tess chapter 14


            IT IS THE DAY AFTER MEMORIAL DAY. JANNET HAS COMMITTED HERSELF TO TEACH AN intensive two-week Algebra-2 class at the community college. That is, 10 classes of 4 hours each which would award credits for students who need the Math credits. The students tend to be teenagers, for these summer intensives, which usually means that Jannet might encounter a few disciplinary issues.

            Otherwise Jannet is focused on reintegrating into her Portland life. During her first week back she immediately visits her closest friends. There are no consultation sessions that week but she does commit herself to sessions for the following week. She contacts the apartment hotel in Madrid. She plans on returning to Madrid in mid-July but she has now changed the length of her reservation. She will stay approximately two months and return back to Portland in mid-September. Fortuitously, in Jannet’s first Skype with Mari Belen, the subject of her return to Spain becomes the main topic. Obviously Mari Belen is quite pleased with Jannet wanting to stay for a much longer period of time upon her return to Madrid in July.

            “So, when you return in nearly two months, you will stay for about two months?” Mari Belen reviews out loud. “Why don’t you just move here permanently? You do know that long-distance relationships are challenging to maintain?” This is the first mention, on Mari Belen’s part about a permanent residency in Spain for Jannet, although Mari Belen had been thinking about it for a few weeks.

            “When I return to Oregon in mid-September, after Madrid, I will only stay for two weeks in Portland. That will be only two weeks and I will quickly return back to Spain.” Jannet proposes; she has decided to respond definitely to Mari Belen’s proposal.

            “Then what?” Mari Belen counters with much curiosity.

             “I want to establish a new permanent schedule after that. I will only spend the month of December, March, June, and September in the states and the rest of time, that is, eight months of the year in Madrid. I would like to get my own permanent apartment, near your apartment, of course, in Madrid.” Jannet explains.

             “I think you only need a three weeks’ stint, during those particular four months in Oregon, and not four weeks in those months. Those four months include a solstice or equinox, so that is a prime time for your Portland new age organization. ¿Es correcto? Therefore, you can return shortly after the 21st day. Furthermore, I can connect you with a friend at a professional employment office in Madrid, you can at least begin to look for a part-time teaching position at a community college or an international school here in Madrid.”

             “And what about the permanent apartment for me in Madrid or should I assume you have made plans for that, as well?”

              “We can discuss that when you are back in Madrid, yes?”

              Jannet and Mari Belen comfortably agree to a new residency plan for Jannet’s calendar year. Jannet does need and does desire to live in the states at least part-time and the plan for the first three weeks of each March, June, September, and December is workable for her. She legitimately felt a deep connection to Mari Belen and to Madrid, so she concludes that spending most of the year, in Spain, is a very good idea and a logical next-step.

            Mari Belen does have a housing plan for Jannet but she did not want to spring it upon her just yet. After all, Mari Belen has only just presented a proposal for a complete change of life to her American girlfriend and the woman has replied with a resounding yes. She thought it prudent to not present too many life-changing proposals, to Jannet, at once. Mari Belen furthermore realizes that if the situation was reversed that she would not completely drop her life in Spain for a move to the states. Therefore, she has planned on applying 100% support to Jannet regarding her upcoming transition process.


            For the present Mari Belen, Carlos Jon, and Umberto with other police team members are collecting and finalizing evidential materials for a few of their cold cases. The recent crime scene visit, with Jannet’s assistance, has provided a multitude of leads in order to develop the evidence for that particular case, as well. The evidential packet and the formal legal petition should be presented to the courts, in cooperation with another attorney with the city’s criminal law division, within the next few weeks. The three investigators, as always are coordinating their evidential process with their team’s legal counsel and with their administrative staffers.

            Normally this particular police investigative unit, which consist of three lead investigators and 3 or 4 supplemental staff, carries 8 to 12 cold cases at one time. There is a definitive time window of about 90 to 120 days for each cold case; if the time limit expires then the cold case, in question, is usually returned to an archive status. Of course, another cold case is added to the three’ case load when one case is released. There is presently a general disappointment, among the team, because two cold cases are set to expire very soon, and they could be returned to an archive status. One of those two cases is connected to Jannet’s letter number five, despite some new evidential leads as provided by Jannet’s letter.


