By John Paul Jarvis


My best friend Mike was a cop, now retired.  A very intelligent man except for his choice of vocation, and most would suggest his choice of friends.

Skipping high school physics recurrently, we would frequent a tavern called the Islington House in attempts to breathe life into the doldrums of academia.  This became our default meeting spot for decades.

Fast-forward 20 years.  Mike left a message to meet him at the “I” as he needed to introduce Roger and Mary Martin.  Roger was a Barbadian banker assumedly down to earth because the Islington House was a dump.

Mike and Roger had a significant head start imbibing, rounding the corner approaching the point of no return.  In contrast Mary was sipping a Coke, regarding the pair with a wife’s practiced detachment.

Mary and I chatted politely as the slurred speech soared in volume, and then apropos of nothing, Mary asked me, “What is your birth sign?” Barely suppressing a yawn and in hopes of deflecting an unwanted oratory on astrology, I responded, “Equestrian,” drawing a snigger from Roger.

Mary smiled, turned to me eye to eye and began a quiet series of predictions that opened with, “You will not die in this country.” She told me facts about my life past and present that were impossible to know. She described minutiae that were personal, often intimate with clarity.

Roger glanced, rolling eyes observing, “Mary’s’ doing it again” while sustaining Molson’s Brewery profits.

I surprised myself and accepted the implausible immediately; “Do you get that reaction often,” I asked, gesturing toward Roger, she quietly remarked, “I don’t tell too many people.” “Why me?” I asked.  Mary simply smiled.

I asked quietly, “What is the downside?”  Her eyes dropped to her folded hands, “I have resigned two career positions, because I could tell that death was imminent for colleagues.”  I asked her the signs and Mary vaguely described an aura that surrounded the individuals.

She then told me aspects of my future that have become fact.  She looked at me anew and softly declared, “Understand, this is not a gift.”

Mary’s uniqueness surfaced in early childhood.  From a diplomatic family on Barbados, she was raised by Barbadian nannies.  These astute island women identified the child’s prescience by chance, and, based on trust, counseled Mary up to her teens on methods to filter her thoughts and statements.  Her parents never cared to recognize.

Mary sat back with a laugh, looked at me and said, “Taurus, May 18, the same as Pope John Paul II, and you both have the same name.”

I only recalled later that I had been introduced to her simply as Paul.

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