TAROT TALES: THE MIRROR-Chapter 3

TAROT TALES: THE MIRROR-Chapter 3

Chapter 3 – The High Priestess

 TAROT TALES: THE MIRROR-Chapter 3

Claudia was a dab hand at many things, but cooking was one of her biggest passions. She could be as creative as she wanted to be in the kitchen. Since moving to England 10 years ago, she quickly became acquainted with the local grocery stores selling a myriad of herbs, spices and foodstuffs that the Bahian native had never seen before.

Back in those days, there was only a small Brazilian community in London, mainly plotted north side in Willesden and Seven Sisters. There were few grocery stores specialising in Brazilian produce and while Claudia missed some of the Brazilian food stuffs she was used to, she was quick to adapt.

With the few words of English that she spoke when she first arrived, Claudia managed to get by and grew fond of the local grocery stores she would frequent in Kentish Town. There were Indian, Iranian, African and Middle Eastern grocery stores. She would buy different groceries, herbs and spices, not knowing what the heck they were – after all, Claudia couldn’t read the food labels, and besides it didn’t really matter because she allowed her intuition to guide her and always made choices based on her intuitive awareness.

Claudia’s husband, Clive, thought his “missus” was “nuts” when she came home one afternoon with ground cumin, curry leaf, aubergine, coconut milk, diced lamb and bulgar wheat. “WTF,” he proclaimed. Not that he was expecting his wife to lay on a churrascaria-style meat spread, but he wasn’t all that impressed by his wife’s intuitive food choices. So while Claudia was cooking, Clive sneaked out to grab himself a £2.99 chicken and chips meal deal at Dixie Fried Chicken.

Clive fancied himself as a bit of a geezer, owing to his Hackney born-and-bred cockney roots. He was 10-years Claudia’s senior and had been “wheeling and dealing” as a travel sales manager for years. But in his spare time, he’d sell used mobile phones and electronics on eBay. He loved doing a “bit of business” as he called it.

Following a divorce from his first wife, Clive flew out on a blow-out trip to Brazil to check out the Rio carnival then on to the beaches in Salvador, which he heard were much better than Rio de Janeiro’s. He met Claudia whilst there – she was working at a local beach hut selling fresh coconut water to tourists and locals. Clive, baring his albeit lobster red chest, walked up to the hut in his Miami Vice-style espadrilles and bright white knee-length shorts combo. He’d chosen his “Sunday Best” beachwear especially to woo the beautiful Claudia, who he’d been clocking for a few days. Claudia was decked out in a white vest top showing off her ample bosom, and denim shorts with her full thighs and booty riding high. Her black curly hair resting on her bare shoulders and her reddish-brown skin glowing.

Clive thought he’d work up a tan to go with his Crockett and Tubbs-style “Sunday Best” before asking Claudia out on a date. The tan didn’t go well. Clive ended up beetroot red on his first day on the beach, and after four days of applying aloe vera gel and staying out of the blazing sun, he finally decided to sling his top off again and walk up to Claudia’s hut.

Claudia found Clive intriguing. The cockney geezer from Hackney had come out in full regalia, including aviator sunglasses a la Tom Cruise in Top Gun. “Coco de Agua por favor,” Clive said to Claudia. Lucky it was the only thing she sold, so he didn’t have to worry too much about messing up on pronunciation. Claudia spoke a bit of English, thanks to the tourists that descended upon Salvador in search of a different vibe to Rio.

Clive’s lobster red chest and greying chest wig was a sight Claudia had never come across before, but she liked the “gringo louco”. He made her feel comfortable in spite of his nerves. She mistook Clive’s jokes for nerves, but those funnies were Clive’s pride and joy. The pair conversed in a melange of broken English and broken Brazilian Portuguese, and it wasn’t long before the crowd had died down and Claudia and Clive were left alone again.

“Espere um Segundo,” Claudia said to Clive. “Ehhhh what?” Clive mumbled to himself. Claudia bent down in the hut and resurfaced with a worn-in plastic bottle. “Cachaca,” she said. “Sim,” replied Clive.

Whether he liked it or not, Clive’s ways were a bit of a “comedy of errors”. He tried to be smart about everything – cocksure that he was “bang on” each time – but he usually ended up being the last one smiling. He was very different to Claudia in that respect. She always followed her intuition. He always followed his head, but he would find his intuition eventually, fortunately when it came to matters of the heart. Claudia poured some cachaca into a plastic cup, before burrowing around for something in the hut. Clive used it as an opportunity to down the cachaca in one, like a tequila shot. He thought Claudia would be impressed. “Não” screamed Claudia, as she reappeared seeing that Clive’s drink had disappeared. “Mixy,” she said pointing to a plastic bottle filled with pink guava juice.

