This woman was a difficult case: her moods were fragile and changed abruptly, and Michael was concerned that he might do nothing other than upset her greatly. A couple of times he considered just giving up on her and moving on to the next case, but giving up and moving on was not really his style. She had just loaded a washing machine, she hadn't brought a book with her today, and hadn't found a magazine or newspaper laying around. For the next few moments at least her mind would be very open, looking for something to do. This time was about as auspicious as he could hope for if he was wasn't going to wait indefinitely. And the woman had been waiting long enough for this problem to be solved. Michael materialized in the laundromat, sat down a couple of chairs away from her and pretended to look around the place randomly, but made sure that their eyes met long enough for him to smile and nod.
She said to him, "Your aura is very interesting."
Was it really interesting to her? Could she see his aura at all? Frequently it was not clear whether a human was seeing an aura, or just had a very vivid imagination. Michael's aura was a steady, deep blue at the moment; the woman's aura was jerkily shifting color and intensity, somewhat reminiscent of a pre-cable television with bad reception. Her distress was palpable.
"Is it really?" Michael asked, and leaned toward her, trying his best to look non-threatening.
She moved to the chair next to his and said, "Let me read your palm."
Michael hadn't expected an opportunity like this to present itself so soon, and he didn't feel completely prepared, but he felt he had to seize the moment. It occurred to him that the problem here might not be entirely the woman and her loneliness, as he had been thinking, but also his own indecisiveness. "Let me read your palm," he said. He took her hand and wrist in both of his hands and performed a simple manipulation to soothe her nerves. At once her aura stopped flickering like a bad TV picture; for a while it was a dark brown-green, but then it settled to a pleasant, mild yellow-green. Perfect.
"Wow," the woman said. "What was that?"
For a moment Michael was about to tell her that what he had done, any masseur or accupressurist could have done, although unfortunately few of the human ones were skilled at such things. He had to remind himself to do what he had come there to do. Mentally he repeated to himself the old saying: when you're up to your ass in alligators, sometimes it's hard to remember that you started out to drain the swamp. In this case the alligators represented Michael's own issues, his confusion and indecisiveness --
Focus! he told himself. Here we go: "I'm an angel," he told her.
Good, he'd managed to get this far without freaking her out. She seemed to believe him, and she seemed to be receiving the information calmly. "Are you my guardian angel?" she asked. She was as open as she could be, he hadn't had to do anything more than that little wrist massage in order to gain her full attention and trust. So why did this seem so hard? Why was Michael so scattered?
Focus! Michael told himself again. Do what you came here to do, and you can analyze yourself later! "Ah, no, I'm not your guardian angel. I'm just here to help you out with one thing. Look, I know you're lonely. I know you've been lonely for a long time. I'm just here to tell you to go and talk to Joe."
"Joseph Manelli, the guy who works in the office across the street?"
"Yes. Talk to him. Next chance you get. As soon as you see him leave the office. He's a nice guy. You're a nice person. He's lonely, too. Something nice could happen between you, you just have to get his attention. Just -- talk about the weather or something. You don't have to throw yourself at him or degrade yourself. Just be there, and something will happen, something good."
"He's the guy. Why can't he take the initiative? Why aren't you over there talking to him?"
"I'm talking to you about this because Joe doesn't believe in angels. He wouldn't be able to see or hear me. You should wait until you're with him for a couple of years before you mention me to him. If you ever mention me at all."
"Joe and I are going to be -- really together? For years?"
"Yeah. It'll be really good. He's a sweet guy. Not particularly open to metaphysical things, but -- "
Michael touched her forehead and mumbled a blessing in Latin, figuring that would work well in this case. For a moment his aura and hers were both pure white. Could she really see auras? he wondered. Then he started to prepare mentally for the next case.
Chapter 1, Part 2
Chapter 1, Part 3
Chapter 2, Part 1