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CHAPTER THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-TWO
Tuesday early morning — 2:13 a.m.
Sandy opened her eyes the moment Sissy groaned. Sissy’s days were painful but the early hours of the morning were horrible. No amount of pain medication took away this early morning intensive pain. Sandy flipped off the blanket and got up from the couch where she’d been sleeping. On her way to Sissy’s bed, she touched Delphie’s shoulder.
“I’m awake,” Delphie said.
As she had done every night since she’d arrived, Abi lay wrapped around Sissy. Her hands stroked Sissy’s long hair as she whispered in fairy language. Sandy had never asked Abi what she said to Sissy in these moments. Somehow, the foreign words seemed to strengthen Sissy.
Sandy sat down on the bed and took Sissy’s hand.
“Bad…,” Sissy said in an out breath. She sucked in a breath. “Tonight.”
“Should we get the nurse?” Sandy asked.
Sissy shook her head.
“Want to go home,” Sissy said.
The doctor had told them that as soon as Sissy was off morphine, she could leave the hospital. Sissy desperately wanted out of the hospital. Sandy kissed Sissy’s cheek.
“Ivan?” Sissy asked.
Sandy glanced at Delphie and then at Abi. The fairy gave a slight nod while Delphie looked conflicted. Sandy gave her an imploring look and Delphie acquiesced.
“How about if we see what we can see in a half hour?” Sandy said. “You usually feel better after a bit. You need to rest and…”
“Fine,” Sissy said.
She looked so frail and sick that Sandy kissed her cheek again. Sandy settled in next to Sissy on the bed. Delphie turned to the empty space and Abi waved her hand.
They saw the back of Delphie’s head as she stood in front of a tall and wide front door appeared. Her hair was crazy red and she was wearing one of her flowing skirts.
“I’m standing outside of Seth’s front door,” Delphie said with a nod.
Delphie knocked on Seth’s front door. She stood up straight to encourage herself. While she’d been to Seth’s home to visit Maresol over the years, she’d never been there Seth was home. She and Seth had a complicated relationship filled with strong feelings that defied definition. They had never been lovers and certainly were not friends. As far as Delphie was concerned, Seth O’Malley was Maresol’s employer. No more, not less.
Her best friend Celia had told her that her entire world would change because of this interaction with Seth. Celia had a powerful intuition about relationships. She was usually right. But Delphie didn’t want a relationship of any kind with Seth. In fact, she’d be just fine if things stayed exactly the same.
She never would have come if Maresol hadn’t asked. Maresol was an honest, big hearted, amazing woman who’d helped Celia teach Delphie how to live in the world. After all she’d done for her, Delphie could never say “no” Maresol. Delphie nodded to encourage herself and knocked on the door again.
A moment later, the door opened. Seth gave Delphie a wry look and stepped back.
“You’re so judgmental,” Delphie said. Her tone held the chiding quality of an elder sister.
“Yes, Mom,” Seth said.
Delphie chuckled. She held out her arm and they gave each other an awkward hug.
“I’m sorry about Mitch,” Delphie said.
“Me, too,” Seth said. “He wants…”
“I know,” Delphie said.
“I wanted to ask you…” Seth started.
Seth touched Delphie’s arm and they stopped walking. She turned to look at him. For the briefest moment, she had the feeling as if they’d done this very thing before.
“If you don’t get an impression for Sissy or for Charlie, could you just tell him that everything works out? He doesn’t have long and…”Seth finished with a nod. His face was etched with sorrow.
“Of course,” Delphie said. “If it’s any consolation, I can tell you that Mitch leaves this world in a very happy place.”
“He’s going to Thailand?” Seth asked.
“He will not allow himself to let go until he has manipulated the children’s futures to his liking,” Delphie said. “Including your daughter, Sandy.”
“He’s very ill,” Seth said. “Can he do that?”
Delphie nodded. They continued past the kitchen and formal dining room to a small bedroom next to the stairs. Seth opened the door for Delphie and she stepped through.
Her first impression was of illness and death. Mitch Delgado was sitting in a hospital bed attached to machines. IV fluids were dripping into his veins. An oxygen tank pumped air into the nose cannula. The glazed look in his eyes indicated that he had taken a variety of medications to help him through this interaction. Sick as he was, Mitch Delgado was the best he’d been in a long time.
Her second impression was of the small child sitting on Mitch’s bed drawing a picture and talking at the same time. The child was a girl just under the age of three. The girl was mature for her age and smart. The child had come as a surprise to her mother. The girl and her father were very close.
Maresol got up from a chair near the bed and gave Delphie a hug.
“Thank you for coming,” Maresol said.
“Mitch?” Seth asked.