            Sara Jean has been discussing Jannet’s scheduled consultations for her current tenure in Portland. Sara Jean and Jannet are waiting in the rain, it has been 18 minutes so far, for Sunday brunch at one of their favorite downtown restaurants. The line is moving slowly but it is moving. It is warm outside and it is quite damp. Both women are wearing dark leggings, dark t-shirts, and dark sweater hoodies. They are sporting black converse high-tops, as well.

            “I have scheduled as many consultation sessions as possible during those weeks that you are available, to fit your schedule. Your availability is really limited you know. And there seems to be a perpetual waiting list.” Sara Jean is explaining. “We will be also charging slightly more per session.”

           “I don’t know; the extra days will be a strain but ok. And why are we charging more? What is the new amount?”

           “It is $100 per session.”

           “You seem to be fixated on charging a large amount and it is still too much.”

           “Everyone has already prepaid for their appointment during those few weeks. And that is because you will be providing a live and in-person consultation at the PAG offices.”

          “This is my first knowledge of this new arrangement. But $100 for 25 minutes, whether by Skype or in-person is still too much.”

          “What about 75 dollars?”

          The pair settles on $60 and refunds will commence for the purposes of returning the overpayment of those individuals who have prepaid for sessions. During brunch, Jannet reviews the list of reservations for consultations for the days that she is available. She rejects four of them, she cites that three are related to police matters and the fourth, she believes, but she is not completely sure, is connected to a friend or an associate of the Deckers. Near the end of their meals, Sara Jean is revising the schedule, sending cancellations, and sending invites to the waiting list occupants as the two have coffee and share a luxurious dessert.


            The consultations, during the last week of May, which are in-person, acquire a slightly different tonality. The client is at arm’s length instead of the usual interactive image on a monitor. There are more channels of information available but Jannet sticks to the client’s primary interests and questions. Jannet synesthesia experience is quite active and varied. She offers numerous suggestions and recommendations, with as much clarity and sincerity as possible.

            One day, after a morning of consultation sessions, there is a young man waiting for Jannet in the small area of the PAG offices.  

            “I am Alberto, your cousin. Your late father was my uncle. And you and I have politely exchanged Christmas cards, each year, for years, although we have yet to meet officially. Anyway we want to invite you this Saturday evening to an informal dinner buffet at one of the cousins’ house. Are you available?” The young man is about 20 or 21 years of age and Jannet actually remembers him from her father’s funeral which was many years ago. Alberto was a child then.

            “Thanks for the invitation and yes, I would love to come on Saturday.” Jannet has remembered a suggestion from Tess about making an effort to reconnect with relatives. Alberto provides an address and a phone number to call for assistance, and he gives Jannet an unsteady hug before departing.

            Because of the auspicious encounter with Alberto, the cousin from her late father’s side of the family, Jannet contacts one of her cousins, by e-mail, from her mother’s side. A cousin Gerald e-mails her back almost immediately. He invites her to a regular bi-weekly family brunch gathering on Sunday. There are directions and two or three phone numbers, for assistance, provided within the e-mail reply. Jannet responds, just as quickly, with a confirmation for Sunday.

            The weekend soon arrives. Jannet’s plan for gatherings is usually to ‘work the crowd’, that is, to touch base briefly with most everyone and then to make her excuses about needing to depart. That strategy did not work Saturday evening. Because she had not interacted with any of her cousins, except through an occasional e-mail or a holiday card, since the funeral of her late father, there is considerable dialogue and interaction; especially with the three or four cousins who are among the overall gathering of relatives. A few of the older relatives do speak a little Spanish with Jannet, who responds in kind. Jannet learns from one of the older relatives that her late father’s exile was mostly due to a lifelong conflict with his late father; a grandfather that Jannet had never meet. In general, every one of her relatives seems to be genuinely pleasant, Alberto is especially wonderful and Jannet is delighted to learn that he is a student at PSU. There is flavorful food, beer, and wine seemingly in every room of the large craftsman style house which is located near Cathedral Park in St. John’s in North Portland which is the area she grew up in.

