Excerpt from "A Portal in Time"
March 18, 1999
West Hollywood, California
“What’s this all about?” Lucia pulled out a chair across from her sister. They sat outside on the sidewalk in front of the King’s Head Café in West Hollywood amidst the hum of traffic and the flow of patrons looking for available seating on Beverly Boulevard. “You sounded funny on the phone.”
“I sounded funny?”
“You sounded mysterious,” Lucia clarified.
“I didn’t want to get into it on the phone. I thought I’d wait to talk to you in person.”
“All right, I’m listening.” Lucia settled back into her chair and looked at Anna expectantly.
“You’re not going to believe this, but Kevin brought up the subject of marriage the other day.”
“Why wouldn’t I believe that? It’s perfectly understandable to me. Isn’t it to you?” Lucia laughed. “What did you say when he brought up the subject?”
“I skirted the issue, of course.” Anna’s tone suggested Lucia should know that.
“Wait a minute, did he just bring up the subject or did he ask you to marry him?”
“Well, it seemed to me he was testing the waters, but what he said was ‘God help me, I’m married to a witch.’ I’m not sure I was supposed to hear it, but that’s exactly what he said,” Anna told her.
“Wait a minute, back up, I’m getting lost. Were you doing something that made him call you a witch, or was he just making a general observation because he’s had enough time to realize that you are a little touched in that way?”
“In what way?” Anna sounded defensive.
“Come on, Anna, anyone who knows you knows you’re bent towards the uncanny, and I mean that with nothing but love.” Lucia tried to suppress a smile. “You’re the same way that Mom was—obviously these things run in families.”
Anna felt the immediate tug of her heartstrings at the mention of their mother, who had died of leukemia two and a half years earlier. Her illness had been a harrowing experience to both her and Lucia, absolutely draining them emotionally for the two years prior to her death. Her slow decline compounded the loss of their father when they were only teenagers, and now that both parents were gone, Anna and Lucia only had each other. Anna conjured the memory of their mother’s face, her tall elegance, and demure ways, and recalled that she, too, had an intuitive ability that everyone who knew her remarked upon.
“I don’t know that I’m anywhere near the way Mom was.” Anna leaned back. “Do you remember how she always knew what we were up to when we were little? There was no point in ever trying to fool her about anything because she always knew the truth.”
“Of course, because you’ve always been a terrible liar. Everything you’re thinking is always written on your face. You were the one who always gave us away to Mom, not me,” Lucia reminded.
“That’s not entirely true,” Anna volleyed. “I remember the time you tried to sneak out the upstairs window at night and found Mom sitting on the garden bench under the tree you used because she’d picked up on what you were thinking practically before you even decided to do it. She could tell just by looking at you!”
“You’re right about that.” Lucia nodded. “Mom was something else altogether, wasn’t she? I’m convinced she was clairvoyant. I think she knew how to read us both. I really do miss her every day. I think of her every time I see a sunset, every time I feel the change of seasons in the air, every time I see the full moon. She made such an event out of the little things in life, didn’t she?”
“She definitely did. She placed great importance on ceremonies and symbolism and things like that,” Anna said. “I see so many things the same way she did because she taught us how.”
“I do, too. What she did to the exact spot where Dad had his car wreck is a perfect example.”
“Well, a lot of people do a similar thing. I see markers on the side of the road all the time. Standing crosses with bouquets of flowers under them at the scene of a fatal accident. It’s a commemoration of a particular place where something significant happened.”
“Yes, but it was so much more to Mom than that,” Lucia reminded Anna. “That’s why she buried the key where Dad got in the accident. Do you recall that night? It was only two days after Dad died, but somehow Mom managed to set aside her grief in order to take care of business. She woke us up after midnight and told us to get in the car because we were going to conduct a ceremony.”
“I remember.” Anna cast her eyes down, then looked back up at Lucia. “She was always teaching us, no matter the circumstances.”
“She was. Mom taught us everything she believed. She was unselfish in that way.”
“I remember the cross she hammered into the ground and how she knelt and buried the key beside it, then camouflaged it with a rock. It was so important to Mom that we understand. I remember kneeling beside her to pray, and how she looked at me and asked if I understood the meaning of the word portal.”
Lucia’s eyes twinkled. “I remember you didn’t have a clue.”
“How was I supposed to know Mom wanted to leave Dad the key to a door so he could come back whenever he wanted?”
“Well, I can’t say I had a better understanding at the time. I knew a portal was an entrance, or a door of some kind, but I didn’t know until that night that a portal was spontaneously created at the scene of an accident.”
“Mom made it sound as if Dad chose that specific spot to walk through to the other side. She told me time was trapped, or rather stopped permanently, so that Dad could come and go through the door between worlds. She meant it and had absolutely no doubt.” Anna folded her arms across her chest as if a chill had reached her.
“Not to change the subject,” Anna continued, “but you do know some people can look through these doors if they’re sensitive to such things, right?”
Lucia narrowed her eyes. “I do know, and I think that’s the entire point. It’s about sensitivity, isn’t it? Maybe places where tragic events take place are more energetically charged, so to speak.”
“Probably so, but once again, you have to be sensitive to it. Mom was definitely sensitive. You’re kind of that way too, Lucia.”
“I’m sensitive to a certain degree, but not as much as you are. I’ll admit I have a certain amount of sensitivity with episodes of telepathy and that kind of thing, but when I do, it’s always with you. I don’t go around operating that way with everybody, you know. I assume it’s common enough in families, more so with siblings who are as close as we are, but I pretty much stop right there. You, on the other hand, are what I consider hyper-sensitive to everything and—
“I know, I know,” Anna interrupted. “That’s why I’m studying the subject. I’ve been told that if you learn how to develop your intuitive abilities, they become more pronounced. People who start to develop themselves intuitively are typically warned to be careful, though. It’s said once they do, strange things start to happen because they’re more sensitive. I’m not going to worry about that. My thinking is I have a responsibility to develop myself. It’s like a moral obligation, know what I mean?”
“I totally understand. You’re just saying that as long as you have it, you should learn how to use it, right?” Lucia clarified.
“I get it. Let’s get back to the bigger subject. What were you doing when Kevin mentioned marriage?”
“I was reading his auric field. I just wanted to see what was there, and I needed the practice. You have to keep in practice, you know.”
“Okay, that may have set off the subject of being a witch, which I’m sure he didn’t mean literally, but what about the marriage part?”
Anna replayed the conversation in her mind for the hundredth time. “Well, when I told him I wasn’t a witch, I followed it by pointing out that we aren’t married, and then he said we should be.”
“So, is there something wrong with him saying that?”
“Kind of.” Anna looked away, avoiding the subject.
“Anna, you obviously have something to say so let’s hear it,” Lucia encouraged.
A waiter appeared and placed two glasses of water and two menus on the table, then discreetly disappeared. Anna took her time looking over the menu, quietly closed it, and slid it to her right.
“I’ve been having funny dreams lately.”
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