Damn, Clive’s throat started to burn. The bright pink of the fresh guava juice resembled the colour of Clive’s upper arms, Claudia noticed. She started to laugh as she pressed the bottle up against Clive arm, which was starting to peel again. Two more cups of cachaca with guava juice later and Clive found himself back on the beach as Claudia’s stall was starting to get busy again. The cockney geezer was starting to feel giddy in the sun, and it wasn’t long before Clive felt like he was walking on quick sand. His steps started to feel heavy and his head was spinning, then clunk, he fell flat in the sand, his face buried in the sand literally and metaphorically. News spread fast that the “gringo louco” Englishman had passed out on the beach. He may have made a “bit of a tit” of himself that day, but Clive still landed his lady and the couple became inseparable after that.

Not long after Claudia had arrived in England, she fell pregnant. Clive wasn’t too impressed as he already had three teenage daughters from his previous marriage whom he found a handful. And now one more girl was on the way. He was clearly outnumbered by the women in the households. One ex-wife and three daughters in one house he was financing. And a new wife, her teenage daughter and their lil’un on the way in the other house, but at least there was Marcelo. Another male to have around. Someone that Clive could show off his DIY skills to and take to football matches.

But little Marcelo, contrary to belief that all Brazilians are mad about futebol, was not into football and neither was he bothered about DIY. He’d much rather play a computer game, rip up a computer’s hard drive and rebuild it from scratch. Even from a young age, Marcelo was a bit of a tech-wizz. Coming to England planted that seed and he was willing to experiment.

One thing Marcelo had inherited from his step dad was his “bit of business” malarkey. Marcelo was into programming and by the age of 15 was experimenting with hacking. He and his best mate, Leo, had tried to hack into the A-Level examining boards control panel to see if they could find some “cheat sheets” if it were. It didn’t work. Karma hit both of them pretty quick – Leo failing his exams and Marcelo coming down with a virus, and not a computer one at that, during the exam period and was out for weeks with glandular fever.

The pair had to sit their exams the following summer. Leo to retake and Marcelo for the first time. Marcelo came out with flying colours, having missed his initial opportunity. Choosing not to go to university, Marcelo opted to take a full-time job at The Apple Store in Covent Garden offering technical support at the Genius Bar. Marcelo wanted to be a graphic designer – but not right now – he was happy where he was for the time being.

The door bell rang in the Sanderson household. Luna, Marcelo’s nine-year-old sister, pulled him by the arm as he sat slumped in the sofa in the front room. “Come on, it’s Leo. He’s here,” she squawked. Marcelo opened the door to Leo. Luna grabbed Leo’s leg as he entered the door, while the bessie mates gave each other a high five.

Leo took Luna’s hand and ran with her down the hallway and into the kitchen. Marcelo took small steps behind them. There was Claudia in her hoodie and lounge pants. Her black and silver hair was down, but a floral alice band was keeping her hair away from her face. She was flushed from the cooking. On fire as usual, according to Leo. Claudia leaned back from the stove to give Leo a kiss on both cheeks. He took his backpack off, reaching for a bottle of Beaujolais and handing it to Claudia. She had grown fond of wine while in England, a drinking pleasure that was not so big back home.

“How is my second son today?” Claudia said in a slightly truncated accent.

“Good, all the better for seeing you mama,” he cheekily replied. “Sit down, dinner’s nearly ready,” Claudia added.

Marcelo and Leo grabbed a seat at opposite ends of the kitchen table. Luna perched right next to Leo. She’d be in his lap if she could. Leo didn’t fancy that much as she was getting heavy. She wanted to hold hands with Leo each time he came over. Leo was starting to find it annoying so believed if he played with her, she would back off. It didn’t work. She couldn’t care less if he played with her or not, just as long as she could stare at him lovingly even from a distance. See Luna had developed a crush on Leo, much in the same way he had on her mum.

Fortunately for Leo, it was nearly eight o’clock and time for Clive to put his “little madam” to bed as it was a school night. Great, Leo could have a chat to Claudia about his “visions” without being pestered by a little kid blowing kisses at him. Marcelo was ok. Leo shared everything with Marcelo, although Leo had failed to mention the school boy crush he had on Marcelo’s mum. However, that didn’t go unnoticed by Marcelo nor Clive. Clive would moan about “that blimmin Italian boy stealing looks at my wife while I’m not looking. Thinks I don’t know. Italian Stallion, my ass, more like, Italian Steal-ion”.

Fortunately for Leo and Marcelo, Clive never spent time with them when Leo was around. Clive was much happier pottering around the house, doing a spot of DIY or a “bit of business” and muttering to himself rather than having a mother’s meeting with his wife and whom he called the “big girl’s blouses Marcelo and Leo”.

Claudia had put on a feast for Leo. She’d made moqueca de peixe, a Brazilian fish stew with coconut milk, served with rice. The boys and Claudia tucked in to dinner. The diners were quiet for a few minutes, until Claudia stood up. “I forgot,” she said. She proceeded to the oven where she took out a tray of baked treats – pao de queijo – cheese balls to Leo.

“Leo, your favourite,” she said, as she placed them on a plate and walked back over to the table. “Ehh,” Leo muttered mid-mouthful. He looked like he’d seen a ghost. “Ehh…think I’ll pass on that tonight, thanks,” he said. The visions of The Magician and his Brazilian escapade came to mind again.

“Hey Marcelo. Guess who came into the coffee shop today?” he said.

“Dunno. Beyonce?” asked Marcelo.

“Nah, I wish,” said Leo. “You remember The Magician from school.”

“What, Mr Parker?” queried Marcelo. “Our CDT teacher?”

“Yep. Apparently he runs a shop in Hoxton Street selling furniture and stuff. He invited us to go visit him sometime, if you’re up for it?”

“Sure,” said Marcelo. “I don’t mind. The only teacher I really liked at Greycoats.”

“Ermm another thing,” Leo said turning his attention to Claudia. “I keep getting these visions. They are becoming more and more frequent and I don’t know how to control them.”

“Son, what you seen this time?” she said, her face looked perplexed. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“No,” he said. “Not this time. It’s more than that. Mr Parker’s bits to be precise.”

“Whaaaat?” Marcelo screeched, spitting out his spoonful of food. “WTF you sayin’ bruv?”

“Ehh sorry,” said Leo, all flustered realising how what he’d just said may have come out the wrong way. “When Mr Parker came in today, he started reminiscing about a trip to Brazil he went on in the ‘60s and I wasn’t sure if he meant a trip as in vacation or a drug fuelled trip. Turns out he was on sumtin’ and I became party to that journey. I saw him butt naked in the Amazon, trippin’ his nuts off.”

Claudia let out a roar of laughter. Leo turned to see her beating her hands on the table and laughing her ass off if it were. Claudia had a calm, graceful and peaceful demeanour, so when she laughed it was raucous. A bit like a laughing Buddha, Leo thought, only with boobs, booty and mad curly hair.

She paused for a moment and regained her composure, looking into Leo’s eyes. “Son, you are coming into your powers,” she said. “Your psychic abilities are just getting stronger as you awaken.”

“You are going to be telling me to take ayahuasca next and be cleansed,” Leo warbled. “I’m not ready for any epiphany moment right now.”

“Hey,” Claudia’s tone was strict this time, pointing her finger at her son and his best mate. “You boys better stay away from ayahuasca, ok? Besides you can’t find it here anymore, it’s been banned.”

“Errr Remo said,” Marcelo chipped in. Leo kicked Marcelo under the table to stop him talking. Marcelo wasn’t going to be banging on about his “Brazilian links” again, was he? Especially not in front of his mum. Marcelo could be naïve like that at times, and often blurted things out without thinking. So many times Leo had gotten him out of “pickles”.

“I think Mr Parker had taken ayahuasca from what I saw,” Leo said.

“Probably,” said Claudia. “But Leo, I’m sensing that you are in the midst of a spiritual awakening, whether you like it or not. A stirring of the Soul, honey. For most of us it happens in our latter years. Late 20s and in our 30s, but you my son are an early starter. Hold tight and roll with it. It’s your time.”

“This isn’t making sense to me,” Leo said puzzled. “What are you saying?”

“Be who you truly are Leo,” she added, giving a deep look to Leo. “It’s your time. Seek answers from within you and let your intuition guide you, ok?”