Mitch touched the girl to get her to stop talking. The child turned to look at Seth and Delphie.
“Mitzi,” Delphie said under her breath.
“Don’t call me that!” the child said in a loud, indignant voice.
“I’m sorry,” Delphie said. “Sissy, isn’t it?”
The child nodded.
“I’ve heard so much about you,” Delphie said.
“Who talked about me?” the child asked at the same moment Seth said, “Mitch? I’d like to introduce you to Delphinium.”
“Like the flower?” Mitch’s eyebrows shot up in judgment. He pointed the child back to her coloring. She smiled at him and started coloring her page again.
“My birth name was lost to me,” Delphie said. “I picked this one. I go by Delphie.”
“It certainly suits you,” Mitch said in a tone that was laced with his sense that she was a flake.
Delphie gave the man a wide smile. Embarrassed at being caught in his own judgment, he blushed and cleared his throat. Seth gave him a strong look.
“Thank you for coming,” Mitch said, finally.
“How can I help?” Delphie asked.
“I need to know what happens to my children,” Mitch said. “Sandy, Charlie, and Sissy.”
Delphie nodded. Mitch didn’t respond. Silence hung in the room like a shroud. Sissy looked up from her coloring.
“I think he’s wondering what he needs to do,” Seth said.
“Do?” Delphie asked. “Oh. Nothing.”
“Nothing?” Mitch asked. “How…?”
“What is it that you’d like to know?” Delphie asked.
Delphie’s question cut him off. Unused to being interrupted, Mitch scowled.
“I need to know what happens to my children,” Mitch repeated. “Sandy, Charlie, and Sissy.”
“No, you don’t,” Delphie said.
“I think he means that he wants to know,” Seth said.
“He doesn’t want that either,” Delphie said.
“I do too!” Mitch said.
“No you don’t,” Delphie said with a shake of her head.
“How dare you!” Mitch said. “You come in here and waste my…”
“You’re the one who’s wasting time,” Delphie said.
“I think he…” Maresol said in a soft voice.
“No,” Delphie said. “He doesn’t want to know about Sandy because he knows that Sandy is best friends with Jill. He knows with friends like Jill, Heather, and Tanesha, Sandy will thrive. He’s said this very thing in this room not two days ago.”
Mitch gawked at Delphie. Seth started to softly chuckle.
“Plus, he’s in the process of purchasing her a condo,” Delphie said with a nod. “He knows that all Sandy needs is to cast deep roots in a safe place. The condo will do that. Plus, she’ll always have somewhere to live. Isn’t that right?”
Mitch glared at her for a moment before crossing his arms and looking away.
“He’s not concerned about Charlie because Charlie will always land on his feet,” Delphie said. “Charlie is smart, handsome, and charming. You know that he will struggle, as you have struggled. But that’s been the fun in your life. Charlie, like you, is a natural leader. If Charlie falters, Sandy will be there to help him. You’re not worried about him at all.”
Mitch scowled at Delphie.
“Plus, you’ve already arranged for Seth to hold partial custody of your children in case they need his support,” Delphie said. “And you know that Seth will spare no expense to care for your children.”
Delphie gave Seth a level look.
“You’re willing to help and support Charlie and Sissy, as well as your own daughter, Sandy?” Delphie asked.
“How did you know about Sandy?” Mitch asked at the same moment Seth gave a simple, “Of course.”
“Nobody knows about Sandy.” Mitch’s voice rose. He looked at Maresol. “You told her.”
“No, Mitchell.” Maresol shook her head.
“Sandy is my daughter,” Mitch said. “And I am her dad. Period. You get that through your flakey head.”
“Mitch!” Seth said. “You promised not to do this.”
“I won’t be bamboozled by…” Mitch said and started coughing. He gestured to Delphie.
“I’m so sorry, Delphie!” Maresol said. “He’s…”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” Delphie said. “When he’s done freaking out, we’ll get started.”
“With what?” Mitch asked. “I’m not doing shit with you!”
“Why is that funny?” Mitch asked.
Delphie pointed to the child. She was watching all the action with rapt attention.
“Why is that funny?” Mitch asked again.
“Show him the picture,” Delphie said to the child.
She nodded and gave the crayon picture to Mitch. He looked at the image for a moment and then turned it around so Seth could see it. The child had drawn an image of Mitch and Delphie with their arms around each other walking up a big mountain.
“What does it mean?” Mitch asked.
“She’s going to help you with your journey,” the child said.
“My journey?” Mitch asked.
“You know…” the child gave him such a sincere look that his eyes welled with tears. “She’ll go with you so you won’t get lost. She’ll make sure you don’t have to go alone.”
