The Exorcism


I actually had a few super great days I felt the stars and I were in alignment. I met a new girlfriend who read and loved my book, I found a new location for my shop, and the latest photo taken for Facebook had me looking happy, no longer stressed out. Wow! When I looked in the mirror the face I saw was relaxed. I smiled, puckered, and kissed the mirror. For you honey. I’m back! The honey in that sentence is moi. I wouldn’t want to give the impression that the world really rocked and I’d met someone. Although in my current state of chaos, moving my shop eleven miles up the road to a new location, I don’t have time for anything else, much less a man!

I got several good days out of my mirror kiss. Then, like a date where you kiss and tell too soon, things started to change. I dumped myself. Yes, that’s right. I dumped that happy, gee I am looking good gal, and went back to reunite with the stressed girl I had just left behind. It was not pleasant rejoining the dark side of myself.

My shop was the culprit. I felt sure of that. I went from happy to neurotic in a blink of the eye. I felt like I’d split, becoming two different people. One was my evil twin being mean spirited to the new gal in my shop. The other was a gal somewhat paranoid about her business choices. Perhaps less coffee and more sleep would have been a quick cure. But I can’t give up my coffee and my business motto is I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

I had recently given a small space to a gal in exchange for a few hours of work a week. I was on stress overload trying to keep three shop buildings open by myself. I didn’t know her, but we had mutual friends. I was pleased I’d made this decision. Some of my other decisions had me wondering about my own sanity, but this seemed like a solid plan. What could possibly go wrong?

I think what went wrong was me! Everything she did caused a problem. I started to wonder if she was pulling the wool over my eyes about what she was doing alone in the shop. I worried she was trying to steal my few loyal customers. She talked too much about my business to others and I didn’t want anyone speaking on my behalf. I had my reasons for being uncomfortable with her, but that was not a hall pass to be rude. I was rude and I hated myself for that.

She came into the mix just as I was trying to sort out my own issues on whether to renew my leases. Within a week of her arrival I had decided to give notice on, not one, not two, but all three buildings I had rented in a sleepy hollow that had very little foot traffic. Three buildings were more than any one person could handle. I made many friends. I had only a handful of customers. A location in the nearby town came open where I could have my shop, and events, all under one roof. I jumped on renting it. The downside was that two of the buildings were under lease through December. The third was month to month, which allowed me the freedom to make this choice.

I broke the news to her. “I am leaving end of the month.”

She gave me a funny smile. I swear she was excited about the news. She had previously talked about my shop being in her business plans. She knew I still had my leases. Her smile was brilliant. Her eyes sparkled as she asked me, “What are my options for the buildings?”

I wasn’t very nice to her. “Your options are simple. Call the landlord and rent from him, or you are out next weekend.” Ouch. Did I really have that tone in my voice? I felt like a total bitch. Not that bad bitch, cool gal, but just a bad attitude bitch that made me depressed. She left and I curled up in my wing chair and closed my eyes. I had to block out the afternoon.

“Hey! Are you there?” It was my neighbor. “Are you seriously sleeping?’

In fact, I was. The stress and heat had me dead asleep for a few hours. It was dark outside the door.

She came in and plopped down on her corner of the yellow love seat. We shoot the breeze into the late night hours several times a week. Talk got around to the new gal at my shop.

“I didn’t know if I should tell you this, but the other day she and a few of her friends performed a ritual in front of your shop, to rid it of an evil spirit.” She paused to test my reaction. “She used oils and all. It was some sort of an exorcism.”

I watched her hands. She was flipping a deck of cards.

“You know, she tells customers my shop has ghosts. I don’t like her in my business. I told her to leave my ghost alone. I don’t want her performing any ritual down here.”

Again she was shuffling the cards about.

“She won’t mess with me because she knows I read Tarot cards.” She held up a card with a sword on it.

“Come on. You’re making this up!” I tried to make light of it and ignored the card. I had no idea what it meant.

“No, honey. The next day you came in and said you’d given notice to the landlord. I guess that demon she got rid of was you!” She laughed, then narrowed her eyes to show me she didn’t think it was funny.

I am not sure I believe in ghosts, but I do believe in the energy you create. Now someone had tampered with my energy zone. I didn’t like that one bit.

The conversation made me feel uneasy, so I was happy she got up to leave. “Wish you weren’t moving.” We hugged goodbye for the night.

Someone else stood in the doorway as she walked out.

“Saw the lights. It’s pretty late. Wanted to be sure you were OK.” I have many locals who come by the shop to chat. He is one of them.

I like this guy, but he talks non-stop to the point you want to put a pillow over his mouth to shut him up! He doesn’t come by to flirt with me; he just likes to have an audience when he talks. His wife probably enjoys the break when he visits. I usually try to rush him off before he gets cranked into his never-ending stories.

Tonight I was happy to see him. He seemed sane in a world gone a bit mad. Ghosts, Tarot cards, exorcisms; was there a full moon? Silhouetted in the doorway, he suddenly looked very appealing. Tall and thin, with a wisp of a beard, I found myself watching him with lustful eyes. I haven’t had a man around in some time, and, for a nanosecond, I wondered, what if? That phrase pops up more then I like these days and on too many different topics.

Stop that! My brain yelled at me. You don’t mess with married men. I was the devil looking at him with a hunger I did not need to feed. Obviously the exorcism hadn’t worked. That I even toyed with that word was as ridiculous as the idea of toying with the man in front of me.

“Can’t talk.” I pushed him gently towards the door. “Out! I have work to finish.”

I locked the door behind him and peeked out the window. There was a full moon in the dark sky. That would help explain the day, but it didn’t make me feel better. The quiet was overwhelming.

I wanted to call someone and talk. I felt like I’d bothered all my friends enough this week. I think back to all the folks who stopped in to say hello over the last few days. I talked until I watched them fidget, pull out keys and, while I was still mid sentence, get up to go.

“Gotta run. Dinner with the family.”

Then they left to be with loved ones and I stood there alone.

Some days I feel needy. On those days, I talk no more, or less then on any other day, but on those days, I feel I am talking too much.

What I really needed to do tonight was paint my two blue cupboards white and not listen to this mumble jumble. The blue does not go with my new décor at the shop. I grabbed the paint and eased myself down in front of the first cupboard. There is no reason to hurry. The dogs are fine. No one is waiting for me. No one has been waiting for me in the three years since my husband died. I was tired beyond words and the ghost of sadness had returned to haunt me.

I started painting and watched as blue slowly turned to white. Each stroke of my brush lightened my spirit. Blue to white. Yes, truth be told, I was blue tonight. But tomorrow would be another day full of the anticipation of my new shop.

I thought back to the day I kissed my mirror. I was euphoric at that moment. I had just given notice to my landlord. It was as though a huge weight flew out of my body. The release felt grand. Then for some stupid reason I fell prey to stress again. How many exorcisms does it take to get your head screwed on right? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

I have patched things up with my happy side. I’m not kissing mirrors, but when I look in the mirror, I like the image winking back at me!

Did an exorcism make me change shop locations? It is folly for thought on these cool fall nights. Change was needed to be able to keep my shop alive. I’ve moved and love my new location. What happened to my old shops you might ask? My vision of other businesses bringing life to the street has come true. Two of the three shops are rented and the third is being looked at. That gal who was the thorn in my side, who may have performed a ceremony in front of my shop, is my friend now. She rented the space she had wanted to control. She has a bright smile, a bit devilish perhaps, but I am happy she helped me see the light of change, however her method!

Barbara Barth, CEO of Life


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