When Deborah died, she left her five precious possessions with me. Four cats and a boxful of prayer beads made out of dried seeds from the trees in the Amazon rainforest. “Will you honor my last wish, dear friend?” She held my hand and pleaded in earnest. I promised to deliver the cats to their intended homes: two to Mark, and two to Dustin. She had asked me to deliver the prayer beads to Catherine who lived thousand miles away in Florida, in a city named Cassadaga. There was a five hundred years old bald cypress tree in Cassadaga where Catherine lived. Deborah’s last request for Catherine was to scatter her prayer beads in the ground around that ancient tree.
At the church, during Deborah’s viewing, friends gasped at her flawlessly pretty face and relatives spoke of her relentless struggles and the Priest asked everyone to join him in a last prayer for her. I stood by her casket and mumbled in anger. ‘Sleeping Beauty, people are calling you,’ I told her, ‘but you’re such a manipulative witch, aren’t you? To come up with this idea of torturing me with your cats and your prayer beads?’ Did she smile when I was having that silent conversation with her? Did her face soften and curve a quick, wicked smile? ‘Nah, dead people don’t smile,’ I told myself. After burying Deborah, I headed home—Deborah’s home—to gather her cats, their litter boxes, and her thousand seeds of prayers.