“I’ma looking for someone.”

The woman said, throwing open the door of Rosemary’s Aveda Hair Salon as she and her scent rushed in. I was half-naked, hiding behind Mindy in her styling station. My goose-bumped skin was painted in colorful tribal acrylics and haphazardly wrapped in a white curtain drape – the only cover I could find as I streaked of my gallery to the safety of the salon. 

This morning, Justin was painting my body for a photoshoot to accompany a story that I had written about the prospects of a New Urbanist Art Movement for VIE Magazine. I was watching out the window for photographer, Michael Granberry, who would be arriving soon to take the shots…and that’s when I saw her. 

A woman like I’d never seen before was ambling up and down Main Street in Rosemary Beach, barreling into every store. She moved with the intention and focus of a mission. The town was empty.  She was hard to miss. Big, black and powerful, she stood out like a sore thumb and a breath of fresh air in the white man world of Rosemary. I cracked the door open and listened for the sound of her movements. Her jewelry made a clinking noise every time her feet shuffled on the ground; her huge breasts, tucked inside a colorful, quaker-style dress, formed a shelf on her chest to balance the charms and trinkets attached to her necklaces. They bounced and chimed with every movement, perfectly syncopated to the “squish” of her thighs rubbing together. She reminded me of the Zelda Rubinstein, the Clairvoyant in ‘Poltergeist.’ I felt scared.

When she entered the bank next to my gallery, I made a dash for the salon on the other side seeking safety in my friend Mindy.

“What is it, Anne?” Mindy saw the look on my face.

“The Polyergiest lady is out there. Don’t  let her find me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just wait, you’ll see.”

We gathered around the window and watched as the woman walked into my gallery, then back out to make her way to the salon.

“What in the world?” Mindy shook her head. “Here she comes!” I shuttered as everyone raced back to their stations and I took a hiding place behind Mindy. What could she possibly want with me? I didn’t know why, but I knew she was after me. 

“Don’t let her see me, Mindy.”

The door flew open. “I’ma looking for someone. I’ma looking for someone.”

Everyone ignored her. 

“I’ma looking for someone!” Deep and guttural her voice commanded attention as she stomped her foot.

“Okay. Now, whatchu looking for, mam?” Mindy left me at the station to walk over and size her up.

“I’ll know when I find it.” Poltergiest said, sniffing the air. 

Mindy has a way of knowing what people need. “She’s thirsty. Y’all get her some water.”

Poltergiest drank the water, turner and walked out the door. We watched as she made her way into every other store on Main Street. When it was finally safe, I raced back to my gallery, half-naked covered in war paint, the curtain drape trailing behind me and the goose-bumps gone. 

“What did the Poltergiet lady say?” I asked Justin.

“That she’s looking for someone, Anne Hunter.”

“Well, I hope she finds them.” 

We settled back into work. The hours passed. Michael came and went, we finished the shoot and were putting the gallery back together when the door flew open.
“I’ma looking for someone.”

I froze. Her eyes pierced mine. Before the door could close behind her, Poltergeist pulled a small golden hand bell from her satchel and slapped it against her hand as she walked toward me, chanting”

“There will come a day, when this land that was $1 will be $1 million. There will come a day when you will rise to your occasion. When the words you write will be read. There will come a day when you believe what I have said. ” 

She emitted a hard, full-throated falsetto as her eyes rolled back into her head to fight the  growling and moaning sound that broke her into her melody.   

The hymn she chanted was a surging, melismatic soliloquy, each phrase punctuated by the animal sound of a demon she was casting out. 

“There will come a day, when this land that was $1 will be $1 million. There will come a day when you will rise to your occasion. When the words you write will be read.” 

Poltergeist finished her chanting and stared at me for a response. I gazed back at her dumbfounded, refusing her words of song. Justin stood behind me silent, painting her energies onto his canvas. 

“Sometimes you cannot know,” she said. “You cannot see all that is ahead of you, for if you did, you couldn’t move forward. But you will know child, when it’s time. You’ll know.”

Poltergeist’s eyes rolled back inside her head and she whispered to her demons,  “I done my duty now you devils let me be.”

Her eyes rolled back in and she looked at me like a normal person, as if none of the day had happened, and said, “I’m hungry now.”

I didn’t want to feed her. I wanted her to leave. I didn’t like this. Any of it. 

“I don’t have any food.”

“But I’m hungry.”

I shook my head no. “I don’t.” My eyes welled up with tears and she turned and left. 

“She’s no Poltergiest,” Justin said. “Her name is Prophecy.”

I went home and showered the war paint off of me. It was true that I didn’t have any food on me, but I could have purchased a meal for Prophecy. The wall that I had built against her words couldn’t spare the compassion for her needs, or my own. I couldn’t swallow her words. 

We never saw Propechy again but around town, for a month or so, people sighted the big black woman with the Poltergiest sounds.

If you see her, please say hello and feed her once for me. 
 

 

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