Mitch was so surprised that he just blinked. He stared at the picture and then looked at Delphie. He shook his head.
“You can do that?” Mitch asked.
“I’ve done it before,” Delphie said with a nod.
“Do you talk to… um…” Mitch finished his question with a nod.
“Yes,” Delphie said. “I will help you interact after you’ve transitioned. I can help you communicate with your family and keep track of the children.”
Mitch grunted a kind of sigh. He looked away while tears fell from his eyes.
“Why don’t I give you a minute?” Delphie asked. “Maresol, might I trouble you for some tea?”
Maresol moved toward Delphie as Seth went to Mitch’s side. The child lay on top of her father with her head over his heart. Delphie took one last look at Mitch before leaving with Maresol.
“That was me?” Sissy croaked.
“You are an amazing girl,” Delphie said.
“You and Dad were really close,” Sandy said. “You don’t remember?”
Sissy shook her head.
“You’re a little less than three years old there, so it makes sense you might not remember,” Sandy said.
Sissy sniffed back a tear.
“It’s been a half hour,” Abi said. “Should we stop?”
“Noooo!” Sissy wheezed.
Sandy and Delphie looked at each other for a moment.
“How about this?” Delphie asked with a nod. “There isn’t a lot left from that day at Seth’s. Why don’t we go through it? Abi can pick up Ivan’s story from him when he comes later. We can weave his story with Seth’s and go through the whole thing when Ivan’s working.”
“That sounds like a good plan!” Abi said.
“I like it,” Sandy said. “Sissy?”
“You want to start us off?” Abi asked Delphie
“Sure,” Delphie said. “Maresol and I made tea. When we returned to Mitch’s room, Seth had taken Sissy away. Maresol fussed over Mitch for a while before leaving too. I spent the rest of the day with Mitch. We talked about his life. I gave him perspectives on certain events that happened including his relationship with your mom, Sissy. After he was sure that I understood him, he asked what he’d wanted to know.”
“How do you do it?” Mitch asked Delphie.
He was sitting up in bed. Delphie sat in a chair next to his hospital bed. There was a small folding table in front of her with her old deck of Tarot cards. Delphie looked up and scowled.
“Do what?” Delphie asked.
“Do those cards make it happen?” Mitch asked.
Delphie held up the deck of Tarot cards in question. She blinked and realized what he was asking.
“The cards give images to my thoughts,” Delphie said. “They help me to pick out the most important thoughts in a field of ideas. They are tools which reflect my intuition.”
“Are they always right?” Mitch asked.
“They are a line of communication,” Delphie said. “Most of the time, they reflect what’s happening now. Every once and a great while, I have no idea what they’re talking about.”
“Like any conversation,” Mitch said with a snort.
“Exactly,” Delphie said with a nod.
She laid out three cards.
“So that’s how you do it?” Mitch asked.
“Are you asking me how I am able to know things?” Delphie asked.
“Yes,” Mitch nodded. “I mean, I’m pretty intuitive. O’Malley’s really good, much better than I am. And that music thing? He connects into something way beyond this world. Our intuition made us great detectives and kept us alive in ‘Nam. But we’re not like this.”
“How do you do it?” Mitch asked.
“It’s who I am,” Delphie said with a shrug. “In the ancient times, people like me were called ‘Oracles.’ We’re kind of a species of our own.”
“O’Malley’s dad went to an Oracle,” Mitch said. “Oracle Tabor.”
Delphie swallowed hard and nodded.
“He was upset because the boy played the piano all day,” Mitch said. “She told him that O’Malley had a rare gift. She encouraged him to send O’Malley to school in New York. O’Malley hates that Oracle Tabor.”
Delphie didn’t say anything. She looked down at the cards in front of her.
“She was a kid,” Mitch said. “A little older than O’Malley…”
Mitch fell silent. Delphie could feel his eyes on her head. She looked up.
“Was she right?” Delphie asked.
“That was you!” Mitch said. His face lit up. For the first time, Mitch looked like the vibrant man he’d been. “Oh my God!”
Mitch sat up in his bed.
“O’Malley,” Mitch yelled. “You’ve got to come in here.”
“Just so that you know.” Delphie’s voice became a fierce whisper. “I did not tell his father that Seth was not his son. I didn’t tell him that Seth’s mother had never loved the man. There’s a whole lot of things I kept back.”
Mitch turned to look at her.
“Why?” Mitch asked.
Delphie shook her head.
“You mean, you can see the effect of your own actions,” Mitch said. “You tell O’Malley’s crazy old man that he’s not O’Malley’s father. He takes it out on O’Malley mom and O’Malley and…”
“This way, the child got away from the abusive man and only returned when he was in a position of power over the father,” Delphie said. “The mother was saved. The other children grew up with two parents. And O’Malley was connected to his vital life mission.”
“And me?” Mitch asked. “Did you see me?”
“Of course,” Delphie said. “You and Seth belong together. You help him — stabilize his enormous talent. Without you, he would have fallen into madness. In turn, he has guided you through your self-loathing.”
“You set up his entire life,” Mitch said. “And mine.”
“You rang?” Seth asked from the doorway.
Mitch looked at Seth for a moment before gesturing to Delphie.
“She wants you to sit in on the next part,” Mitch said.
“Sure,” Seth said. He pulled over an armchair. “Why do you look so weird?”
“Weird day,” Mitch said.
Seth nodded and sat down. He looked at Delphie.
“How’s it going?” Seth asked.
“Good,” Delphie said. “We’re just getting down to Mitzi.”
“She hates that name,” Mitch said.
“Yes,” Delphie said with a nod. “Unfortunately, it’s her birth name. Until she chooses to change it, her name will remain Mitzi.”
“Can you do that?” Mitch asked.
“Yes, but that’s for another time,” Delphie said. “You want to know about Mitzi.”
Mitch nodded. Delphie created an intricate design with the Tarot cards. When she finished, she touched one card and then another.
“I didn’t see that,” Delphie said in a soft tone. She stared off in the distance for a moment before dealing more cards.
“What’s going on?” Mitch asked.
“It’s complicated,” Delphie said. “I knew I was necessary here but… Well I just didn’t see if before.”
“See what?” Mitch asked.
“You and I,” Delphie said. “We… I’m supposed to be here. I’m supposed to tell you what you want to know.”
“What?” Seth asked.
“It is fated,” Delphie said.
“What is?” Seth asked.
“This interaction,” Delphie said. “My being here. Your request for me to come. My conversation with Mitch.”
“You are intuitive,” Delphie said to Mitch with a nod.
“I’m what?” Mitch asked.
“You knew that Mitzi needed our help for her life to work out as it should,” Delphie said.
Mitch gave her an uncertain look.
“What are you saying?” Seth asked.
“We need to get to work,” Delphie said. “There’s a lot to do.”
Seth and Mitch looked at each other. Mitch shrugged.
“I wonder if you could go slowly,” Seth said. “Talk to us like we’re idiots.”
“It’s not hard to pretend that we’re idiots,” Seth said. “I know.”
“What are you saying?” Mitch asked.
“For most people, they are born in the right place,” Delphie said. “All of the pieces of their lives are near them or in relatively close vicinity. The people you should meet live in your town or are drawn to you from other towns. Maybe you have to move to another city, but everything is close. The work you should do comes into your life when you’re ready. All of the pieces of your life are scattered like seeds to grow into something when you are ready.”
“And Sissy?” Mitch asked.
“The pieces which make up her life are… sprinkled… everywhere,” Delphie said.
“Sprinkled?” Seth asked.
“Around the world,” Delphie said. She balled her fist with her fingertips near her mouth. She blew on her fingertips and unfolded her hand. “We need to bring the pieces together.”
“Pieces?” Mitch asked.
“Like furniture?” Seth asked.
“People,” Delphie said. “We need to find her soulmate and bring him here. Together, they will draw everything she needs to them.”
“And apart?” Mitch asked.
Delphie shook her head.
“What does that mean?” Seth shook his head in imitation of Delphie’s gesture.
“He will not last the year,” Delphie said.
“And Sissy?” Mitch asked.
“She will die early,” Delphie said. “Starve to death.”
“Starve?” Mitch’s voice rose with fear.
“What do you mean?” Seth asked.
Delphie looked off into the near distance for a moment. She scowled.
“Illness, I think,” Delphie said. “There is a man…”
“Sissy’s soul mate?” Mitch asked.
“No, another man,” Delphie said. “He will become Sandy’s partner. He is integral in Mitzi and Charlie’s life. Charlie more than Mitzi but Charlie for Mitzi.”
Delphie looked up at the men and nodded.
“What?” Mitch asked.
“She’s saying that Sandy’s partner will be important to Charlie,” Seth said. “By taking care of Charlie, Sissy will be relieved of the burden of her brother.”
Mitch nodded that he understood.
“Is that right?” Seth asked.
“Yes,” Delphie said. “We need to pull in this man so that when Sandy’s ready, he will be as well. He will be the love of Sandy’s life. He will also serve as a surrogate father to Charlie when Charlie needs him. By caring for Charlie, strengthening him, Mitzi will be able to thrive.”
She looked from Mitch to Seth.
“We have work to do,” Delphie said.
Denver Cereal continues next week…
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