Satya II: At the Fair


Photo by Szabolcs Toth on


The Satya stories are from my archives.


When Satya told me her mother and sister had her committed, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  The questions popped into my head at the weirdest times, like when I was eating a crème filled chocolate doughnut on my coffee break, or brushing my teeth before bed.

            Satya and I were on the Arts Council, and she was preparing to do a yoga demonstration for a Health and Wellness Fair in our town.  Her daughter, Devi, and I worked as ticket-takers on the Saturday of the fair. 

            Toward the afternoon, the stream of visitors slowed to a trickle.  The two of us sat together at the long table sipping lemonade.  It was one of those terrible humid days that make me wonder why I ever left Arizona.

            “Your mom is brave, doing yoga in this heat.”

            “She’ll be wiped out tonight,” Devi agreed.

            “How long has she been doing yoga, anyway?”

            “She started in the psych hospital, I think,” Devi said.  “I was little, maybe four or five.”

            “And you were living with your grandma then?”

            “For a little while.  And then with my father.  But that turned out bad.”

            “You don’t have to answer this,” I said, “but I’m curious why your mother was in a hospital.”

            “Oh, it’s no secret,” Devi said.  “Gosh, it’s hot.” She lifted her curly hair off the back of her neck.  “Mom was talking to the archangels.  Which wouldn’t have been a problem—she still does—it’s just that she told the wrong people about it, like my grandma, the super WASP.”  Devi gave a dry chuckle.  “Ha, and worse yet, she told my grandma what the angels said about her.”

            “Not good, I gather,” I was probing, but Devi didn’t seem to mind.

            “Not good,” she confirmed.  “So my grandma and my aunt Delia got my mom committed.  Mom could have lied about her visions, but she wouldn’t deny the angels.”

            “You said she still talks to the archangels?”

            “Oh, yeah, but not as often now, what with the yoga classes and me to look after.”

            “What’s it like, having Satya for a mom?” I asked.  I thought of my own three kids, how the two teens are so easily embarrassed, like when I sing in the supermarket.

            Devi turned to look at me directly.  Her face was still and her usually wide, relaxed lips were drawn into a line.  “What do you mean?”

            I drew in a breath; aware I’d gone too far.  “Well, uh, like she’s not what people would consider…”

            Devi pushed her chair back and stood up.  “I have to check in with her now,” she said, and walked away, her lemonade cup in one hand, and running the other hand through her curls.

            “Whoa,” I blew out the breath I’d been holding. 

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