I Welcomed a Psychic Into My Hotel Room
“Fate has brought us together for a reason, so I need you to listen and take note. It is your call whether you want to fuck up your life though.”
My late teens left me in a state of constant wander about what the universe had in store for me. Instead of following my own intuition, I sought refuge in the words of those who claimed to have all of the answers I needed to hear.
Instead of booking a trip overseas, my friend Alexandria and I had settled on the hipster capital of Australia, Melbourne. We planned to enjoy deconstructed coffee on wooden chopping boards and glare at pieces of art that made us “feel something”.
You can imagine my shock when, on our first afternoon, Alexandria told me that we needed to venture back to our hotel early in time to greet the psychic she’d booked.
“I know you’re trying to steer clear of psychics right now,” Alexandria quipped, referencing my penchant for mysticism, “but our hotel is supposedly haunted, so I thought it would really be setting the scene if she came to us.”
As any good hostess does, I tidied the hotel room. It didn’t take me long; the space barely fit our two bodies and accompanying suitcases. It occurred to me 15 minutes before the psychic arrived that neither Alexandria nor I knew the etiquette of hosting a psychic in a hotel room. We didn’t want to overstep the boundaries, but to be fair, she was about to rack Alexandria’s soul.
“So, do you want me to leave while you’re getting your reading done? I might pop downstairs and grab a coffee?” I suggested to Alexandria, praying she wouldn’t make me stay in the room with her new spiritual confidant.
“You have to stay. It will be too weird otherwise,” she exclaimed.
We met Star at the elevator and were taken aback when she said she was in her late twenties. Her silver hair, deep wrinkles and knitted beanie, sweater and socks suggested she may have been slightly older. Once we rode up to the thirteenth floor, Star perched a stick of lavender incense and a handful of crystals on our TV stand to help her “feel the vibe”.
I tried to recall from the extensive research I had done on psychics if they stereotypically lack a certain sense. Common sense, that is. Within three seconds of Star lighting the incense, our fire alarm set off a ringing in our ears. As I blew it out, a nearby cleaner ran into our room to check we were okay and proceeded to ask why we were aligning our chakras in a hotel room.
Staring at each other in shock and unable to shift the tension, Star began to collect her incense and crystals. “Back to it then, shall we? My parking ticket is going to run out in like 37 minutes.”
I moved across to sit on my bed while Alexandria and Star consumed the space on the other. After a few failed attempts at shuffling the tarot cards, Alexandria placed them on the Egyptian cotton sheets. My heart dropped into my stomach when Star informed Alexandria that a close friend was going to move to England in the next seven months.
“This individual has a free spirit, so once they get a taste of life in England, they won’t be around much, but you’ll always have a strong friendship.”
I didn’t know how telepathy worked, but I centred my mind and deposited the message, Hey, shut up, but also, tell me more, in her brain’s inbox. Only my parents knew I’d been accepted to study at a university in the UK. I interrupted Star as she began Alexandria’s psychic reading and asked if she had time to do another one afterwards.
“I can squeeze you in quickly, I guess. I’m going to need you to give me an extra $20 for parking and the inconvenience, though.”
My heart jolted while I ran to the closest ATM and back up the 13 flights of stairs as if I was on The Amazing Race and the hotel room was my final checkpoint. As I slipped the key card back into the door, Alexandria and Star were wrapping up their session. Smiling from ear to ear, Alexandria asked Star if she wanted to take my key so she could make her way back upstairs after she moved her car.
“Maybe she can just call us, and we’ll come down and get her?” I prompted.
We exchanged phone numbers and I gave Star $20 to pay for her parking. I closed the door behind her and turned to Alexandria, eager to hear the juicy details from her reading.
Alexandria checked the peephole to ensure Star had left before grabbing my wrists and yanking me onto my bed.
“She told me I had a strong intuition and if I gave her an extra $50, she would teach me how to ‘get on her level’ and make a living from being a psychic. When I said no, she started rolling her eyes to the back of her head with her mouth wide open. I couldn’t tell if she was about to have a stroke or had suddenly become possessed. Either way, I don’t know how to perform CPR or an exorcism.”
Our phone rang and I hesitantly held it to my ear.
“There is a lady here who says she needs to come up to your room because you owe her money,” muttered the hotel receptionist. “She also said my dead father wants me to know I’m a disappointment because I didn’t finish my business degree.”
I reached the ground floor disappointed that the elevator didn’t break down while I was in it. My game plan was to be stranded for enough time to make Star give up and leave when she realised the next round of parking tickets was on her.
Riding back to the thirteenth floor with Star became a little unnerving when I realised Alexandria and I had either invited a fraud into our room, or a psychic so powerful she could even recognise when I was rapping Kanye West in my head to ease the tension. We made our way back into the room and congregated on my bed.
“You need to go to the doctor and get your cholesterol checked. Eating too much red meat is terrible for you and leads to diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. I see you suffering greatly in the future, so if you want to make it through the next five years and not put this burden on your family, I urge you to stop eating meat. Until then, why don’t you girls come back to mine tonight and we can do some healing?” She cupped her hands over mine and looked between Alexandria and I.
Notorious for getting the shakes after drinking too much caffeine, Alexandria leant across the bed to flick on another light. In doing so, she inadvertently collected the coffee cup on her night stand and spilled it into her lap, splashing brown residue onto Star’s glasses.
“I’m so sorry, Star! Look, it’s been a long day and we have dinner reservations. Your parking is probably about to run out, too. How about we call it a day?”
I helped Star pack her tarot cards, incense and lack of dignity into her canvas bag and sent her on her way. It turned out Star definitely didn’t know I was rapping Kanye West in my head during our awkward elevator trip. Just as she didn’t know I was vegetarian and hadn’t consumed red meat since I was a teenager.
To clear our thoughts and erase the memories of our afternoon with the psychic, Alexandria and I opened a bottle of prosecco and gathered our belongings for dinner. I was stuffing papers into my bag when Alexandria noticed a folder I’d been carrying and looked at me quizzically. The front page was labelled ‘England University Documents – September’.
“Uh, what is this?” she asked, snatching the folder – which had a pamphlet for a steakhouse stuck to it – from my grip.
We looked at each other, eyes wide. During Star’s visit, my bag was wedged between our beds, where she had easy access to view its contents. Later that night, after one-too-many wines, we hatched a plan to call Star to inquire about her policy on refunds. As expected, she didn’t answer.
The next morning, I awoke hungover and feeling bad that Alexandria didn’t get the psychic experience she had hoped for. I did a Google search for highly rated psychics in Melbourne to see if we could book another appointment before we returned to Sydney. As I went through a list that showed promising results, I found myself at the bottom of the page. Star’s face glared at me through the screen. I clicked on her profile and looked through the reviews. Google gave her one-star. I give her none.
Cover by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez