She was wearing my favourite piece of jewelry, and had a pack of tarot cards spread in front of her. Her hair was white, and wild, her nails long and purple. She’d instructed me to leave a chair between us so that she had space to feel my energy, and I was to lean back, keeping my heart open.
‘Yes,’ I said to her, surprised. ‘Her name is Jane.’
‘And you’re, what… 27?’
I smiled. ‘Yes, I’m 27.’
‘You’re surrounded by fives. Are you a Taurus?’
‘I’m a May baby, May 22nd.’
‘Fifth month of the year. Mmmmm. The 22nd is a very lucky number. Born on the cusp, though – Taurus/Gemini. Conflicting personality. Are you a lucky person?’
I didn’t know what to say to that. ‘Yes.’
‘I wonder what the fives are about…’ she mused. And then, ‘Why are you here today, Laura?’
What could I say to that? I shrugged, unsure how to begin. I lie awake at night wondering what I’ll do if I don’t get accepted into graduate school this year. My soul sister is visiting from New York in August and I’ve already planned what to send back over in her suitcase so it’s there for me on arrival. I look at the course catalog on my lunch break, debating which classes trump others. When my colleague went to see a psychic before Christmas and reported back that she was told, quite clearly, ‘You have a colleague… she’s leaving… she’s going to America…’ my eyes welled up in hope. I wanted to hear her tell me the same.
‘I’m here because…because I need reassurance,’ I said.
Say what you want about otherwordly carrying-ons: waste of money, the future doesn’t exist, praying on the vulnerable. Some of that might be true. But, for £35 and forty minutes, a little “you’ll be fine” ain’t gonna do me no harm.
‘Well these are great cards. You’re very blessed.’
We chatted a little, she shuffled some more cards, I waited.
‘Mmmmm. Not bothered about blokes, are you?’ she said. ‘I see that you’re surrounded by men that fancy you, but you don’t want a boyfriend.’
‘I don’t know about that…’ I said, embarrassed. ‘Nobody is offering to be my boyfriend.’
‘Oh, they are – you just don’t want it.’ She said it as fact. It made me uncomfortable. ‘These fives,’ she said. ‘You were in a relationship for five years, weren’t you?’
‘Five and a half.’
‘Did you break up five years ago?’
‘2009, so… yes.’
‘It was messy.’
‘Yes.’ I told her the story.
‘Listen, I want to be the one to tell you this. His new wife? She’s pregnant. You don’t care though, because you’re healed. These fives, they follow you everywhere, because your life works in blocks of five. It’s been five years, when?’
‘March,’ I said.
‘Come March, you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been,’ she told me. ‘Five years or so together, five apart. Boom. Done. Next phase. Also, it’s not my business, but he knows how much he’s hurt you, and he’s sorry.’
‘You’re not sticking around, though, are you?’ she said. ‘Your job – you’re good at it, but it’s a stopgap. London isn’t permanent for you. Have you spent a lot of time in Europe? I see a card for America here, too.’
‘You do right not to get tangled up with a man here,’ she said. ‘Don’t worry about anybody in London. Your man isn’t here. He’s in America. Your whole destiny is there waiting for you. It’s right here in the cards. Does America mean anything to you?’
She said I was surrounded by the cards for writing, teaching, and learning. An agent, a publisher, perhaps – did I write? She saw a big success with me for that, before I’m 30. Money. A lot of money. I’m a gifted communicator, she said, and she sees something about a pilot. Maybe writing a pilot for T.V.
‘Whatever project you’ve stopped working on right now,’ she said, and I looked guiltily at the floor, knowing that once again I’m not sending my stuff out to agents at the moment, ‘Whatever project you’re trying to birth, focus on that. Stop being so afraid. Get back to work. If you do, you’ll shine.’
‘Oh – and your husband?’ she said, ‘You already know him.’
Internet, I’m telling you all of this because I don’t know where else to keep it. What if it’s all true? Can we play the game together? The game where we all believe this Cockney woman in a shawl, at the back of a group of offices round the corner from my work, might just be able sense the things that might be difficult for me – and what might help me be braver? Better? It's a comforting game.