“I’m not sure I’m understanding you,” he said. Marcelo didn’t look surprised. There were many persons that visited his mum seeking guidance, since as far back as he could remember. She was a wise woman, The High Priestess of the Bairro de São Marcos in Salvador. People would come to her seeking assistance, whether it was herbs for ailments or tarot readings. She would channel her higher mind or “consult with the Orishas” to give people guidance on their life paths. Leo was just a lot younger than most of the folk that Claudia had come across. And Marcelo wasn’t surprised that his best mate was now seeking counsel from his mum about his abilities. Marcelo was aware a long time ago of his friend’s powers. Himself a wizard – a tech wizard in the physical world – Marcelo knew exactly who Leo was even if Leo couldn’t see it himself.

“Hmmm,” Claudia said, taking a breath and looking at Leo. Only this time, she wasn’t looking into his eyes but around him, like she was sensing something. Then she stared directly into his eyes again, smiling lovingly. “Have you met her yet?” she asked.

“Met who?” Leo said.

“Hmmm,” Claudia said. “I take that as a no.”

Switching her focus to her son, Claudia said: “Marcelo, honey. Could you please get my mobile phone and glasses from the front room?”

Marcelo obligingly went to the front room to attend to his mum’s requests. Leo was sat quietly, still eating, when Marcelo returned. He was still politely refusing the pao de quiejo. Claudia was at the sink making a start on washing the dishes.

“Mãe, here,” Marcelo said, putting his mum’s mobile phone and glasses on the table by her seat. Taking her seat again, Claudia put her glasses on and went into her contacts list. A minute later she started to call a number. “Boa noite, Estrellar. It’s Claudia,” she said, before running into a dialogue in Brazilian Portugese.

Marcelo and Leo chatted amongst themselves for five minutes, but Marcelo was more pre-occupied with his mum’s conversation with his “Auntie”. Estrellar and Claudia had grown up together. Estrellar had come to England in the 1980s in search of a new life. She never went back to Bahia, staying in England and marrying a Brazilian guy she met through friends in London. The couple had two sons in their 20s. Estrellar was much like Claudia – she could turn her hands to anything she wanted and she did. She ran a business supplying hair weaves to Brazilian hairdressers in the capital, and imported gemstones and Amethyst geodes from Brazil to the UK. She ran her business online but was looking for a retail outlet to also trade from. That was just part of her work. Her “real work”, if it were, was her psychic work and energetic healing. She was a master psychic and did readings for people. Her clients were mainly through word-of-mouth and she had a number of celebrity clients who would call her at all hours. The celebs would even offer to fly her to whichever country they were touring in so she could do some energetic work for them. She rarely agreed.

Claudia hung up and put her mobile on the table. She took off her glasses and placed them on her head. “Leo, I have someone who can help you,” Claudia said. “Take a visit to my good friend, Estrellar and she will show you how to use your skills and develop them in a way that won’t be a hindrance for you.”

“But you’re psychic Claudia,” Leo said, as he started to feel a little anxious. “You can help me. There’s nobody more skilled than you. Marcelo told me they used to call you the High Priestess in Salvador.”

“Leo,” she said. “Estrellar is the best person to help you in this case. She will point you in the right direction, trust me.

“She will see you at her shop. She has a pop-up store – it’s been open about two weeks now. It’s in Shoreditch, near where you work isn’t that? It’s all meant to be.” Claudia said smiling. In fact she hadn’t stopped smiling mid-call to Estrellar nor now.

Leo felt like he was missing something. Even Marcelo looked like he was in on some kind of secret. “Dude,” Leo turned to Marcelo. “What’s with all the smiling?”

“No reason Leo,” Marcelo said. “You know me, I’m a content kind of guy.”

Claudia’s mobile phone vibrated on the table. She received a text message from Estrellar. Claudia read the text and forwarded it to Leo. Leo’s iPhone buzzed. He read the message. It was an address for Estrellar’s “Brazilian Emporium” pop-up shop in Shoreditch. That’s literally a few blocks down from Citizens of Coffee, Leo said to himself as he read the address.

“Leo, she wants to see you in the next few days, ok?” Claudia said. “Don’t be scared of Estrellar. She’s a good woman. A second mother to Marcelo. See, ask him?”

Marcelo nodded. “She’s right Leo,” he said. “Relax. She won’t bite.”

“I will call you to see whether you have gone to Estrellar or not,” Claudia said. “If you don’t, you got mama on your back, ok?”

Leo sighed. He could live with Claudia jamming up his phone and checking up on him. Suddenly he managed a smile. It appeared that the smiles in the Sanderson household were infectious this evening. Claudia looked at Leo again, this time in a proud mother kind of way. True love is in the air, Claudia thought to herself.

Twins At Work are a writing duo. ‘Tarot Tales: The Mirror’, their latest book, is inspired by the world around them, its inhabitants and life lessons. See how ‘Tarot Tales’ unfolds here at Ravenhawks Magazine.