            On Sunday, late morning, Jannet is navigating on a byway near NE Alberto Street; she is a bit lost but eventually she finds the correct home. There has been off and on torrential rains throughout the weekend and at the moment she is dashing through another downpour to her cousin’s house. She is warmly greeted, at the front door, by Gerald who is her contact and her e-mail correspondent. There is another group of cousins and other relatives here, from her mother’s side, and Jannet’s stay turns out to be again longer than she has anticipated. She is further surprised by acknowledgement of regret, by a few of the older relatives, about the exile of Jannet’s mother and father because of the unfortunate and sort-sighted disapproval of the interracial marriage in the 1970s. There is also a frequent reference to a tardy cousin, Erica, who is a doctor and who seems to be unavoidably stuck at her hospital work, at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital on NW 22nd.

            Jannet leaves after a 3-hour visit and as she is quickly walking to her car, she hears Gerald’s voice shouting her name. Jannet returns to the front porch of the large home and Gerald is waiting.

            He wants to introduce her to his sister Erica, she has just arrived and she wants to meet Jannet.  Erica, at first, is partial concealed in a slight crouch behind Gerald as she is finishing up a cellphone call.

           “Hi, I’m Erica. It’s wonderful to meet you.” A woman in green hospital scrubs, in her late 20s, who has now stepped forward, while speaking, to deliver a warm embrace. “You know you are the oldest of all the cousins, on both sides of your family. And you live abroad part of the year, is that correct?”

            Jannet is trying to gather the vocal ability to respond to the woman but it is a monumental task. This is because Erica is quite identical to her late mother, only younger and taller.

            A short while later, Jannet drives to her home. She is filled with warm thoughts and memories of her time, this weekend, with her relatives; especially her cousins. She numbers them to be seven individuals or seven cousins in total, inclusive of both sides of the family, all of whom she is delighted to know.


            The first day of the two-week June intensive Math class goes generally well. The class really benefits from an initial quick review of basic Math skills and then Jannet bounces into the course outline in earnest. She follows through with a plan of dressing very conservatively; this is because from her review of the class list, prior to the class’ first day; it was revealed that the majority of the 28 students are male teenagers. Her conservative clothes, stolid reading glasses, and business-like ponytail does not stop one boy from directing an extremely lewd hand gesture towards her, as her back is turned; this is the first day of the intensive. She turns from the whiteboard, when she hears the sound of male laughter that is mixed with the gasp of female, and some male, protestations.

            “So, what happened? Although I have no idea what happened, obviously it was inappropriate. There will be no inappropriate behavior allowed here!” There is no response to her question or her declaration. “Alright, so don’t tell me. Instead I have a suggestion. Those of you who are really here to learn and who need the requisite credit can simply think about the person who did something inappropriate in this class. That’s all you have to do, just think about the perpetrator. You do not have to speak and you don’t have to point out the person.”

            About two-thirds of class instantly manifests brightly-lit neon colored arrows that point from each of these individual students toward a burly sneering male student in the back of the classroom. These are holographic images, which are normally only visible to Jannet. There are several floating screens with photographic evidence of the lewd action of the perpetrator, above the heads of a few of the females and a few of the males. This is visible to Jannet. It is apparently not visible to the class.

            Jannet contacts security via the classroom phone, which connects directly to the office. Jannet resumes class and stops again in about 8 minutes when a security guard arrives and waits for Jannet to speak. “He is out of my class for inappropriate behavior.” She points to the burly offender in the rear of the class. “I will complete the paperwork to dis-enroll him after lunch.” The protesting teenager is escorted out of the class and the general atmosphere immediately changes to a sober but an attentive one.

            The times for the Math intensive are 8.30am to 12.30pm. At 12.40pm, of the first day of the intensive, Jannet strolls into the large noisy campus cafeteria. The food is not too bad since it is prepared daily by the students of the community college’s culinary department. Jannet is sitting alone and eating when a student appears in front of her. A teenaged girl who is quite pretty with an olive complexion and who is about 5’4” in height.

