New Age

I get into Jessica’s car and immediately pluck something out of the little forest of trinkets on the dashboard. First I fiddle with a wooden Scrooge McDuck toy. Jessica reaches over to set upright a little Ganesh idol that had fallen over.

She puts the car into gear and pulls out, and I swap the Scrooge toy for a sequined thimble-sized box. I pry it open and a white powder sprinkles out. “I think I just spilled your stash,” I joke.

Jessica laughs. “That’s ash.”

“Ash?” I handle it a bit more delicately now.

“A good friend gave that to me when I left Seattle the last time. It’s from this man in India — a guru — he just squeezes his fist and ash comes out.”

At a red light, she flicks the box open, and dips a finger in so she can rub a pinch into her forehead — over her third eye. “I haven’t been able to get that locket open in a while.”

“I guess you just have to be properly centered, like me,” I tell her. I brush some ash off of my leg. “Hey. Now my pants are holy.”

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