Chapter 3 – The High Priestess

Claudia was a dab hand at many things, but cooking was one of her biggest passions. She could be as creative as she wanted to be in the kitchen. Since moving to England 10 years ago, she quickly became acquainted with the local grocery stores selling a myriad of herbs, spices and foodstuffs that the Bahian native had never seen before.

Back in those days, there was only a small Brazilian community in London, mainly plotted north side in Willesden and Seven Sisters. There were few grocery stores specialising in Brazilian produce and while Claudia missed some of the Brazilian food stuffs she was used to, she was quick to adapt.

With the few words of English that she spoke when she first arrived, Claudia managed to get by and grew fond of the local grocery stores she would frequent in Kentish Town. There were Indian, Iranian, African and Middle Eastern grocery stores. She would buy different groceries, herbs and spices, not knowing what the heck they were – after all, Claudia couldn’t read the food labels, and besides it didn’t really matter because she allowed her intuition to guide her and always made choices based on her intuitive awareness.

Claudia’s husband, Clive, thought his “missus” was “nuts” when she came home one afternoon with ground cumin, curry leaf, aubergine, coconut milk, diced lamb and bulgar wheat. “WTF,” he proclaimed. Not that he was expecting his wife to lay on a churrascaria-style meat spread, but he wasn’t all that impressed by his wife’s intuitive food choices. So while Claudia was cooking, Clive sneaked out to grab himself a £2.99 chicken and chips meal deal at Dixie Fried Chicken.

Clive fancied himself as a bit of a geezer, owing to his Hackney born-and-bred cockney roots. He was 10-years Claudia’s senior and had been “wheeling and dealing” as a travel sales manager for years. But in his spare time, he’d sell used mobile phones and electronics on eBay. He loved doing a “bit of business” as he called it.

Following a divorce from his first wife, Clive flew out on a blow-out trip to Brazil to check out the Rio carnival then on to the beaches in Salvador, which he heard were much better than Rio de Janeiro’s. He met Claudia whilst there – she was working at a local beach hut selling fresh coconut water to tourists and locals. Clive, baring his albeit lobster red chest, walked up to the hut in his Miami Vice-style espadrilles and bright white knee-length shorts combo. He’d chosen his “Sunday Best” beachwear especially to woo the beautiful Claudia, who he’d been clocking for a few days. Claudia was decked out in a white vest top showing off her ample bosom, and denim shorts with her full thighs and booty riding high. Her black curly hair resting on her bare shoulders and her reddish-brown skin glowing.

Clive thought he’d work up a tan to go with his Crockett and Tubbs-style “Sunday Best” before asking Claudia out on a date. The tan didn’t go well. Clive ended up beetroot red on his first day on the beach, and after four days of applying aloe vera gel and staying out of the blazing sun, he finally decided to sling his top off again and walk up to Claudia’s hut.

Claudia found Clive intriguing. The cockney geezer from Hackney had come out in full regalia, including aviator sunglasses a la Tom Cruise in Top Gun. “Coco de Agua por favor,” Clive said to Claudia. Lucky it was the only thing she sold, so he didn’t have to worry too much about messing up on pronunciation. Claudia spoke a bit of English, thanks to the tourists that descended upon Salvador in search of a different vibe to Rio.

Clive’s lobster red chest and greying chest wig was a sight Claudia had never come across before, but she liked the “gringo louco”. He made her feel comfortable in spite of his nerves. She mistook Clive’s jokes for nerves, but those funnies were Clive’s pride and joy. The pair conversed in a melange of broken English and broken Brazilian Portugese, and it wasn’t long before the crowd had died down and Claudia and Clive were left alone again.

“Espere um Segundo,” Claudia said to Clive. “Ehhhh what?” Clive mumbled to himself. Claudia bent down in the hut and resurfaced with a worn-in plastic bottle. “Cachaca,” she said. “Sim,” replied Clive.

Whether he liked it or not, Clive’s ways were a bit of a “comedy of errors”. He tried to be smart about everything – cocksure that he was “bang on” each time – but he usually ended up being the last one smiling. He was very different to Claudia in that respect. She always followed her intuition. He always followed his head, but he would find his intuition eventually, fortunately when it came to matters of the heart. Claudia poured some cachaca into a plastic cup, before burrowing around for something in the hut. Clive used it as an opportunity to down the cachaca in one, like a tequila shot. He thought Claudia would be impressed. “Não” screamed Claudia, as she reappeared seeing that Clive’s drink had disappeared. “Mixy,” she said pointing to a plastic bottle filled with pink guava juice.