            “Might I sit here, at your table? I am one of your students from your Math class.” The teenager girl sits to the right of Jannet at the table, when Jannet issues no protest. “I’m Grace and I am a senior in high school, or at least I will be in August, at Central Catholic high school. I am taking your class because I need a Dual Enrollment credit. So can I ask you a question?” After Jannet nods affirmatively, the teenager continues. “You did see the arrows of colored light pointing to that jerk guy, the one whom you kicked out of class, right?” Jannet does not speak.


            “I googled you before this class started. I have googled all of my teachers beforehand. I mean you can’t be too careful. Anyway, you have powers right? And I have checked the social media that is surrounding the PAG organization, and you are a very influential and mysterious member of that organization. Anyway, can I be your student? And can you at least think about it?” Grace presents these statements with a great amount of urgency while at the same time, somehow, she is inhaling her lunch meal.

            Jannet is silent for a few minutes, collecting her astonished thoughts. “Perhaps we could start by having a really silent lunch together.”  Jannet suggests as she visually surveys the teenager.

            “That way you can check me out psychically, right?” Grace beams and she is confident that she has made an impressive impression on Jannet.

            “So, as I suggested before. This a silent lunch, ok?” Jannet repeats softly once again.

            Within a few minutes, Grace is fidgeting and reaching for her electronics. Jannet has conducted a brief polite superficial psychic scan of Grace, since her new teenager friend has freely proffered consent. Jannet’s initial assessment, of Grace, indicates that she possesses enormous potential.

            “We start with silence.” Jannet finally speaks to Grace directly. “The practice of becoming quiet, especially over of a period of time, will allow for or will gradually allow for a clarity to become present in your life. From that place of clarity and silence your senses or sensorial devices, whether exterior or interior, can be more clearly understood. Yes?”

           Grace begins to speak but she is halted by the appearance of holographic ‘stop sign’ floating in the air in front of her. Only Grace and Jannet can see the stop sign. So Grace nods an assent, instead of speaking.

            “Your daily practice, and by daily I mean every single day, is to be silent for 30 minutes. That is all, silent for 30 minutes a day. There are innumerable ways to accomplish this, perhaps for starters you can simply walk and observe for those 30 minutes. Allow yourself during this 30-minute period to simply listen and observe the surroundings as you are walking. Do not allow yourself any electronics. But do maintain a hand-written journal about your 30 minute walks. The journal can contain any thoughts, feelings, impressions, drawings, observations and so on, that are related to the daily 30 minutes.” Grace has now been following Jannet’s words and gestures carefully and with focus; this is despite the noisy environment of the cafeteria.

            “Do you agree with the practice?” Jannet asks and waits for Grace’s respond. And Grace nods an assent, instead of speaking.


            A few days later, Jannet and Sara Jean are attending a meeting in the office of the student counselor at Grace’s high school. Also in attendance are Grace; her parents, that is, Emilia and Mario; and the girl’s student advisor. Paperwork is completed for work-study; this will be in the mornings starting with the fall semester. Grace will receive an elective credit and she will be paid an hourly minimum wage. She is to perform administrative duties and learn about the business practices of a local non-profit organization. This has all unfolded rather quickly because Jannet recognized a kindred spirit in Grace; that is, someone much younger with similar talents as herself. Of course, Grace is presently in the very early stages of development.

            Jannet finds herself having lunch with the teenager every week day during the two weeks Math intensive class sessions. Grace, full name Graciela Mendes-Osuna, is usually animated and talkative and hungry. Jannet has started a habit of purchasing her lunch and the teenager’s lunch. Additionally, Jannet purchases extra food items and she crowds them onto her tray. As soon as the teenager finishes the food items on her tray, she reaches for the extra food items that are waiting on Jannet’s tray. Jannet’s food items tend to be healthier.

            Grace is a synesthete although she was unaware of the designation until Jannet explained it to her. Grace vigorously relates her personal history. In elementary school she manifested a wide range of synesthetic abilities however it became a source of confusion for her parents and the source of alienation from her other school peers. By middle school she had learned to be quiet about her experiences and she was labeled as a loner. The high school experiences, for her, were similar, that is, a strategy of ‘don’t tell and be invisible’. Grace is delighted to have finally found someone who is like her and who gets her. The two talk until 1.30pm, each week day for two weeks, and then Grace takes a bus home or her mother picks her up in the family car.            


