A Tale of Two Decks II


I met Elie Barnes in 1973 at Florosa Elementary School in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. She was the “new kid” with curly, blond hair and the confidence of an Amazon. While the rest of us paraded around in stupid Garanimal outfits, Elie wore the coolest thrift-store bellbottoms in third grade, and she walked through the world like she owned it.

She and I bonded over playing pioneer (her suggestion), reading The Chronicles of Narnia (my suggestion) and testing each other for ESP (her card-reading skills were far superior to mine). The friendship stuck even though my mom and I moved away by 5th grade. Even so, Elie and I visited over summer vacations, and when I eventually attended Tulane University, I loved visiting her family for Thanksgiving break.

After graduating college in 1985, I took my first real job selling petrochemicals out of Cleveland, OH. Having trained as an engineer I was slave to science, logic, and soul-sucking responsibility. So when my crazy neighbor Pat insisted we go to a tarot reader in Akron—“Just for extra information”—I was naturally skeptical.

I went anyway, and the accuracy of the reading as it pertained to my crappy mental condition at the time FREAKED ME OUT.

I concluded that I needed a deck of tarot cards and an instruction manual, tout de suite! And if I needed them then so did my best paranormal friend Elie Barnes. My crazy neighbor in Cleveland ferried me to her favorite witchy-woo-head-shop where I bought two tarot decks with interpretation guides. Eager for an infusion of soul, I visited Elie again over Thanksgiving in 1986 and delivered the sister deck to her as a gift.

In subsequent years, I read tarot for parties and fun, but Elie took her skills to the next level. Now she reads tarot, performs palmistry, and radiates her energy through Hex in New Orleans. The tarot deck I gave her 30 years ago is fragile and tattered—a testament to good use—and that pleases me to no end.

Still halfway intimidated by my deck, I keep it covered in silk and boxed in a cupboard. Every so often I unearth it, let the cards breathe, and marvel at their beauty. And when the wind inevitably whips up and the curtains flutter, I can’t help but wonder if it’s just coincidence...or if one deck is calling to its sister