Damn, Clive’s throat started to burn. The bright pink of the fresh guava juice resembled the colour of Clive’s upper arms, Claudia noticed. She started to laugh as she pressed the bottle up against Clive arm, which was starting to peel again. Two more cups of cachaca with guava juice later and Clive found himself back on the beach as Claudia’s stall was starting to get busy again. The cockney geezer was starting to feel giddy in the sun, and it wasn’t long before Clive felt like he was walking on quick sand. His steps started to feel heavy and his head was spinning, then clunk, he fell flat in the sand, his face buried in the sand literally and metaphorically. News spread fast that the “gringo louco” Englishman had passed out on the beach. He may have made a “bit of a tit” of himself that day, but Clive still landed his lady and the couple became inseparable after that.

Not long after Claudia had arrived in England, she fell pregnant. Clive wasn’t too impressed as he already had three teenage daughters from his previous marriage whom he found a handful. And now one more girl was on the way. He was clearly outnumbered by the women in the households. One ex-wife and three daughters in one house he was financing. And a new wife, her teenage daughter and their lil’un on the way in the other house, but at least there was Marcelo. Another male to have around. Someone that Clive could show off his DIY skills to and take to football matches.

But little Marcelo, contrary to belief that all Brazilians are mad about futebol, was not into football and neither was he bothered about DIY. He’d much rather play a computer game, rip up a computer’s hard drive and rebuild it from scratch. Even from a young age, Marcelo was a bit of a tech-wizz. Coming to England planted that seed and he was willing to experiment.

One thing Marcelo had inherited from his step dad was his “bit of business” malarkey. Marcelo was into programming and by the age of 15 was experimenting with hacking. He and his best mate, Leo, had tried to hack into the A-Level examining boards control panel to see if they could find some “cheat sheets” if it were. It didn’t work. Karma hit both of them pretty quick – Leo failing his exams and Marcelo coming down with a virus, and not a computer one at that, during the exam period and was out for weeks with glandular fever.

The pair had to sit their exams the following summer. Leo to retake and Marcelo for the first time. Marcelo came out with flying colours, having missed his initial opportunity. Choosing not to go to university, Marcelo opted to take a full-time job at The Apple Store in Covent Garden offering technical support at the Genius Bar. Marcelo wanted to be a graphic designer – but not right now – he was happy where he was for the time being.

The door bell rang in the Sanderson household. Luna, Marcelo’s nine-year-old sister, pulled him by the arm as he sat slumped in the sofa in the front room. “Come on, it’s Leo. He’s here,” she squawked. Marcelo opened the door to Leo. Luna grabbed Leo’s leg as he entered the door, while the bessie mates gave each other a high five.

Leo took Luna’s hand and ran with her down the hallway and into the kitchen. Marcelo took small steps behind them. There was Claudia in her hoodie and lounge pants. Her black and silver hair was down, but a floral alice band was keeping her hair away from her face. She was flushed from the cooking. On fire as usual, according to Leo. Claudia leaned back from the stove to give Leo a kiss on both cheeks. He took his backpack off, reaching for a bottle of Beaujolais and handing it to Claudia. She had grown fond of wine while in England, a drinking pleasure that was not so big back home.

“How is my second son today?” Claudia said in a slightly truncated accent.

“Good, all the better for seeing you mama,” he cheekily replied. “Sit down, dinner’s nearly ready,” Claudia added.

Marcelo and Leo grabbed a seat at opposite ends of the kitchen table. Luna perched right next to Leo. She’d be in his lap if she could. Leo didn’t fancy that much as she was getting heavy. She wanted to hold hands with Leo each time he came over. Leo was starting to find it annoying so believed if he played with her, she would back off. It didn’t work. She couldn’t care less if he played with her or not, just as long as she could stare at him lovingly even from a distance. See Luna had developed a crush on Leo, much in the same way he had on her mum.

Fortunately for Leo, it was nearly eight o’clock and time for Clive to put his “little madam” to bed as it was a school night. Great, Leo could have a chat to Claudia about his “visions” without being pestered by a little kid blowing kisses at him. Marcelo was ok. Leo shared everything with Marcelo, although Leo had failed to mention the school boy crush he had on Marcelo’s mum. However, that didn’t go unnoticed by Marcelo nor Clive. Clive would moan about “that blimmin Italian boy stealing looks at my wife while I’m not looking. Thinks I don’t know. Italian Stallion, my ass, more like, Italian Steal-ion”.