            After the completion of the two-week Math intensive, Grace’s new routine, which she starts prior to autumn, is an early bus to downtown Portland, Pioneer Square, near the Pacific building and she works until noon at the PAG offices. She becomes immediately involved with the preparations for solstice week. Grace’s mother picks her up and Grace has specific instructions to be waiting on the corner of SW 5th and Yamhill by 12.15pm. Grace is twice-content because she is receiving mentorship from Jannet on new age thought and process, and she is also mentoring with Sara Jean on issues of organization, good business skills, and good communication techniques. Sara Jean often reiterates one of the major tenets behind the creation of the PAG, and that is, ‘to promote the vitality and cohesion of community through traditional or tribal practices and rituals’ and she goes on to emphasize the importance of ritualistic practice within and without the community whether for special occasions or for ordinary everyday living.

           The entire month of June has been a whirlwind for Sara Jean, so she is quite appreciative of Grace’s presence. Sara Jean is not working as much at her accounting partnership firm during this month of June. Timing-wise the accounting business tends to slow down, a little, after the month of May. Meanwhile in the PAG offices, there is a small army of volunteers who generously devote time to help organize the two sides of the summer solstice week of events. The two sides of PAG’s events are a public side and a private side.

            The Deckers have spearheaded the public side with the assistance of PAG volunteers. A closed Catholic parish church, in SE Portland, has been rented from the archdiocese. It features a large foyer area in the entry way; one large central assembly room, which is free of religious furnishings and artifacts; and several lavish-sized side rooms. There is amble parking and outdoor lighting. The various scheduled events will be accessible, by patrons, with payment of one encompassing entry fee and these events are scheduled at various times during the initial first five day of solstice week. The events include a generalized setting for psychic fairs, alternative health seminars, and presentations of inspiration/motivational speakers. There has been a smooth coordination process occurring between the Deckers and the PAG offices.

            Becka and Mark have spearheaded the private side, of solstice week events, with the assistance of PAG volunteers. There are four private events each night, at private homes, to be held in the evenings only, for the first five days of summer solstice week. The occupancy for an event range from 20 to 30 persons and the events are free but a reservation must be made with the PAG offices, on a first come first serve basis, because of the limited space capacity. The reservation window was opened from May 1st until May 31st and entry cards were sent, by mail, to the attendees. The cards are the same size of the dimensions of a large tarot card. One side of the entry card is completely yellow, except for a PAG logo, while the other side features a depiction of a crescent moon near the top and the name, date, and location of the event on the bottom. The entry cards are laminated. The private events were quickly booked and the entry cards become hot items. The private events tend to feature esoteric presentations.

            Part of the appeal of these esoteric presentations is that it invites attendees to participate in an immersive fashion. Some of the events have included prayer circles, mediation circles, meditative drumming circles, meditative singing or chanting circles, interactive channeling circles, and meditative dance or movement events. There is always a 24 hour, dusk to dusk, modified version of a vision quest event which involves fasting, walking, and ceremony. Sara Jean has provided an LPN, who has volunteered her nursing services, for the 24-hour Vision Quest event. And there are other immersive ceremony-styled private events for a variety of purposes. The esoteric nature of these private events naturally limits the amounts of individuals who are interested in these experiences but there is fierce loyalty and demand for these events.

            Solstice week or equinox week rarely falls neatly into a Monday through Sunday format. But this year, 2014, the seven days ending with summer solstice, do fall into a favorable Sunday through Saturday pattern. The public and private events of the PAG are Sunday through Thursday. The sixth day is always a day of no activity or rest and the seventh day, of either a solstice or an equinox, is a large group gathering day. That day features public labyrinth walks with accompanying prayers or meditations in the mornings and public bonfires with simple associative ceremonies in the evenings. There are usually 3 or 4 locations available for these large group morning/evening events.

            Jannet and Sara Jean both attend various events, as time permits, during solstice week. Grace and her reluctant mother likewise have attended a few of the events during the solstice week. Additionally, Jannet and Sara are often offering support as volunteers. They try to photograph or video participants and to obtain short quotes from participants for website and archive purposes. Volunteers or hosts usually are posted at the entry door for a private event, checking entry cards, guest lists, and welcoming participants; doors are closed and locked during the event. During the day Jannet has had some extra, and originally unplanned, morning consultation sessions and Sara Jean is manning the hectic office activities.


