" Is that right? The beach? Yes, I can see now that it was their favorite place to go with you. Yes, the girl is speaking now. I'm getting a word that starts with "R" or "P"…possibly a "B"…ah yes, "Barbara," yes, that was her name. She is speaking to me.
(Swallows painfully, unable to decide whether or not to say it)
Yes, she's asking me to tell you, ah, "It's not your fault." Yes. No, don't worry, dear. Yes, your tears are a healing thing. They allow the psychic juices to flow, they do. You are strengthening your connection to these precious children all the time. Your thoughts and prayers bolster their spirits. They know you wake up worried in the night. They know you worry about what comes after you…pass on.
(She closes the computer and rubs her hand over her forehead)
They want you to know, all three of them, that you have nothing to worry about. The little one, your little boy. Yes, the baby of the family. Your secret favorite, am I right? When you sat in the rocking chair and fed him as an infant, you were struck by the thought of your own mortality. You knew it would all move away from you so fast and that one day you would die. It made you want to hold onto him the tightest.
(She has been saying that more to herself than anything, and now she returns to the conversation)
Ahem. Well. He wants to tell you this: "We're ready for you here, Mommy. We can't wait to see you again." You see, there is no reason to be anxious at all. No, they didn't mention forgiveness. There's absolutely nothing to forgive.
(She is looking around her small, empty house with a sort of painful twist to her mouth)
Yes, they're fading now. They're waving and blowing kisses. Now they're gone. Yes. Yes, I hope that gives you strength. Now, I'm afraid that such a strong connection to three children has sapped a considerable amount of my psychic powers. I have to go and…recharge. Yes. Yes, thank you.
(She hangs up and takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. The phone rings and she answers it immediately, speaking in her regular voice without listening first)
Stop kidding yourself. I don't have any answers for you. Nobody does.