Aura Reading

Sherry Killam, teacher, writer, visual artist.

     Sherry Killam

Aura—an emanation surrounding one’s physical body discernible by people with special sensibilities.

Scene 1

1970, California Highway 17 snakes through the mountains from the laid-back beach town of Santa Cruz to metropolitan San Jose.  Marine fog blurs dark forest shadows.

Five women in their early 20’s are in a 1969 VW Square Back, royal blue.  CASSANDRA BANKS drives with edgy vigilance, skillfully maneuvering her roadster a la Nancy Drew.

She is the only one in the group who is childless, and has a degree, a car and a job.  The others share a bond as recent college students turned single Welfare Moms, with unplanned childcare needs.

They are all recently out of the nest, confused about all the war in the air, and the inadequacy of their middle class roots to account for it..  They are out to change the culture and save the world.

Cassandra’s friend ROSE keeps her eye on traffic flow, while Rose’s three friends in the back seat shift from side to side.  Centrifugal force propels them over the mountain and down past the famous stone cats of Los Gatos.

BACK SEAT COMMENTS FROM DANA, HATTIE and SIVA.

ALL THREE LEAN TO THE RIGHT

DANA
So who is this chick?  Has anyone been to her before?

ALL THREE LEAN TO THE LEFT

SIVA
I know someone who’s had her aura read and she said it was so high, like this woman knew everything about her!

ALL THREE LEAN TO THE RIGHT

DANA
Yeah, like what?  Does she use a crystal ball or read your palm, ’cause I’ve had that done and it is so bogus.

ALL THREE LEAN TO THE LEFT

SIVA
No, I heard it was like you knew it wasn’t fake, because it was just so deep and individual.

ALL THREE CENTERED

HATTIE
I talked to her a few times on the phone.  She seemed really normal.  She does a group like this every month or so.

ALL THREE LEAN TO THE RIGHT

DANA
Oh wow, is she rich?  Does she do this for movie stars?

ALL THREE CENTERED

HATTIE
I don’t think so.  She said it was $35 each and she wanted five people.  Enough to make it worth her time, but not wear her out.

The car stops in a modest San Jose neighborhood with mature trees.  Uneven sidewalks and curbs connect small green yards.  Older vehicles occupy the driveways.

The five women walk single file up to the small house.  They are dressed in colorful hippie-gypsy-accessorized late sixties garb of northern California.

They enter the cramped living room from a covered concrete porch, and sit on faded couches.

HELEN is already seated in a straight-back chair next to a side table.

She is a round woman, early 30’s, hair pulled back in a ponytail.  She wears a blurry plaid shirt, baggy blue jeans, sandals, and thick, wire-rimmed glasses.

There is a large artist’s sketchpad on the table, and a clear mason jar filled with colored pencils.

HELEN
How was the ride over the hill?

THE WOMEN TALK OVER EACH OTHER

CASS
Fine

DANA
Seventeen is always a trip.

SIVA
It was like an initiation.  Hey, do you think that ride was getting us ready for this reading, like a cosmic preparation?

HATTIE
I tried to think of it as a carnival ride.

SIVA
I’m just glad Cass was driving.

CASS
I’m just glad Rose had the directions.

HELEN INTERRUPTS THE CHATTER

HELEN
Have any of you had your auras read before?

WOMEN STOP TALKING AND SHAKE THEIR HEADS
No

HELEN
Well, I’ll need thirty-five dollars from each of you, and your permission to tell you what I see. Please don’t interrupt me.  I’ll be focusing on the colors I see around your body.  You’ll recognize some of what I’ll tell you.  Some of it may sound strange.  Give it some time. Some things may not make sense right now.  Maybe never.  Most people say what I see in their aura helps them understand something about what they are going through.

PAUSE

HELEN
Who wants to go first?

ROSE
I’ll go first, but we were wondering how you know how to read auras?

HELEN
There’s not much to tell.  I’m not sure how I see people’s auras, but I can tell you one story about what I call a significant shift.  Most of my early life I was deeply in love with two men.  That being Jesus and my father.  Dad was strict, and if I wasn’t at school, I was at home.   Finally, when I was sixteen, he let me go to a friend’s house for a sleepover.

After dinner, we fixed each others hair and watched TV.  At the end of the evening, we knelt by the bed together and said our prayers.  My friend got under the covers and asked why I was still kneeling.

I told her I was waiting for her father to come in and beat me.

After that night, I realized I could see different colors around people.  That was when I lost my focus on Jesus and got obsessed with Elvis Presley.

EACH WOMAN SILENTLY ABSORBS HELEN’S EXPLANATION.

Abstract painting with green, gold, and red.

Emanations acrylic painting by Sherry Killam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Aura Reading

  1. Sandra Lytch

    The story ends with the reader begging for more. Takes me back to 1970 (I was a sophmore in high school) and the newspaper clippings of Elvis on my bedroom wall, a strict father, and a mother who loved to scare Jehovah Witnesses. I definitely remember the practice of reading auras, which still exists to this day (probably exists as an ancient practice, too). I never participated, but I am sure if my mother had, she would have attempted to scare aura readers, too. Ha! To be continued, Sherry?

    Reply
    1. Sherry Post author

      So glad this struck a chord with you, Sandra. That story, and what the woman then revealed to those in the room about themselves, was like a series of “personality earthquakes”. Eventually the rattling subsides and more stories unfold.

      Reply
  2. Peggy Lewis

    What strikes me immediately is the shock of where the story went. With visions of possible auras dancing in my head, I was unprepared for the insight into our aura reader. Bravo! I hate to know what’s going to happen next!

    Reply
    1. Sherry Post author

      Thanks, Peg. Maybe you can imagine how unprepared the young women were to hear her story. Like a wake up blow across the back of the head from a martial arts master.

      Reply

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