            Near the end of June, there are a few days of light rain which is a bit out of season but of course possible; it rains off/on an average of six or seven months out of the year in the Northwest corridor of the USA. Jannet remembers as a child asking ‘if it was a good thing that it rained so much in Portland’. Her mother responded that cold rainy days were a precursor to mysterious and magical events. Of course her mother had to explain to Jannet, the meaning of the word, precursor. While the mystery of misty rainy days has worn off, Jannet is generally comfortable with this gray wet ambiance.

           Near the end of June, it is late evening, and Jannet receives a phone call just before her bedtime.

           “Hi, this is your cousin Erica. I will have a dinner break soon, of about 30 minutes or so. Can you join me here at Good Samaritan?”

           Jannet is there in about twenty minutes. There is a light drizzle outside and the hospital complex is buried in a wonderful neighborhood near the popular NW 23rd and NW 21st corridors. The hospital is completely modern inside but its exterior has a genuine mid-century look and feel. Jannet is thrilled to spent time with Erica who strongly resembles her late mother but who is, of course, completely and thoroughly herself.

            “I have googled you. You are a member the local new age organization, the PAG. Actually I sensed that you had abilities when we first meet. Just like your mother.” Erica is chowing down her meal, she is mindful that she might be paged at any time.

            “My mother you say? I was not aware that she had any abilities?”

           “Your uncle, who is my father of course, told me so. When your mother was a child she displays lots of unusual abilities but no one in the family validated her. Eventually she became discouraged and she shut herself down when she became a teenager. I believed that when she was a parent, years later, she tried to ensure that her child, that is you, had a nurturing and supportive environment to grow up in, an environment that allowed you to truly be yourself.”

           Jannet is fascinated by and moved by Erica’s perspective and insight on the past. And the women continue to talk, and talk, mostly about the topic of reconciling personal and public interests within one’s life; this is until the conversation abruptly ends. Erica has been paged. The two women promise to meet again. Erica and Jannet swiftly say their goodbyes.


            One of Jannet’s beloved activities, in Portland, is to wander about, which is a sanitized and saner version of the Beat Generation’s let get lost philosophy. For her, it means walking about the city, usually through the endless array of streets and locations in and/or near downtown Portland; mostly the west side of downtown. On occasion she carefully turns on or she tunes into her sensorial apparat in order to have a deeper experience.

            In a few instances she has walked with Sara Jean. On one specific day: there is a convergence of light rail tracks and activity, just east of the stadium, Providence Park, and the women stop there; Sara Jean has received an important phone call and she stops walking to take the call. Jannet takes the opportunity to initiate a trance and Sara Jean watches as Jannet becomes statue-like and motionless. After the protracted phone call, Sara Jean is ready to interrupt Jannet but she doesn’t and she instead becomes inquisitive. She touches the statuette woman with no resulting effect. Then she decides to wrap her arm around the frozen shoulders of Jannet. In an instant Sara Jean is plunged into a fog of darkness. And soon after, but gradually, various sensations return to her. These are greatly enhanced. Among these: She realizes the individualized sound and the mass of a raindrop, only there are thousands of them. And there is the sound and the weight of people strolling by, the sound and the heft of passing trains, and the sounds of automobiles and their bulk; these sensations are available layer upon layer upon layer. These experiences stop suddenly, for Sara Jean, when Jannet opens her eyes.

            Sara Jean is quite breath-taken and she remains with an arm wrapped around Jannet’s shoulder. “Why is there no picture, no visuals? There were only layers of sound and tactility.”

             “I turned off all sensorial channels except for sound apparatus and for tactile apparatus. Sometimes it is easily to concentrate with fewer sensorial channels or inputs.” Jannet turns comfortably towards Sara Jean in order to check the woman’s alertness level. They are face to face. “Are you ready to go?” She inquires.

            Sara Jean ignores the question, for a moment. “I understand now, why it is important to see the world with this much clarity. We live here, we are residents on earth. And we need to acknowledge the real world that we live in.” Sara Jean, at that point, uncouples herself and walks east. Jannet follows.