Fortunately for Leo and Marcelo, Clive never spent time with them when Leo was around. Clive was much happier pottering around the house, doing a spot of DIY or a “bit of business” and muttering to himself rather than having a mother’s meeting with his wife and whom he called the “big girl’s blouses Marcelo and Leo”.

Claudia had put on a feast for Leo. She’d made moqueca de peixe, a Brazilian fish stew with coconut milk, served with rice. The boys and Claudia tucked in to dinner. The diners were quiet for a few minutes, until Claudia stood up. “I forgot,” she said. She proceeded to the oven where she took out a tray of baked treats – pao de queijo – cheese balls to Leo.

“Leo, your favourite,” she said, as she placed them on a plate and walked back over to the table. “Ehh,” Leo muttered mid-mouthful. He looked like he’d seen a ghost. “Ehh…think I’ll pass on that tonight, thanks,” he said. The visions of The Magician and his Brazilian escapade came to mind again.

“Hey Marcelo. Guess who came into the coffee shop today?” he said.

“Dunno. Beyonce?” asked Marcelo.

“Nah, I wish,” said Leo. “You remember The Magician from school.”

“What, Mr Parker?” queried Marcelo. “Our CDT teacher?”

“Yep. Apparently he runs a shop in Hoxton Street selling furniture and stuff. He invited us to go visit him sometime, if you’re up for it?”

“Sure,” said Marcelo. “I don’t mind. The only teacher I really liked at Greycoats.”

“Ermm another thing,” Leo said turning his attention to Claudia. “I keep getting these visions. They are becoming more and more frequent and I don’t know how to control them.”

“Son, what you seen this time?” she said, her face looked perplexed. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“No,” he said. “Not this time. It’s more than that. Mr Parker’s bits to be precise.”

“Whaaaat?” Marcelo screeched, spitting out his spoonful of food. “WTF you sayin’ bruv?”

“Ehh sorry,” said Leo, all flustered realising how what he’d just said may have come out the wrong way. “When Mr Parker came in today, he started reminiscing about a trip to Brazil he went on in the ‘60s and I wasn’t sure if he meant a trip as in vacation or a drug fuelled trip. Turns out he was on sumtin’ and I became party to that journey. I saw him butt naked in the Amazon, trippin’ his nuts off.”

Claudia let out a roar of laughter. Leo turned to see her beating her hands on the table and laughing her ass off if it were. Claudia had a calm, graceful and peaceful demeanour, so when she laughed it was raucous. A bit like a laughing Buddha, Leo thought, only with boobs, booty and mad curly hair.

She paused for a moment and regained her composure, looking into Leo’s eyes. “Son, you are coming into your powers,” she said. “Your psychic abilities are just getting stronger as you awaken.”

“You are going to be telling me to take ayahuasca next and be cleansed,” Leo warbled. “I’m not ready for any epiphany moment right now.”

“Hey,” Claudia’s tone was strict this time, pointing her finger at her son and his best mate. “You boys better stay away from ayahuasca, ok? Besides you can’t find it here anymore, it’s been banned.”

“Errr Remo said,” Marcelo chipped in. Leo kicked Marcelo under the table to stop him talking. Marcelo wasn’t going to be banging on about his “Brazilian links” again, was he? Especially not in front of his mum. Marcelo could be naïve like that at times, and often blurted things out without thinking. So many times Leo had gotten him out of “pickles”.

“I think Mr Parker had taken ayahuasca from what I saw,” Leo said.

“Probably,” said Claudia. “But Leo, I’m sensing that you are in the midst of a spiritual awakening, whether you like it or not. A stirring of the Soul, honey. For most of us it happens in our latter years. Late 20s and in our 30s, but you my son are an early starter. Hold tight and roll with it. It’s your time.”

“This isn’t making sense to me,” Leo said puzzled. “What are you saying?”

“Be who you truly are Leo,” she added, giving a deep look to Leo. “It’s your time. Seek answers from within you and let your intuition guide you, ok?”

“I’m not sure I’m understanding you,” he said. Marcelo didn’t look surprised. There were many persons that visited his mum seeking guidance, since as far back as he could remember. She was a wise woman, The High Priestess of the Bairro de São Marcos in Salvador. People would come to her seeking assistance, whether it was herbs for ailments or tarot readings. She would channel her higher mind or “consult with the Orishas” to give people guidance on their life paths. Leo was just a lot younger than most of the folk that Claudia had come across. And Marcelo wasn’t surprised that his best mate was now seeking counsel from his mum about his abilities. Marcelo was aware a long time ago of his friend’s powers. Himself a wizard – a tech wizard in the physical world – Marcelo knew exactly who Leo was even if Leo couldn’t see it himself.

“Hmmm,” Claudia said, taking a breath and looking at Leo. Only this time, she wasn’t looking into his eyes but around him, like she was sensing something. Then she stared directly into his eyes again, smiling lovingly. “Have you met her yet?” she asked.

“Met who?” Leo said.

“Hmmm,” Claudia said. “I take that as a no.”

Switching her focus to her son, Claudia said: “Marcelo, honey. Could you please get my mobile phone and glasses from the front room?”

Marcelo obligingly went to the front room to attend to his mum’s requests. Leo was sat quietly, still eating, when Marcelo returned. He was still politely refusing the pao de quiejo. Claudia was at the sink making a start on washing the dishes.

“Mãe, here,” Marcelo said, putting his mum’s mobile phone and glasses on the table by her seat. Taking her seat again, Claudia put her glasses on and went into her contacts list. A minute later she started to call a number. “Boa noite, Estrellar. It’s Claudia,” she said, before running into a dialogue in Brazilian Portugese.

Marcelo and Leo chatted amongst themselves for five minutes, but Marcelo was more pre-occupied with his mum’s conversation with his “Auntie”. Estrellar and Claudia had grown up together. Estrellar had come to England in the 1980s in search of a new life. She never went back to Bahia, staying in England and marrying a Brazilian guy she met through friends in London. The couple had two sons in their 20s. Estrellar was much like Claudia – she could turn her hands to anything she wanted and she did. She ran a business supplying hair weaves to Brazilian hairdressers in the capital, and imported gemstones and Amethyst geodes from Brazil to the UK. She ran her business online but was looking for a retail outlet to also trade from. That was just part of her work. Her “real work”, if it were, was her psychic work and energetic healing. She was a master psychic and did readings for people. Her clients were mainly through word-of-mouth and she had a number of celebrity clients who would call her at all hours. The celebs would even offer to fly her to whichever country they were touring in so she could do some energetic work for them. She rarely agreed.

Claudia hung up and put her mobile on the table. She took off her glasses and placed them on her head. “Leo, I have someone who can help you,” Claudia said. “Take a visit to my good friend, Estrellar and she will show you how to use your skills and develop them in a way that won’t be a hindrance for you.”

“But you’re psychic Claudia,” Leo said, as he started to feel a little anxious. “You can help me. There’s nobody more skilled than you. Marcelo told me they used to call you the High Priestess in Salvador.”

“Leo,” she said. “Estrellar is the best person to help you in this case. She will point you in the right direction, trust me.

“She will see you at her shop. She has a pop-up store – it’s been open about two weeks now. It’s in Shoreditch, near where you work isn’t that? It’s all meant to be.” Claudia said smiling. In fact she hadn’t stopped smiling mid-call to Estrellar nor now.

Leo felt like he was missing something. Even Marcelo looked like he was in on some kind of secret. “Dude,” Leo turned to Marcelo. “What’s with all the smiling?”

“No reason Leo,” Marcelo said. “You know me, I’m a content kind of guy.”

Claudia’s mobile phone vibrated on the table. She received a text message from Estrellar. Claudia read the text and forwarded it to Leo. Leo’s iPhone buzzed. He read the message. It was an address for Estrellar’s “Brazilian Emporium” pop-up shop in Shoreditch. That’s literally a few blocks down from Citizens of Coffee, Leo said to himself as he read the address.

“Leo, she wants to see you in the next few days, ok?” Claudia said. “Don’t be scared of Estrellar. She’s a good woman. A second mother to Marcelo. See, ask him?”

Marcelo nodded. “She’s right Leo,” he said. “Relax. She won’t bite.”

“I will call you to see whether you have gone to Estrellar or not,” Claudia said. “If you don’t, you got mama on your back, ok?”

Leo sighed. He could live with Claudia jamming up his phone and checking up on him. Suddenly he managed a smile. It appeared that the smiles in the Sanderson household were infectious this evening. Claudia looked at Leo again, this time in a proud mother kind of way. True love is in the air, Claudia thought to herself.

Twins At Work are a writing duo. ‘Tarot Tales: The Mirror’, their latest book, is inspired by the world around them, its inhabitants and life lessons. See how ‘Tarot Tales’ unfolds here at Ravenhawks Magazine.